Do you want 2006 to be the year you finally get ahead at work or make the jump to a wholly different career path? Is your fondest wish that in 2006, you can finally get on the road to financial security and/or more balance in your personal life which includes a healthier, more fit you? Would you like to finally harness that marvelous brain of yours to learn a new skill or develop new avenues that help you either advance at work or aid you in going out on your own?
Here are 25 of the top tips to make 2006 your most successful year ever, compiled from questions asked of job and life coaches, employment experts and therapists. You can tackle just one or a mix of several because there is so much possibility here for everyone, regardless of their current situation.
And, as Boston-based job coach Marie Northgren notes, the beauty of these tips is that even if you forget all about them until late in 2006, you can still take giant leaps forward before 2006 comes to a close. Any movement in the right direction is a big deal, she adds, and can be important in developing momentum needed to carry you through.
1. Learn a new skill, possibly one that could come in useful at work or in a side business you want to open.
2. Learn or relearn and beef up a second language; so many employers and services today require people who can speak and/or read more than just English.
3. Work on your communication talents, including reading, writing, speaking, and listening; you can ace others in business and work if you can communicate more effectively than your peers. Too few today can construct a simple sentence or write a simple list or goal paragraph, for example, that those who can write better often stand out.
4. Watch less TV; American adults often spend 20 hours or more each week doing the couch potato routine in front of the set where what they consume does not feed their minds. If you cut out just an hour of TV each day, you find all new kinds of time for other pursuits. But turn the set OFF – just having it on distracts you.
5. Related to #4, make a point to read more, and vary the mediums and genres you read. Not only will you learn a lot, but you can improve your writing acumen as well as increase your brain’s ability to process information that too much TV can diminish.
6. Work on your resume. Most resumes are not only out of date, they often spell out more of the blemishes in a work history than the critical skills and experience you have.
7. Engage in some creative pursuit whether it’s writing or journaling, a craft, drawing or painting, playing music on an instrument or something else that stimulates your brain while relieving tension.
8. Start working on a set of goals, divided between short-term desires and long-term achievements. But plan to revisit this set once a month, making changes as needed. By assembling your goals, you begin to think more about them and make it more likely you will take steps to meet those goals.
9. Develop critical thinking skills: the one thing that often differentiates a basic employee from someone with management potential is someone who can see beyond the obvious issues at hand and ask tough questions. If you’re not sure where to start, sit down with a newspaper or magazine and read articles. Then consider what you have read and think about what questions the article raised that were not answered, or may have a slant in what was presented. Just from this kind of exercise, you can sharpen your mind and develop this type of thinking.
10. Begin to save at least one day’s pay each month. Too many people today have negligible savings which puts them in a terrible situation when a financial emergency arises. If you can, slowly build this up until you can set aside 10% of your income.
11. Improve your fitness. Even adding a brisk walk of reasonable distance either before breakfast, during lunch, or after dinner can begin to raise your energy level and enhance your body’s ability to process food, fight illness, and improve your limberness.
12. Make time each week to look through both online and offline job ads. Look beyond the usual categories, too, to determine what skills you may need to move into a different job type or improve your current position.
13. Refurbish your wardrobe, even if by just a few items each month. The better you think you look, your self confidence rises and you’re not only apt to walk and talk more carefully but also want more things for yourself.
14. Take a class to learn more about something you’ve always wanted to study. There are online as well as real world choices here.
15. Volunteer your time, particularly if you can find something that may increase your skill set, offer you satisfaction, or make a difference that you feel good about.
16. Possibly related to #15 or you can make it quite different, join an organization. This gives you social opportunities, as well as improves your dynamic capabilities within a group. A profession-based group is fine, too.
17. Network more; often, we can increase our circle of contacts, job or financial opportunities, and social outings when we made a concerted effort to get out and meet others who share similar interests.
18. Begin to treat your time away from work as a valuable commodity; this helps you not lose every evening in front of the TV or the computer engaging in mindless pursuits.
19. Practice your public speaking – this one fear can topple the advance of many people’s job or social pursuits while even occasional practice can help you overcome it. You can even record directly to your computer with a microphone.
20. Review your budget – or create one if you do not have one – and begin to analyze ways you can use your funds more effectively. You may be able to economize in simple ways that bring you closer to financial security, for example.
21. Investigate special programs or classes available through your job or professional organizations to which you belong. If some of these sound useful to you, consider signing up for them to take better advantage of your current options.
22. Strive to reduce distractions in your life – an amazing amount of our energy goes to dealing with annoyances. But, through applying creative solutions, you may be able to turn your energy to better pursuits that offer greater satisfaction and stress reduction.
23. Make a point to get adequate sleep as well as overall rest and recreation. Poor rest often leads to too many distractions and too little energy as well as increases your risk of becoming ill.
24. Related to your goals, begin to plot what position you would like to be in every 5 or 10 years for the rest of your life. This can help you determine steps you need to take to achieve what you want.
25. Regularly analyze your current job and what you would perhaps prefer to do in the near future. Determine what you need to get a better job, get your own business off the ground, or move into a whole different field without having to start from the bottom.