6 New Year’s Resolutions You Need to Make – and Keep

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Have you given some thought to making any New Year’s resolutions this year? The tradition of setting goals for the New Year goes back about 4,000 years to the Babylonians when once a year people made promises to the gods in hopes of receiving good fortune in return.

January 1 became the first day of the year in 46 B.C. when Julius Caesar developed a new calendar, switching from a lunar one to a solar one. He named the first month of the Julian calendar after the two-faced god Janus. Janus could look back on the past year and look forward to the year ahead at the same time. The Romans exchanged New Year’s gifts that symbolized good fortune, such as branches from sacred trees and, later, coins imprinted with the likeness of Janus.

Although the date for the start of the New Year is not the same in every culture, the day is a time for making promises and for setting goals for the year ahead. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, about half of our population here in the United States makes resolutions each year. Popular New Year’s resolutions for Americans are: losing weight, exercising and giving up smoking.

The approach of a new year is also a good time to set some business resolutions. Think of 2014 as the year you can attain some new heights in your career. Here are six areas to examine. The specifics are up to you.

Here are 6 New Year’s Resolutions

Learn something new

American philosopher and writer Mortimer Adler once wrote, “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as long as we live.” Have you gotten stuck doing and thinking about the same things every day? Monotony can be the ruin of many a great mind.

How can you add some fresh thinking and energy to your workplace? Take an online course. Read a book. Sign up for a seminar. Ask a friend or co-worker to teach you a new skill.

Whether you choose something directly related to your business, only partly related or not related at all, learning something new will benefit you by adding a new dimension to your life. In addition, you will put yourself into contact with some new people. New people can mean new growth for your business.

Market your business better

It’s time to step up your social media and content marketing in 2014. Does your company have a blog? Post some fresh content each week that gets your message out.  Plan ways to increase your social media contacts.

If you have not already done so, work on developing your specific brand and create images and slogans that convey that brand to your intended audience. What strategies can you implement to increase traffic to your social media accounts? Contests? Promotions?

Expand your network.

Whatever your business is, try thinking about expanding your borders. What professional organizations can you join to make some new contacts? Is there a trade association that serves your industry? A membership can be invaluable in meeting colleagues and in spreading the word about your business.

Networking is about establishing relationships with other businesspeople who can benefit your career. You never know how these friendships will intertwine. Some can help you launch a new career down the road, and others can play a role as mentors as you get yourself established in your current career.

Give back to your community.

Make it a New Year’s resolution to get more involved with your community. What types of community issues interest you? The homeless?  Schools? The foster program? The library? Find a cause that matters to you, and give what you can to it.  Volunteer to serve on a committee, be a mentor to a young person, or coordinate that non-profit’s fundraiser. You’ll find that when you give back to the community, you will gain much yourself – in good will and in feeling good. Both results are good for your business.

Get organized.

Use the holiday time when things may have slowed down a bit at the office to get organized. Set a list of priorities for the coming year. Think of your main goals and put them into a time framework. Look at what needs to be accomplished when so that you can achieve your goals.

Try to be realistic in setting deadlines. Keep in mind your regular workload and current obligations as you add in any new responsibilities.

Create a Balance between Home and Work

Do you feel that when you are at home you are always thinking about what you need to do at work and when you are at work, you are daydreaming about being at home? To a certain extent, we all do that, but if you are feeling stress about not being in both places at the same time, it means something is out of whack.

According to American psychologist Abraham Maslow, who is best known for creating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we have a pyramid of needs that must be fulfilled in order for us to function well.  A career keeps us mentally stimulated and provides the income we need to pay our bills and to put food on the table. Home and family life give us love, security and companionship. According to Maslow, we need both of these aspects of our lives to be in balance in order to be healthy and productive.

Are you a workaholic? The year 2014 should include a planned vacation and plenty of other downtime during the workweek. Are you a procrastinator who needs to get more work done this year? It’s time for you to set and keep a consistent work schedule.

The more specific you are in making a New Year’s resolution, the more likely you are to keep it, experts have found. For example, if we use the popular losing weight resolution, it’s a good idea to put that broad category into manageable steps. Rather than the wide goal “I will get more exercise” try the specific goal “I will walk to and from the train station three times a week.”

Putting this into the workplace scenario, go back over the previous suggestions and select one. Next choose your first step, such as signing up for a new course or reading a new business book. You’ll find that as you accomplish one step, you will feel energized and then you will be ready to take the next one.

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