It's the middle of January, and that means millions of New Year's resolutions have already been made--and abandoned. But just because the new year has passed and people around you are starting to give up on their new goals, that doesn't mean it's too late to commit to some life-changing resolutions . In fact, you might be better off starting your resolutions now, after the stresses of the holidays have worn off and you've gotten back into a normal routine at work.
Regardless of whether you missed the boat on January 1 or you've already fallen off the wagon, there's no sense in waiting another 11 months to change your career. Make the most of 2017 by committing to one or several of these six career resolutions. Once you've chosen a commitment from this list, make sure it sticks by following these strategies for effective resolutions .
1. Expand your network
The one thing about business that never seems to change is that the people you know can play a pivotal role in your career advancement. So if you're looking to transform your career, one of the best resolutions you can make is to grow your professional network . Consider joining a professional organization, college alumni group, or volunteer organization that will expose you to new people. Or go for quantity over quality and try connecting with someone at the top of your field who might be willing to serve as your mentor.
2. Step into a leadership role
Taking on a leadership role--whether at work, in a professional organization, or as part of a volunteer opportunity--offers several career benefits : It provides you with additional skills, responsibilities, and accomplishments to add to your resume. It can provide you with an opportunity to gain skills beyond your industry--which is particularly helpful if you're looking to change careers. And it's a great opportunity to network with industry leaders both in and outside of your company.
3. Update your profiles
One survey found that 93 percent of recruiters scope out candidates' social profiles before deciding on whom to offer the job. So if you're looking to advance your career, that means you need to put your best foot forward on digital platforms. Use the new year as a catalyst for updating your LinkedIn profile , social media profiles, and personal website to reflect your most recent accomplishments. While you're at it, update your resume so you'll be ready to apply should a new career opportunity present itself.
4. Grow your skillset
Learning new skills can enable you to take on new roles and responsibilities at work. That can lead to career benefits in the form of raises, promotions, or looking more attractive to potential employers. Communication skills, leadership skills, and skills related specifically to your job duties are in high demand among employers , so consider professional development opportunities that can give these skills a boost. As an added bonus, growing your skillset can also increase your confidence and sense of fulfillment at work.
5. Identify career obstacles
The new year is a great time to take stock not only of where you want to go, but also of what's holding you back . Are you so overloaded at work that you're too exhausted to pursue new opportunities or come up with creative ideas? Does your boss sabotage you at every turn? Resolve to think critically about the factors that are currently inhibiting your professional growth. Then develop a game plan for removing (or working around) each of those obstacles.
6. Commit to checking in
One of the best ways to ensure your career stays on the right course over the long haul is to make a habit of assessing where your career stands on a regular basis. So if you do nothing else this year, resolve to check in with yourself at least every six months to assess whether you're feeling fulfilled in your career, what new obstacles are getting in the way of your career growth, if you're satisfied with your salary, and so on. Don't just stop at this assessment. Let the answers to this inquiry determine your game plan for moving forward.
Whatever career goal(s) you commit to, make sure your resolution is SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to your life goals, and timely. Articulating your goals in this way will help you chart a course for career transformations in 2017.