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New year – new you?

The change from an old to a new year is always a great time to reflect on what’s worked and what hasn’t worked for us, and to think about what we want to do differently in the next year. Many people will come up with a list of resolutions for 2015 – mostly of the “get fit and save money” variety.

How many of you have considered work-related resolutions?  These could be connected to things you want to change, but how about some aspirational ones as well?

1 Stay positive. If you’re miserable at work, can you find a way to move on and be happier? Can you change job (see number 2) or find ways to be happier with your current job? Sometimes simply knowing what will and won’t change makes things easier to deal with, and you can surprise yourself by ending up pretty content with accepting things that used to wind you up. Perhaps there are things about your job that may not be perfect but also aren’t really a big deal – or would be the same in other workplaces too. Whatever you choose, the key is to make decisions based on how things truly are rather than how you wish they were.

2 Get a new job.  Consider this one if you really can’t face no 1, if you feel stuck, you hate your boss, your colleagues or your company and there are no opportunities for you to develop. First step: update your CV. If you’re like most people, your CV details your job description but doesn’t focus much on what you accomplished in that job. Focus on adding that kind of detail to your CV. Even if you don’t plan to change jobs anytime soon, spending some time updating your CV and LinkedIn page will be worth it if you decide to start job-hunting during the year.

3 Get a pay rise or promotion. The best approach is to show that you’re worth it before you ask for it. Think how you can go above and beyond. Are there projects outside your defined role you could help with? Be proactive and ask to join in. Come up with your own ideas and work with your manager to implement them.  Stretch yourself a little and this won’t go unnoticed. Then you can prove to your boss why you deserve the pay rise or larger role by coming up with a list of things you’ve worked on, your achievements and endorsements from others.

4 Develop your communication skills. It might be difficult to improve your professional relationships if you’re a poor communicator. So don’t leave people waiting for answers. For example, don’t leave people in suspense – always reply to questions, emails and phone calls promptly. Let people know what you’re doing. If you’re working on a project, always ask yourself who needs to know about it, then tell them. Don’t leave it to others to communicate for you. Talk to people; give them a heads up. When someone helps you out, be sure to thank them.

5 Work/life balance. Have fun! Work hard, but smile while you’re doing it. No-one likes a grump. Approach each day with a positive spirit. Enjoy your family and friends as well. Make time for them — and you. It’s called work/life balance. All work and no play makes life a chore and it isn’t sustainable. Workaholics may think that’s the best way to get ahead, but they’re pretty dull to talk to on Monday mornings when it’s clear they have no real life outside work.

Be nice to your boss and work colleagues. You probably spend more time with these people than your friends, partners and relatives – especially if you’re working together in an office. Talk with people directly when you have a problem. Not only do you act more fairly by giving them the chance to know you’re unhappy about something so that they can respond, but you may also learn new information that makes you see things in a different light. Plus you won’t get a reputation as someone who talks behind others’ backs and complains all the time.

7 Be ethical. Bring integrity to your job. Whether you’re running the company or making coffee, be honest in all you do. Don’t call in sick just to get a day off. Put in an honest day’s work – don’t spend it all on social media (unless that’s your job). Be accountable. If you work from home, be sure you are. Do what you say you’re going to do. Honesty and reliability mean a lot. Values count: the way you do things rather than just the results you get, especially in jobs and industries where relationships are important and people will remember how you behaved.

That’s a pretty long list and you may be other ideas too. Unfortunately, most people fail to follow through on New Year’s resolutions so set clear goals. So instead of pulling yourself in multiple directions, pick one or two big things to focus on.

If you’re unsure, try this exercise: what did you realise in 2014? About yourself: the way you work, the things that helped and anything that held you back or didn’t work out. Now, what will you do differently in 2015?

Happy new year and we hope you have a wonderful 2015!

By Melissa