Happy New Year!
While I logically understood that nothing would fundamentally change on January 1, I felt a collective sigh of relief once we entered the new year. And even though this year has started with great turmoil, I’m optimistic that the tide is changing—and will bring some much needed peace and health to our lives.
For most of my life, I set resolutions on New Year’s Day. And not just a few, but a laundry list of goals to accomplish, big and small. I would diligently work on the easier ones for a month or two and then tuck the list somewhere safe (usually the back of my planner). At the end of the year I’d review it, cross out a few items and then feel very disappointed for all of the other goals I didn’t even touch. I’d then start the entire process again because THIS YEAR would be different.
Looking back this cycle was not only exhausting, but also demoralizing and disheartening. My disappointment often overshadowed the joy I felt from my achievements.
Thankfully, I found a better way. Instead of resolutions, I focus on one major goal. Just like everything else in life, when you focus on something, you do it better and faster. It also has a halo effect. Once you’ve achieved your goal, you feel confident in your ability to do anything and naturally focus on a new goal and voilà—you’ll have accomplished a couple of (or few) major feats in a single year.
So what does this look like in practical terms? I’ve laid out simple steps that will set you up for success.
Step 1: Know your why
- Do a quick braindump of everything you’d like to accomplish. Then write down why each goal is important to you (spend a few minutes freewriting for each one).
- Read through your answers and rank them in order.
- Select your top goal and then expand on your reasoning.
- Write your current state and ideal state. Since we’re in the dream job business, let’s go with landing a new job this year as your top goal. Write your current story to surface the good and bad. Write your new story to create clarity on what your dream job looks and feels like. Check out this article on building an intentional career for a more detailed framework for this exercise.
- Print and review your new story often, which will keep you focused and motivated.
- Set an intention: what’s the overall feeling or driver for getting a new job? It might be something like increasing your fulfillment or realizing your potential.
Step 2: Break it down into microsteps
Start with the big milestones. For the job search, it’s something like: defining your target role and companies, revamping your resume and LinkedIn profile, crafting your elevator pitch and story, networking, interviewing and evaluating and negotiating deals.
- Take the first one and write down all the actions needed to accomplish it. For defining your target role and company list, you should have actions such as: review roles on job boards, look at Glassdoor reviews, read “best places to work” lists, subscribe to relevant publications, etc.
- Block time on your calendar dedicated to this goal. Make it recurring—and if you have a conflict, move it to another time (instead of deleting it). Limit it to 1-2 hours a couple of days a week so you’re more likely to keep the commitment. Once you build momentum, you may add more time or an additional day.
Step 3: Create accountability
Tell your closest and most supportive friends and family about your goal. Share why you’re doing it and ask them to ask you about it often.
- Create an accountability group—no more than 4 people. Meet weekly and structure the meetings so that everyone has 10 minutes to share updates and give them a few minutes to ask for advice or feedback and then move on to the next person. Adhering to a structure will make the meetings more impactful.
Step 4: Celebrate the small wins
- Celebrate when you finish a task (even when it’s just setting up time on your calendar). Every baby step equals progress. It can be as simple as patting yourself on the back (it sounds silly, but actually feels good) or doing a happy dance.
- Document your wins, including new learnings. This helps keep you motivated and builds your self-confidence and belief that you can achieve your goal.
- Share your celebrations, especially when you reach another milestone such as finishing your resume. One idea is to host a virtual dinner (send a food delivery gift card for your guests and schedule a video call). This helps amplify your successes and joy.
Step 5: Practice kindness, compassion and patience
- The job search journey is full of ups and downs. It’s difficult not to get discouraged when you don’t get a response or receive a rejection. The best thing you can do is practice kindness and self-compassion. Remind yourself that it’s not personal and focus on your wonderfulness. Try a guided meditation on YouTube (search for a specific topic like positivity, self-confidence, etc.).
- We can only control our actions, thoughts and feelings. We can’t control the timing of our goals. Rather than focusing on rigid deadlines or timelines, practice patience. Know and believe that things will work out for the best. Believe in yourself and enjoy the journey.
Step 6: Ask for help
- At any point (even at the very beginning), feel free to ask for help. If you’re always the helper or never ask for help, this will feel uncomfortable. But when you think of the best of the best (e.g., Olympians, Academy Award winners), all of them have coaches, counselors, assistants and more. Look for experts who can help you achieve your goal more effectively and quickly.
- Research articles for advice or find courses to learn best best practices.
- Delegate more. Many of us take on more than we need to at home and at work. Can someone else do more cooking or cleaning at home on the days you’re doing job search activities? Can someone else compile the reports at work? Or even better are there tasks that can be eliminated altogether?
When you approach your big goal of the year this way, you’ll set yourself up to be wildly successful!
Are you looking for help in your job search to land a job that you’ll love and thrive in?
If so, then watch our video and book a session with one of our job strategists. We’re excited to learn about your career goals and share insights.
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