Whether you greet the New Year with a roar or with a meow, odds are that you've given more than passing thought to where your life stands now, and where you want it to lead.
But if you haven't taken a complete inventory of all aspects of your life and made a to-do list for the next year, no need to worry. We've asked an expert to suggest ways in which you can start or continue to put your house in order. After all, why let another year pass by before making changes that can improve your life right now?
A word of caution, though. As with any list of good intentions, some are easier than others. Set yourself up for success by choosing "resolutions" that are do-able for you right now and tackle them. Then pick some that you can visualize as long-term goals and work on them a bit at a time. Jot them down, tape them to your bathroom mirror, and keep them in your everyday consciousness. A year from now, take time to congratulate yourself on how much closer you are to living the life you want to live.
By Kerri S. Smith
- It's time to update your resume, even if you don't plan to job-hunt. Be sure to include information about your current job duties in a clear, concise voice. For instance, instead of "facilitate flow of insurance applications and related documentation," write, "process insurance applications, fact-check medical questionnaires and review credit reports for clients."
- Dream up the perfect job: take a piece of paper and describe your ideal job. Would you work for a big company or own a small concern? Be a graphic designer or a computer programmer or an executive secretary? Labor in an office or be on the road, traveling from city to city? Detail your job duties, working environment and even co-workers. Now figure out how to take one step each month that will move you towards this dream.
- Find a mentor. In almost every work situation, there is someone with plenty to teach you, if only through example. Look around and see who's productive, well respected and moving up. Then find a way to meet her/him, and make office chitchat until you find common ground. Successful people often enjoy helping others grow professionally.
- Make peace with the office bully. Start with something as simple as looking that person in the eyes and smiling when you pass each other in the hall. Next time you bring in brownies to share, take her/him one on a napkin. No need to do much more than that; they'll get the hint and take it from there-or not.
- Give your office environment a makeover. Clear off the bulletin board, trash the tired cartoons and update your family pictures. Bring in a new plant, a goldfish bowl or a funky paper Chinese lantern to hang in the corner. If it's allowed, paint your walls a soothing pale yellow or blue, and frame and hang watercolors done by the kids.
- Resolve to be kinder. Don't smirk and elbow your buddy when the office outcast makes a dumb suggestion during a department meeting. Go out of your way to be gracious and helpful to everyone from the cleaning lady to the CEO. You'll feel better, and your career could get a boost when your professional behavior is noticed.