• Committing to Change: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Professional Resolutions

Committing to Change: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Professional Resolutions

December 30, 2016

Each new year brings new resolutions. Typically this is the time of the year when people resolve to lose weight, be more responsible financially, quit smoking or find a new job. Unfortunately, despite the best of intentions, the odds are not in your favor in achieving those goals. Research indicates that only 8% of people are successful in achieving their New Year’s resolutions, while only 46% maintain it past the first 6 months of the year. So how will 2017 be different? How can you affect change in your career in 2017, when you may have been contemplating it for months or years? The following are some steps to making 2017 the breakthrough year for yourself in attaining your career dreams:

1) Be honest: Are you only interested or are you truly committed? Many people are interested in change. It is easy to imagine making more money, working in a better job, and realizing your career dreams. But to make change happen, you must not only be interested, but you must be committed. Commitment entails actual developing a plan, and maintaining a sense of discipline in executing the plan. It means changing your life routine to accommodate the goal. If you are not committed, then the motivation can wane, and interest will fade to resignation. By being honest, it will enable you to set realistic expectations. Interest is easy, commitment is harder, and requires an emotional and psychological shift for the change to occur.

2) Set specific, manageable goals. Rather than say, “I want to get a new job this year,” instead state, “I will update my resume by the end of January, reach out to 10 contacts by mid-February, and apply to 20 positions by the end of February.” By specifying the goals, and setting deadlines, it should keep your motivated to move forward and see small victories as signs of success.

3) View a setback as a lapse not a relapse. The reality of change is that it is more of a marathon than a magical sprint. You may be very impatient, and when results are not seen in a few weeks, you may give up. Such is the case for many New Year’s resolutions. For instance, those new gym memberships are no longer used after a few weeks of little or no weight loss. However, it is a process. When their motivation ebbs, many people view it as a sign they have relapsed into another failed attempt at change. However, it may just be a lapse, a momentary, temporary setback, rather than an actual relapse, which is a more full term backsliding. The difference matters, because it will help you to know that you can recover quickly from a lapse and continue with your goals, rather than a relapse which may require starting from scratch again.

4) Change your narrative. Many people make resolutions with the understanding that he or she will eventually be unable to achieve it. They have a failure narrative, a belief in their inability to meet their goals. Such a narrative is hard to change, because there is a fair amount of data (e.g. previous failed goals) that backs up this negative story of yourself. However, the good news is that a success narrative can be created, by attending to more positive data (e.g. how you were able to land previous jobs) about yourself. It is human nature to give more weight to negative information, than to more affirming data. But it is critical to point to the instances of accomplishment, which can bolster a new, true narrative about your ability to be successful in finding a new job, or a better fit career.

5) Collaborate with an accountability partner. we all need support in achieving our goals, even if we may not like to admit it. Therefore, it is important that you find an accountability partner, a trusted person, to whom you will report your progress, or lack thereof. Your accountability partner can be a friend, family member, colleague, or even a career coach. The key is that you are communicating with this person on a consistent basis, and are open to accepting their feedback to improve your chances of reaching your goals.

A new year brings new hope, and 2017 will be the one that allows you to breakthrough to have the career life you deserve. By following these steps, you will be able to achieve your career dreams and develop a template to apply to other areas of your life!

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