January is a great time to start thinking about new habits, new goals and new approaches for both your career and your life.
Of course, since most people don’t start back at work on the very first day of the year, I tend to take the soft approach of using the month of January to start thinking about the resolutions I want to work on and making sure I’m ready to tackle the rest of the year.
As we head into another year in which Covid-19 is the main topic of conversation, I believe this soft approach is more important than ever.
With that in mind, here are some of my top New Year’s resolutions to help boost your career in 2022 – and please note, none of them are to work harder.
Nail your work-life balance
Whether you’re still remote working, in the office some of the time, or part of the large, deskless workforce, it’s important not to simply wait for the pandemic to be over before you start improving your work-life balance.
The last two years have been incredibly taxing for everyone and while it would be nice to enjoy a pandemic-free working life, you’ll burn out long before you get there if you haven’t done so already.
Forget the new normal or the old normal and instead, focus on the current normal for you and find the best way to incorporate healthy balance into your life. Everyone is different so figure out the best ways to help you switch off, disconnect and look after yourself.
Learn your limits
I’ve had plenty of conversations over the last two years that have led me to believe a combination of working from home, working through a pandemic and just generally having to live normal life while everything else is quite clearly not normal has put severe limitations on our abilities, our mindset and our productivity levels.
Towards the end of last year, I wrote about how to deal with pandemic-level brain fog just to help myself to get out of it.
I’ve also had many conversations about the increase of burnout and imposter syndrome, and that’s before we even look at those who have had to start new jobs, take on new responsibilities or manage new teams during this pandemic.
This year, take some time to reflect on where you are in work. What your responsibilities are, where your strengths are and where you might need extra help. Essentially, it’s a good idea to carry out a SWOT analysis on yourself, identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
However, it’s important that you do not use this analysis to focus on your weaknesses and berate yourself for them. It’s about learning how to work with them with the help of your colleagues and manager.
It’s important not to discount any so-called temporary limitations that have been brought on by the pandemic. They may not be there forever but they also won’t go away next week so learning to deal with those limitations now will stand to you in the long run.
Be kind to yourself
For many, this is the second new year starting inside a pandemic and while vaccines are definitely shining an optimistic light on things, it’s important to remember that we’re all still working within a pandemic.
In May 2020, resilience coach Siobhán Murray likened the pandemic to having a family of brown bears living in your garden. Well, the brown bears are still very much in the garden, so just because you’ve been working under these conditions for nearly two years, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still give yourself a break and that your body and mind are still in crisis mode even if you’ve managed to distract yourself from it.
Whenever you feel a negative voice creep in, telling you that you’re not being productive enough or that you’re not working hard enough, the most important resolution for your career this year is to remind yourself that you have been working through massively disruptive circumstances for a long time now so let yourself off the hook.
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