Hands up if your career resolutions, intentions for the year ahead, or 2022 goals are already starting to fall by the wayside?
In 2021, a UK study, with 180 Australian & UK adult participants found at least two thirds of us have tossed all our good intentions for the year out the window about a month into the year. In early 2020, a Onepoll survey of 2,000 Americans also found it takes 67% of respondents less than 32 days to abandon their resolutions.
In other words, right now, in real time… there’s a high likelihood you’ve stopped taking action on the plans you were making for this year or you’re in the process of deprioritising them.
And when you’ve been feeling bored, unchallenged, or overworked in your career, I’ve found you’re likely to fall into one of two camps. Over the holiday break you either –
- Resolved this year you’ll finally do something about getting unstuck and fixing things, but now you’re back into the professional mêlée, things are busy and finding the time, space, or energy to make a change feels too hard; or,
- Even though you finished last year beyond fed up with your work situation, the time and distance away from your teammates, inbox, and back-to-back meetings, has you believing things really aren’t all that bad after all.
If either of these scenarios resonates for you, then you’re in danger of letting your good intentions for the year slip out of sight before the year is even properly underway.
The thing is, we all hold this aspirational space in our minds that starts with “when…”. When I have more time, when things are quieter, when I feel less stressed, when I have more experience, etc etc… you know what I’m talking about.
But I promise you, that time is never coming. Really? Yes, I’m afraid so. Waiting for “when” is a form of procrastination that’s holding you back from the one thing you actually need to do… take one small step and get started.
Keep your resolutions on track to achieve professional success in 2022
1. START AT ANY TIME
New Year’s Day and the month of January are arbitrary dates. If you think it’s too late to set intentions for this year, let me reassure you it’s not. You can start whenever you feel ready, any day of the week, any date on the calendar… literally any time that suits you. The important thing is to “just do it”… whatever works best for you, be it resolutions, goals, intentions, or aspirations… make a choice and start.
2. GET CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT
This is so important but also tough to achieve. You know you’re stuck, feeling fed up and frustrated, but you can’t identify the genesis of these feelings. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Everyone has different drivers – different values, needs, beliefs, and tipping points. Pushing yourself to answer challenging questions may feel deeply uncomfortable but is key to uncovering what’s keeping you stuck. If you do nothing else this year, achieving clarity about what you want will be a game changer.
3. KEEP AN OPEN MIND & THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
The way you work, how you manage your career, and the opportunities available have gone through a seismic shift over the last 2 years. Everything has become more flexible, but also a little more confusing to navigate. Relying on the way you’ve always done things may no longer deliver the same results. By choosing an open mindset, you’ll see new possibilities, find creative solutions, and develop an important skill for designing a work-life that’s the right fit for you.
4. DEVELOP A STRATEGY
If the pandemic taught us nothing else, it’s highlighted the foolishness of “planning”. Instead, I focus on being prepared. But just as you need architectural designs before you build the house of your dreams, your chances of career success rely on having an active career strategy. Set high level intentions and the first couple of steps to progress towards those intentions, and you’re on your way. [If you need a hand, I’ve developed this FREE workbook to get you started.]
5. ASK FOR HELP
Contrary to common belief, research suggests sharing our goals in a public way might not be the best idea. Peter Gollwitzer and his team at NYU concluded when you share your intentions, you achieve a premature sense of completeness… obviously this is counterproductive to success. So, limit your public announcements… but ensure you have a trusted group you can reach out to for advice, mentoring, or coaching. Surround yourself with those who’ll bridge the gaps in support and expertise you’re unable to fill for yourself.
6. COMMIT & TAKE ACTION
This is the most important step in the process. There’s one absolute guarantee… nothing will happen if you don’t take the first step. And taking the first step is also the only way you can be assured you won’t be sitting here this time next year, about to let this same intention slip away for another year.
Making your resolutions, goals, or intentions at the start of a new year is easy, but sticking with them once real-life chaos resumes, is tough. If you’re ready to make this the year you achieve a career you love, let’s discuss how I can help you stop procrastinating and take action.