How Can I Make My Career Resolutions Stick?

Every January, I make resolutions and set new goals for my legal job, but I never seem to follow through. I need some legal career advice on how to actually achieve my professional goals this year.

Committing to any resolution is difficult, whether it’s exercising more or asking for a promotion at your legal job. If you feel like you’re already starting to slip, here is some legal career advice to get you back on track for 2016. 

1. Determine whether your resolution is realistic. For example, if your goal is to negotiate a higher paralegal salary, but you’ve been at the firm for just a few months, consider scaling your resolution back to something more attainable that will still help you to progress in your career.

2. Make the resolution actionable. Do you want toget noticed and promoted in your current legal job? That’s a great goal, but how will you go about it? Make sure your resolution does not rely on waiting for something to happen. Instead, it should be something you can personally achieve by taking action.  

3. Plan each step. Let’s say your resolution is to get a raise. Your first step might be to research legal job salaries and trends in your industry with the latest Robert Half Legal Salary Guide. Step two could be to earn a certification or enhance your skills through professional development. Step three might be setting a date to discuss your compensation with your employer.  

4. Create a timeline.Now that you’ve broken your resolution down into manageable and actionable steps, give each one a deadline and stick to it. Every time you meet a deadline, you’re that much closer to achieving your goal. Think of these as mini-resolutions.

5. Reassess when necessary. Take this legal career advice: As the year progresses, it’s good to re-evaluate goals and see whether they’re still worthwhile. Lack of motivation to follow through with a resolution could mean you or your circumstances have changed. For example, instead of a raise, perhaps an entirely new legal job would offer more personal and professional challenges and rewards.

The most important legal career advice when it comes to resolutions is to be flexible and forgiving. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a deadline, and don’t force yourself to continue pursuing a goal if it’s no longer something you truly want. By the same token, reinforce progress by patting yourself on the back when you reach certain milestones. It’ll help you stay focused on the end result you desire.