Blog post header image showing white wall with a white post-it note with handwriting on it saying new job/career. Posted by Charlotte Whitehead, Career Coach at Career Practic.

How to stick to your new year career resolution

The alarm clock goes off and you say to yourself: “Right, here we go again. The start of another year.”  

You get up, wash, grab a bite to eat and head off to work or log onto the computer to WFH. And later that day, when work is done, you ask yourself: “Is this what it’s going to be like for the rest of my working life?”

It may take a few months or possibly a few years before you do anything about it but eventually, something shifts and you resolve to change the situation. 

Resolutions – regardless of whether they’re made at the start of a new year or some other time of year – can be hard to stick to. If you’ve decided that this is the year that you make changes to your career situation, what can you do to ensure you stay on track with the plan?

Twelve tips for sticking to your new year career resolution

  1. Get clear on what sort of change is happening.
    • Change can happen both on the inside and outside. Reflect on who you’re becoming as a person & as a professional and what your needs are. And consider what’s changed around you, and how that is impacting you.
  2. Pinpoint why change is necessary.
    • If you’re unhappy in your work and/or life there may be a conflict of values taking place. What are the emerging priorities for you at this point in your life? Acknowledge that was right for you a few years ago may not be right for you now. What might you do to bring your life more in alignment with your values?
  3. Review your life commitments.
    • We each have multiple roles that we play in life (spouse, sibling, friend, parent, son/daughter, etc.) and each one has responsibilities (aka ‘work’) associated with it. Are you expecting yourself to deliver more than is possible given the limited resources of time & energy that you have? What changes need to be made so that your self-expectations are both reasonable and realistic? 
  4. Consider how you’ll feel in ten or twenty years if you haven’t made changes or pursued that career idea you’ve had.
    • It’s all too easy to get stuck in a velvet rut. Might you one day look back with regret if you don’t get out of it? Identify & evaluate the pros and cons of not changing.
  5. Give yourself some leeway to make changes when the time is right.
    • The pros for change may be compelling but for various reasons, you may need to allow some other things in life to get aligned before you think seriously about career change. If now isn’t the right time, that’s ok, but put a note in the diary to review the situation in six months.
  6. Allow yourself to dream a little.
    • Drawing on the first few points above, what do want your life to look like in a few year’s time? Having a clear vision for the future will give you something to work towards, enable you to be more discerning about whether to say yes or no to opportunities as they arise, and keep you motivated.
  7. Set yourself up for success.
    • Work out what action needs to be taken and plan when and how you’re going to take it. Find a trustworthy & dependable person to discuss your plans with, and introduce an element of accountability, i.e. meet regularly with them to review where you’ve got to and discuss what your next steps are going to be.
  8. Focus on progress rather perfection and process rather than end goal.
    • Occasionally career change happens quickly but more often than not it takes a year or two to come to fruition. However, the process of learning about yourself and exploring ideas can itself be genuinely stimulating. And as long as you’re consistent with taking action you’ll keep moving forwards.
  9. Recognise that you have inner and outer resources to help you keep going.
    • Find out what your dominant strengths of character are and tap into them to help you make the change happen. And identify people & other resources that can provide support as and when you need it. Things won’t always go to plan and challenges will crop up but help is there if you need it.
  10. Manage your mindset.
    • Most people have an internal saboteur that is a dab hand at introducing fears & doubts. Deal with those constructively and with respect. The changes you want to make will be more likely to occur if you maintain a positive mindset.
  11. Give yourself a break.
    • If you find yourself stalling, treat yourself with compassion and get back on track when you’re ready.
  12. Keep reminding yourself of your ‘why’.
    • If you’ve reflected on the points above, you’ll have identified good reasons to do this. Keep them front of mind.

Notwithstanding the above tips and suggestions, it can be hard to make career changes by yourself, and friends and family may not be able to give you the sort of impartial support you need. If you’d like to get started with laying the foundations, get in touch to arrange a taster session.

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