Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines resolution as a “firmness of resolve” or “a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent.”
If there’s one thing I’m terrible at, it’s firmly sticking with my New Year’s resolutions. The beginning of a new year always feels like Groundhog Day – a never-ending time loop where I realize morosely that I didn’t follow through with any of my previous resolutions and resolve firmly that the following year will be different.
Apparently, I’m not the only one. According to a 2002 study by John C. Norcross of the University of Scranton, approximately 25% of people who make New Year’s resolutions give up within 7 days. This study also suggests that while 46% stick with their resolutions for 6 months, only 8% succeed in keeping them for the entire year (and reach their intended goal). As depressing as that sounds, there is a silver lining: people who make New Year’s resolutions are more than 10 times as likely to keep them when compared to those who don’t.
Most of the time, the kinds of resolutions people gravitate towards are “personal” resolutions such as losing weight, exercising, saving more money, spending less time on their phones, etc. But here’s the thing – those are not the only types of resolutions we can make.
If you think about it, we spend about a third of the week at work. We’re either in the office, out in the field, or workly remotely from a coworking space, a coffee shop, or home. More often than not, we charge on past working hours, on weekends, or while we’re on vacation! Even things like checking our work email first thing in the morning or during the morning/evening commute prove how much our professional lives have encroached on our personal lives.
Which brings us to the next question: why don’t we use the concept of New Year’s resolutions in the workplace? Resolutions in the workplace could be personal, team-oriented, or even company-wide!
Here are some workplace resolutions to consider for 2019:
Learn A New Skill
No matter what field you are in, it’s always important to continue learning. In order to determine what skill you want to master, here’s a simple exercise you can follow: First, take out a piece of paper. On one side, jot down everything you’ve been meaning to learn that would help you do your job better. Then, interview 2-3 trusted colleagues and ask their advice on what they think you need to work on. If any of their suggestions matches a point on your list, circle it. Rank order your top 3 and commit to following one of them through.
Set Team Goals
Are you a manager of a team or an active member of one? In either case, it’s important to advocate for setting team goals. This will allow you to engage with your team and understand them better. For example, if your team’s resolution is to be more transparent with other departments, you could champion sending out monthly updates on key successes and failures. Or, if the team’s resolution is to celebrate successes, you could institute a rewards system to recognize great work. It could be as simple as a happy hour, pizza party, or something equally lighthearted and fun.
Make New Connections
Meeting new people in your profession, industry, and the company is key to your career success. If you’re part of a large company, make it a point to attend company-wide events and connect with someone new each time. Go to industry events or training workshops for your profession to meet like-minded people. If you’re unsure about doing these things alone, make it a point to bring a friend with you; that way, you can help one another and hold each other accountable. Who you know is valuable and can help you kickstart the next phase of your career.
Push Yourself Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Do you feel like you’ve reached a point where you’re afraid to step outside your “safe zone” at work? If your answer is yes, then you need to take a step back and re-evaluate your position. Instead, figure out ways you can continue to challenge yourself. Perhaps you can ask for a stretch assignment. You could even see if there’s an opportunity to collaborate with another department to solve a problem you always thought would be a quick win for the company to address. If your company has an innovation challenge or some other contest, enter it! Use it as a learning and networking opportunity.
Repeat after me: My personal time is valuable. It’s true that work-life balance is a constant struggle, but only you have the power to decide how many hours a week you can dedicate to work. For example, I always make it a point to eat away from my desk, sitting either at a booth or table in the kitchen. Whenever I have lunch, I don’t carry my phone with me and use that time to really enjoy my meal or get caught up in unexpected conversations. You can also decide not to send emails after a certain time and on weekends so that people don’t expect you to respond when you’re “unplugged” from work.
Resolutions in the workplace are critical for your professional success. They can provide you with a framework on how to think about your role, your place on the team, and your position in the company. Done right, workplace resolutions can supercharge teams and positively change company culture.
So, what are you waiting for?