New Year’s Career Resolution: Start with You!

Assess your Attitudes, Abilities, and Skills for Success in 2018

So how is it going with the New Year’s resolutions?  Making good progress on that weight loss, exercise, paying off bills, and Netflix binge-watching?  If you are like many people, you look at January as the ideal time to begin anew and set some solid targets for change. A few overachievers have no problem tackling thorny personal issues, and they rise to the challenge. Others find that changing patterns of behavior by meeting time-driven goals is just an exercise in angst.

Resolutions can be a healthy practice in our personal lives if we can only manage to stick with them!  For some, nixing the ‘resolution’ title is helpful, focusing instead on a practice of personal reflection and taking stock of our lives, relationships, and careers with intent.  Limiting the number of goals that you set to two or three can help most get past ‘Failure in February.’  But whichever category of “resolvers” you find yourself in, give some consideration to assessing these attitudes, abilities, and skills as you reflect on how set yourself up for career success in 2018.

  1. Want a job in management?  Then don’t be your own worst enemy.  A common gripe heard among managers is how emotionally unprepared some employees are for doing the work and climbing the ladder. Millennials, you are making great progress, but if leadership is a goal, listen up! Complaining about the hours, a lack of flexibility, an inability to take criticism, and a poor attitude, are some of the traits guaranteed to lead you through the corporate revolving door outside of where the good pay and benefits reside.  So, check yourself!  If you are on a salary, you don’t need to run out the door at 5:00 when there is a crisis at hand.  And yes, you can enthusiastically switch project teams on a dime.  If your boss counsels you about a poor work habit, say sincerely: “Thank you!  I can definitely make this change!”  Leave a bad mood in the back seat of the car before you start your day, so that you can arrive at your desk with a winning attitude.

How to identify ideal attitudes and behaviors for success?  One way is to ask your boss for a “360 feedback survey.”  Many companies already use this method of employee evaluation.  If not, check out Survey Monkey’s sample questions here: 360 Survey Sample.  For this exercise to be valuable, ask a supervisor, friend, or co-worker to fill it out, too.  Be open to answering the questions honestly and to digesting the feedback, and resolve to make the necessary changes.

  1. Buff up this important ability to meet your career goals. Most of us already have this ability, but not all of us do it well.  A priority goal for the 21st-century worker should be effective communication, including writing, speaking, listening, and social intelligence. With an increasingly interrelated national and global economy, it takes a competent communicator to listen, interpret, and articulately respond to complex messages using a variety of methods.  The language and poor grammar used in texting and other informal communication methods will not cut it for that professional memo or report, and blurting out disorganized ideas in a meeting won’t impress anyone.  Therefore, this year resolve to grow these skills by taking a business writing class, or decide to join a local chapter of Toastmaster’s Club, found in most colleges and communities, so that you can become a more confident writer and speaker.  These activities will also grow your circle of influence as you meet other professionals striving toward the same goal.



  1. Get hired for what you can do, not what you say. Want to be a computer programmer?  A web designer?  If so, your personal marketing documents and interview portfolio should include evidence that you have done what you say you can do. Showing that you know how to do web design (your knowledge) and have the links to prove it (evidence of your skill), will go a long way toward securing that job. Take an inventory of your abilities and skills, compare them to the requirements of your career goal, and make a 12-month plan to add any new credentials and certificates.  Update your resume while you are at it.

A successful career doesn’t happen by accident.  As the old saying goes, luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.  So, take some time before the end of January to future cast what success means to you.   Identifying the required attitudes, abilities, and skills early in the year and then implementing changes over time can be a motivating practice that sets us on the path toward success.


Blogger Ray Williams in Psychology Today, has some great tips toward helping you beat the resolution failure rate to achieve your goals this year