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Some suggestions for New Year’s career resolutions you CAN KEEP

Lots of people make New year’s resolutions that are so big and “life changing” they cannot possibly be kept. Here are several simple ones that are small incremental changes, that make you a better person, and a better colleague, and  not tough to keep:

Be a better you

1. Be healthier at work

Work toward better health in small ways: eat a healthier lunch, nosh on healthier snacks, take the stairs instead of the elevator, stand up and look around at least once an hour (stretch your eyes as well as your legs and back). Small changes add up to big improvements.

2. Learn a new skill

No matter what field you are in, there are hundreds of new skills you can learn that could benefit your career. Check local continuing education guides that come out for the Winter/Spring semester or try an online course via

3. Update your resume

Review your resume at least annually to see if the info is still current, and that the style looks current . Do this even if you don’t plan on applying anywhere, just so your colleagues (and superiors) see the current version of you online.

4. Review and improve your LinkedIn profile

How does your LinkedIn, profile look? LinkedIn is as crucial to your personal brand as your resume. Keep the information, tone, and look up to date. Compare against your connections, or against others with the same job title (use the LinkedIn Search box) to see what the competitive bar is.

5. Organize your email inbox

Add folders to your inbox to categorize & prioritize the incoming email, and some Message Rules to automatically file it. Create folders for newsletters and for online shopping, to review when you are “on hold” on a phone call. Only uncategorized email should stay in your Inbox folder, and should be cleared regularly.

6. Get one new professional certification

Take a course or get a new professional certification. Or update an existing one.

7. Measure your work-life balance

Re-evaluate your work-life balance. Is your life fulfilling enough? Or it could be personal and family life can be distracting (if not destructive) to your career

8. Update your LinkedIn headshot

If you cringe every time you look at your profile photo on LinkedIn, then consider the new year to be a great time to invest in a new one. Make sure it’s high resolution (at least 400×400 pixels) and in full colour.  If you can’t afford a professional photographer, take one-on-one photos with your friends with your cellphone.

9. Read one career-related or motivational book

Find at least one good book that can improve your performance, your outlook, or your personal habits. You can do this on or local bookstore. or just browse the business books section of your public library.


101. Find a career mentor

The right mentor can help propel your career forward. Is there a person at your company that you highly respect? If they’re a step or two ahead of you on the corporate ladder, ask if they are willing to be a work mentor.

11. Join a professional organization

Join a professional organization (some may cost money). Develop your skills and your network, but add a fresh perspective to your work. Good  resources are Meetup, the Directory of Associations, and 10times.

12. Sign up to follow one relevant blog

There is a world of free information, insider tips, and great motivational writers online. Find a blog that is pertinent to your industry, profession, or personal life. If you see good posts shared on Facebook, they often point to a good blog.

13. Volunteer in your community

Volunteer to make your community a better place for everyone. Pick an opportunity either completely different from your work (develop a new passion?), or something related (to build your network?)

14. Attend one professional networking event

Pick one networking event a month for your industry or profession (Meetup is a good place to start)

15. Send at least one thank-you note per month

Sending a handwritten thank you is a great way to show your appreciation and professionalism. Or surprise someone with an act of personal or professional kindness to “pay it forward”. It can be as simple as a well-written and well-deserved LinkedIn recommendation.

16. Add at least one new professional networking connection each month

Look at the Connections part of your LinkedIn Profile and connect with at least one new person a month.  When they accept, ask them how you might help them.


What do you think? Can you keep one or more (if not all) of these resolutions? If you’re unsure pick ONE of these as a new resolution EACH new month. In a year, you’ll have picked up 12 new good habits to help move your career ahead.

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