Do you feel that your career progress has stalled? Are you frustrated with your inability to make major positive changes in your career? Have you wanted to launch your entrepreneurship dreams, but still feel fearful about taking the leap? As the second month of the new year kicks into full gear, many of the resolutions we made have already been abandoned. Statistics indicate that only 9% of people feel successful in reaching their New Year’s resolutions, even though  41% of Americans say they usually make resolutions. One of the major problems with making New Year’s resolutions is that we often set unrealistic expectations, due to the optimistic high experienced by the possibilities of a fresh start year. Thus, we convince ourselves that this will be the year, in which we get a new job, shed 30 lbs., AND start our own business. However, after the glow of the new year wears off, you may settle into your old routines and lose the energy & enthusiasm to pursue those resolutions. Or if you don’t see any major results in a few weeks (e..g. no weight loss after three weeks of going to the gym), you may become demoralized and quit. Let’s make this year different! The following strategies will make sure you achieve your career goals this year and transform your life:

1)   Set realistic goals

this might sound obvious, but sometimes our ambitions get the best of us. Yes, you might wish to get a new job in three weeks, but the average job search takes 4-6 months, if you spend 10 hours a week on job search activities. Oftentimes, you might attribute your failure to achieve a goal to your lack of discipline or to your laziness. In reality, sometimes it may be that you didn’t set an appropriate goal. Therefore, start with a manageable goal (e.g. revise my resume or reach out to one networking contact a week), one which you are very likely to achieve. Once this smaller goal is attained, you can then set larger SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely-with an end date) goals, until you have reached your ultimate objective.

2)   Make a commitment not a resolution

once you have set your goals, it is important to make a commitment to them. Such a commitment involves actually devoting allotted hours to the identified goals. For example, if you want a new job, you need to dedicate time to network, revise your resume, and identify viable opportunities. It is your commitment level that dictates success. A resolution seems like an abstract concept, a magical wish, whereas a commitment is backed by tangible behavior change. This commitment needs to be consistent and public, since you are attempting to create new habits. Habit formation takes repetition, until the new behavior becomes automatic, which is why it needs to be consistent, on a daily or a weekly basis. Further, by making it public, it provides a measure of accountability to increase the probability of success.

3)   Develop micro-habits

to form new habits, you need to start small. You may not have the 10-15 hours a week needed to adequately conduct a job search. However, if you can set aside 2 hours a week to the task, you can create a micro-habit, which can eventually grow into larger habits. Accept and celebrate these small victories.

4)   Adopt a growth mindset

when we set resolutions, we usually have a fixed mindset. This means that we approach the goal with an all or nothing attitude. For instance, if you make the resolution to leave your current job, but do not act to do so over several weeks, you might give up on that goal.  By adopting a growth mindset, you enable yourself to stay committed, even in the face of setbacks or periods of decreased motivation. In a growth mindset, failure is not deemed as irreparable, but rather as a learning opportunity. Therefore, if you didn’t act on your job search immediately, a growth mindset would examine what is stopping you from doing so, help you overcome these barriers, and move forward with the job search.

5)   Invest in yourself

you may be resistant to the notion of needing support in reaching your goals. You may berate yourself for not having the will to change your life. But the truth is that the most successful people seek assistance in areas in which they are not adept and can benefit from further guidance. They invest time and money in coaching, mastermind groups, or other forms of support, to ensure they stay on the right track to goal achievement. At a certain point, a self-help book or an inspirational podcast may not be enough to get you over the hump to success. Therefore, it might be time to commit to more proven strategies and to invest in expertise (e.g. career coaching or a small business seminar), for career transformation and victory.

If you feel stuck and frustrated about your career progress, and are ready for a major shift in your life, use these strategies to make 2018 the year in which you achieve your career dreams!

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