Is improving your career on your New Year’s resolution list?

Happy New Year! The start of a new year often brings about personal reflection. This is also the time when many proclaim New Year Resolutions, such as lose weight, volunteer more, or get a promotion. Usually we are seeking to change an- undesired trait or behavior. We get caught up in the excitement of making a New Year resolution only to find that come February we have already lost interest!

This year, consider making a New Year resolution that you know you will keep! Create a career roadmap for the year, a plan to spend time on developing and improving yourself professionally. It may be just what you need to focus your ambitions and empower yourself to have your best career year yet.

This plan does not need to be lengthy, two to three SMART goals is plenty. Remember SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. Be clear on why and how the activities will support your goals, and what success will look like. By focusing on 2 or 3 goals, your career roadmap will not go the way of most other resolutions. Stretch yourself, get out of your comfort zone.

Identify three to four activities that directly support achieving the goal. Be creative with these activities, think about how you best learn and retain information, how can they be accomplished as part of your daily work, and don’t be afraid to ask for an opportunity. As an example, you may have a goal to speak at a company-wide meeting. This goal could be supported by the following activities:

  • Volunteer to speak at an event in the future, committing now will give you something to work towards.
  • Ask for an opportunity to present information to a group outside your own department or represent your team in an update to an executive leadership team
  • Practice, practice, practice! Video tape yourself practicing for these presentations
  • Ask for timely, honest feedback from peers, managers, and mentors; then be willing to make changes accordingly.


Resolutions and career roadmaps are more likely to be successfully achieved with a few key steps.

  • Write them down – when you write it, you declare it
  • Share them to gain support – when you talk about your goals you will be more accountable to achieve them, and garner support from those around you
  • Revisit your goals and progress monthly (calendar time to revisit them with your manager) – be honest in your efforts, revise as necessary if your role or responsibilities change
  • Keep them visible to remind and motivate yourself to achieve goals and set new ones


A renewed focus or even a new purpose at work may be among the many benefits of creating a plan to grow your career this year. What are the goals that will motivate you to grow your career in 2017?

If you or your organization are looking to grow your leadership skills in 2017, contact Constructing Opportunity.