Some reading this are ending the year on a high note and in celebration. This could mean that they got that promotion they dreamed of. Maybe they landed a new job with a high profile company. Or, some got a massive raise they weren't expecting.

On the flip side, some reading this are ending the year in tears.

Their career did not go as planned in 2018. Instead of getting a promotion, they made a lateral move within their organization with no perks or new responsibility. Many applied for dream jobs but never heard back after submitting their cover letter, resume, or even after landing a job interview. Some requested a raise but it was denied. And even worse, some were fired from their jobs.

For many, primarily those in the age range of 35 to 45, this could amount to a mid-career crisis.

If you can relate to the above and your career was a hot mess in 2017, 2018 is the year to turn things around. However, it's going to require something that maybe you have been unwilling to do: taking full responsibility for where you are in your career.

During rough patches in our career, it's easy to blame the company, our manager or our colleagues for having it out for us. Unfortunately, the truth may actually be that you unknowingly have it out for yourself sabotaging your success.

So, if you'd like to turn things around in your career, here are five things to start doing in 2018:

1. Identify what to stop doing.
At this time of the year, many spend a lot of time making New Years resolutions and documenting big goals to accomplish. An opportunity you have is instead of writing down new goals is to identify what to stop doing in the New Year. What are those activities that you are committed to that are no longing serving you or benefiting your career? Maybe you could stop complaining. Or, you can stop arriving to the office late. Maybe you could stop "winging it" and put more time in preparation. Get a pen and a pad and write down key things to stop doing.  

2. Do the people you spend most time with make you better?
Think about the five people you spend the most time with in and out of the office. Now, ask yourself this question: do they make you better? Do they support you? Do they encourage you? Or, are these people aiding in you not growing and staying where you are? Are the people you spend time with allies to you or are they thieves? Are they energy vampires or do they inspire you? Do they always have drama going on in their lives or good things? Who you spend your time with determines your success or failure.

3. Identify everything that went wrong in your career this year.
Get out a pen and pad and write down the things that did not go well in your career this year. Maybe you didn't get invited to a conference. For some, this could me being overlooked for a promotion. For others this could mean on-going tension with a colleague. After you identify what went wrong, ask yourself these questions: What role did I play in it? How did I contribute to this happening? How can I ensure this doesn't happen again? These questions help you take accountability and plot a path forward.

4. Have you stopped taking risks and settled?
Early in our career, we can be hungry for success. These means that we go above and beyond the call of duty. We do more than is expected of us. We become the linchpin. We want people to know our name. Oddly, something odd can happen for some as they progress in their career. That go-getter that they once were disappears and is replaced by someone who does "good enough" work. They no longer go above and beyond. They no longer take risks. They stop learning. Instead of wanting people to know their name they would rather be ignored so not to take on more responsibility. Have you settled?

5. What did you originally set out to do?
The truth is that you may be struggling in your career because of a simple reason: you're not doing what you want to do. Think back to when you began your career. What were your goals? What did you want to accomplish? Even more important, what did you originally set out to do in your career? Now be honest with yourself. Are you doing it? Are you fulfilled or are you coasting? Remember, just because you're good at something doesn't mean that you're supposed to be doing it.

2018 can be your year but it will take a strong look in the mirror. It will take discipline. It will take surrounding yourself with the best. It will mean taking risks. It will mean recommitting to what's most important: you.




























Published on: Dec 29, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.