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Make professional New Year's Resolutions, too

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As a professional, the responsibility for the success of your career falls on your shoulders. One of the crucial questions to ask yourself is: "How can I maximize my contributions to the achievement of my professional goals?" and make your resolutions accordingly.

Need some inspiration? Here are some good ideas for professional New Year’s resolutions:

I will work smarter. What can you do to be more efficient and effective in your current job? What are your “time suckers?” Do you spend too much time on email? If you can identify them, then those inefficiencies can be eliminated.

I will find what makes me irreplaceable. Why should the company continue to employ you? Why are you good at what you do? Does the company know this? What else should the company know about you? In times of layoffs or terminations, why should the company keep you while dismissing others? If you cannot answer these questions during economic hard times, in particular, you could be vulnerable. Find ways to shine.

I will find ways to get along better with my boss and colleagues. Manage upward. If your boss is not managing you well enough or to your liking, then find positive, non-complaining ways to change this situation so that you are able to share your views with him or her. Do you need more (or less) direction, supervision, freedom, responsibility or authority? What can colleagues be doing more of, less of or doing differently to create a more positive working environment that meets organizational goals? Speak up and make sure your voice is heard.

I will join at least one work committee. By joining committees, you not only gain a broader view of the company's goals and issues, you also challenge your own skills, abilities, and knowledge and increase your networking impact. It's also a great way to showcase your leadership skills, build new partnerships and gain a reputation for being dependable.

I will join a professional organization in my field. Networking is critical to help you keep your ideas fresh, meet new people in your field and learn about new opportunities. Don't underestimate the importance of networking.

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