With 2017 coming to a close, now's the time to ponder the various things you did right at work this past year -- and the different opportunities you may have missed. As we gear up for 2018, here are a few career resolutions to consider for the coming year.
1. Do something that falls outside your comfort zone
There's something to be said for coming to work each day, knowing what assignments you need to do, and completing them on schedule without having to put much thought into it. But if you fail to challenge yourself, you might wake up one day and realize you're not only bored with your job, but on the path to burnout.
That's why it's important to push yourself to do things you aren't necessarily well-versed in, or even comfortable with. Not only will it help keep things interesting at work, but escaping your personal comfort zone is a good way to get noticed by your boss. And that could lead to a promotion and a host of different opportunities.
2. Learn a new skill
Maybe you're a junior designer looking to climb the ranks. Or perhaps you've got a good head for numbers, but aren't great at creating tables and spreadsheets. No matter what specific skill you feel you're lacking, make 2018 the year that you get schooled. Sign up for an online course, or see about in-person training in your area. Not only will it give you something to add to your resume, but it'll make you more valuable to your current employer.
3. Make five new industry contacts
Networking requires an ongoing effort. It's also the sort of thing that can make or break your career. Knowing the right people can open the door to new opportunities and help you advance internally, so as a starting point, pledge to add at least five names to your contact list next year. But don't add just anyone -- focus on finding the right contacts, which are those people you can really learn from and whose experience you can benefit from.
4. Be more honest with your boss
You might think that bottling up work issues will make you a more valued and respected employee in the eyes of your boss. But actually, there's a danger to keeping your grievances to yourself. If you don't speak up about what's bothering you, your boss won't have an opportunity to address your issues.
A better bet is to get comfortable with the idea of having more honest conversations next year. Promise yourself that you'll bring up the things you aren't satisfied with, or the concerns you've been harboring. With any luck, your boss will respond positively and work to help you find solutions.
5. Have a more positive attitude -- about everything
Whether it's the constant pressure of looming deadlines, too many meetings, or a stream of incompetent colleagues, it's easy to find things at work to be dissatisfied with. And though you shouldn't hesitate to discuss your key sticking points with your manager, or gripe about them to your coworkers, what you should do is aim for a general attitude overhaul going into the new year. If you approach your work from a positive perspective, you're more likely to feel content on the job and are less likely to fall victim to stress.
Don't bemoan those deadlines, meetings, or deadbeat colleagues. Instead, embrace those challenges and tell yourself you will get past them. Not only will you feel better about coming to work, but your boss will most likely take note of your attitude adjustment, as well.
The start of a new year is a great time to focus on improving your career. As we wind down 2017, take the time to jot down some resolutions that mean a lot to you. With any luck, they'll set the stage for a successful 2018.