Career Resolutions

I’m good at making New Year’s resolutions in my personal life, but I don’t always think in terms of making professional resolutions. I am trying to focus on that for 2014, though. What do you think are some good career-related resolutions?

As with other types of changes you want to make in your life, planning is key to making progress. Give thought to what you want to achieve on the career front in the months ahead, whether it’s getting a promotion, finding a new job or acquiring a new skill.

Here are some suggested areas for resolutions to help you get started:

Get out of Your Comfort Zone

Almost anyone can benefit from taking on greater professional responsibility and visibility, especially if your career seems to have hit a plateau. But don’t wait to be offered an opportunity to stand out. Look for important projects or initiatives that your firm would be interested in tackling but hasn’t because no one has had the time, desire or courage to take them on. By volunteering to take on difficult or high-profile projects, you can potentially gain the recognition you may need to recharge your legal career.

Work on Your Network

Maintaining a robust network is always important, no matter how secure your job situation may seem. Moreover, individuals with strong networks are often seen as more valuable to a firm because they tend to be well connected and “in the know” about developments in the legal field. With LinkedIn, it’s easy to stay connected to others, as long as you maintain an active presence on the network. In addition, stay involved with professional groups. This doesn’t mean you have to go to every meeting, but stay connected with others in your legal association and try to attend the occasional event.

Improve Your Attitude

Admit it: There is probably some aspect of your professional life that you could probably be more positive about. Are there attitudes or habits you have that are keeping you from achieving your larger objectives? Maybe it’s a matter of routinely saying something encouraging at a staff meeting, rather than only focusing on what needs to be improved. Find ways to bring a fresher, more positive outlook to your work life, and you’ll undoubtedly discover unexpected rewards.

Keep an Eye on the Future

Take stock of whether you’re putting the building blocks in place to achieve your long-term goals, whether they consist of earning a new certification or moving up the career leader. Are you taking concrete steps to meet your goals? If not, initiate the necessary professional changes to get on track.

Although making clear resolutions is a crucial first step to making progress, it’s easy to become discouraged if your goals seem too ambitious or time-consuming. Try outlining your objectives and planning what you will do on a quarterly, monthly or weekly basis to achieve them. By breaking your goals into smaller ones, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed and more likely to meet with success.