Professional woman looking at her list of career resolutions on phone - Hays Viewpoint, careers advice blog

January is over, so how can you stick to those career resolutions?

It seems like a lifetime ago that you drew up those 2017 career resolutions and despite all your best intentions, you, like most others, are finding it hard to stick to them whether it’s incorporating exercise into your working day, or to finally find a job that you love in 2017. 

The issue I have found is that whilst New Year’s resolutions are a great way to reassess your career goals, they are also a bit of a cultural cliché in the sense that everybody makes them, knowing that deep down they aren’t really expected to stick to them because no one else ever does. In fact, many behavioural psychologists have estimated that less than 10 percent of a population will keep to their resolutions beyond January.

To avoid this, I believe that you need to re-establish the importance of your career resolutions, treating them with the same value that you would any other career objectives that you set for yourself at any other time of the year, and follow the below steps.

Remind yourself of why you set them in the first place

Look through each of your resolutions and think about what prompted you to set them. Which area of your career were you hoping to improve upon and why? What outcome were you hoping to achieve? Now think about the bigger picture, how could meeting these goals benefit your long-term career plan?

Doing this should restore some of that initial motivation, reminding you that these resolutions haven’t lost their significance just because it’s no longer the New Year.

Make yourself accountable

Another reason a lot of people fall at the first hurdle is that they don’t make themselves accountable to anyone in terms of their development.

Therefore you should vocalise your goals to others. Who those people are will depend on the nature of your objectives. For instance, if one of your resolutions is to exercise more at work- tell your colleagues. They may join in or at least encourage you. If one of your resolutions is to get promoted in your field talk to your boss or mentor. They could provide some support, guidance and review your progress in your next catch up.

If your resolution is to find a new job doing something you enjoy, have regular contact with a Hays recruiter. They can keep you abreast of the latest opportunities, prompting you to keep your eye on the ball and CV up to date.

Keeping other people in the loop with your career resolutions will keep these fresh in your mind and give you a sense of accountability over your personal progress.

Set structured steps and goals for yourself

In my experience, the main reason most people abandon their career resolutions is because they have their eye on the end purpose without thinking about the steps they need to take in order to get there. Therefore they can’t understand why they aren’t getting to where they want to be straight away, they get impatient and they give up.

For example, you may have the larger goal of finding your dream job, but what do you realistically need to do in order to achieve this, and how long will this take? Think about the skills and experience needed, whether you possess these, and if not, how long it would take to develop these. Knowing the strategic steps you need to take will give structure, direction and a time-frame to your career resolutions, making you more likely to keep them.

Celebrate the small successes

Now you know that you need to plan each step towards meeting your career resolutions, it is important that you see each of these steps as mini- milestones, and congratulate yourself when you overcome them. For instance, if your career resolution is to find a new job, and you have a meeting with a recruiter in the diary for next week- then well done, you’re on your way.

Celebrating the small successes will keep you motivated, and will spur you on for achieving the next mini-victory in your career resolution strategy.

Don’t be so hard on yourself

One setback doesn’t negate any other progress you have made. Don’t see it as losing momentum and certainly don’t see it as a reason to give up on your career resolutions. For instance, if you don’t get that interview for the dream job, keep applying elsewhere, after all you have put all of that work into updating your CV and registering with a recruiter. By being patient and forgiving with yourself, you can focus on learning from the situation and getting back on track.

See your career resolutions as career goals that you just happened to make at the beginning of the year. They deserve just as much credence, patience, planning, accountability and tenacity as any other career objectives. Knowing this will make it all the more easy to stick to them beyond January.

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Alex joined Hays plc in 2008 with a sole aim of launching the operations of the leading global recruitment company on the Russian market. By attracting some of the key people in the industry Hays operations doubled year on year. Currently, we are expanding teams, both in terms of functional recruitment areas (i.e. Accountancy & Finance, Internal IT etc.) and in terms of industry expertise (i.e. Oil & Gas, Resources and Mining).

Alex graduated in economics from the Russian State Academy of National Economy. He started his career in 1996 as a Project Executive for an international engineering company. His career in the company developed for over 8 years, and he reached the role of Managing Director of the Russian subsidiary. In 2003 Alex joined a well-known European retailer to launch their operations in Russia. He later began his career in executive search and recruitment with a Pan-European executive search consultancy.

Alex has been with Hays for 6 years and is reporting to Managing Director of Northern Central and Eastern Europe.