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The New Year is upon us.  Many of you will be sitting down making lists of resolutions and habits to kick or set goals to achieve throughout year.  Some of you will even re-hash the lists you had from previous years to earmark the things you crossed off and make additions to your inventory of personal items still waiting for your attention.

Still others of you will already be disgruntled by what you haven’t achieved and be resolute in making no resolutions at all for the New Year, knowing that you will either not follow through, break them, or you may not even be clear on what you want out of the coming days in your life or your career.

No matter how you approach the New Year, there are some things you can focus on to be more intentional in making the New Year work for you and your career.  These aren’t exactly resolutions or goals (they could be, if you choose) but reminders to get yourself over the holiday hump and concentrating on the things that matter to you.  Make use of them as you will:

  1. Update Your Resume.  Sure, every career expert says this all the time—always keep your resume updated.  It’s sound advice, but let’s not just talk about practicality.  Take a good, hard look at your resume.  Have you added anything new to it lately?  Any additional skills or bullet points to highlight?  If your resume is stagnant, then you probably are too and that doesn’t speak well to potential employers.  Try taking (or teaching) a class through dabble, snapclass, or coursera.  You could be a consultant or freelancer on the side, or get the courage to volunteer for new projects at work.  In order to grow (and show growth), you have to take action.
  2. Cut out the BS! The New Year is a great time to not just be reflective, but to take an honest look at your life, cut out all the excuses, and focus on the facts.  To achieve your goals, you often have to get out of your own way and sometimes take a counter-intuitive approach to life.  Whether you agree or disagree with her career or life advice, Penelope Trunks’s blog is a great resource and reminder that sometimes the best approach is the one we’re avoiding.
  3. Be in Control. This goes hand in hand with cutting out the BS.  Stop forgetting that this is YOUR life.  You’re the one living it, and you’re the one who has to be happy with it at the end of the day.  If you’re not, you’re the only one who can change that. Don’t let others control the way you think or feel in life or at work.  Alexander Kjerulf aka The Chief Happiness Officer and Karl Staib author of the blog Work Happy Now, both have many great insights into finding your bliss and acting in accordance with achieving your goals.
  4. Read. If you’re reading this post, then you’re already a few points ahead because you’re making a conscious effort to read something that has the possibility of being of value to you.  Not only does it expand our vocabulary, syntax, and communication skills, but reading also has the ability to subconsciously teach us about building healthier relationships.  And let’s face it, people who read are generally more interesting—if I have to explain why, you’re probably not reading enough.
  5. Listen. If you’re struggling with your career and what decisions to make, you may need to stop being reactive to everything around you and start listening.  There are cues, signals, and big red flags going up around you all the time.  People give advice, but we rarely take it because we think we know best. Learn to pay attention more to the people in your life and the world around you and you may find answers the answers you seek and some to questions you haven’t even had the courage to ask yet.
  6. Be Authentic—Have Your own Personal Brand & Be Proud of It. If you’re trying to be a carbon copy of someone else to achieve what they already have, guess what?—it’s already been done and everyone has moved on.  Figure out who you are and what you have that’s unique.  Don’t be afraid to be who you are, because when you are living authentically, you will attract more of what you want. Ryan Rancatore may have been on hiatus from his blog, Personal Branding 101, for awhile, but we still love his posts and think there’s much to be gained from perusing his archives.
  7. Inspire Others.  A funny thing happens when you help or inspire others, you start to live up to their expectations of you without realizing it.  Plus, you have an added bonus of feeling good about what you’re doing which raises your confidence and helps you achieve more.  It’s a win-win for everyone.
  8. Fear Less. Change.  Many people operate their lives in a constant state of fear (often without realizing it.)  In order to start fearing less and to control the full potential of your career, you have to let go of that fear and be willing to make changes.  Often, when we are unsatisfied with one portion of our life, whether it is our career, our family, or our purpose, that dissatisfaction or unrest spills over into every aspect of our being.  The Change Blog is a great source of articles and advice for all sides of life that can help inspire you to transform the way you look at the challenges you face.
  9. Get off the Internet. We’re thankful you’re on our site, reading this post.  And, by all means, search the internet far and wide to find inspiration.  But, inspiration is temporary without action.  Get off the internet and turn your ideas into accomplishment.  Go out and meet people, get social, put together a plan, leverage your relationships, meditate, walk, write, spend time with those that matter.  Stop posting and praying resumes or letting emails be the end of a conversation. The internet is just one of many tools to help build your dreams.  Don’t forget about the rest of your life that you can touch, smell, and see, and be a part of the world of the living. (And, don’t worry, we’ll still be here when you get back online.)
  10. Have a Happy New Year!  It’s a time for new beginnings.  Here is to health, wealth, happiness, and career fullfillment to all of you and yours!  Wishing you the best in 2013.
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