At any point, you should assess your career and work life. However, a lot of us look at the beginning of a new year as the perfect time to look behind as well as ahead—especially when it comes to careers. Even if your 2012 was a year you want to forget, there are probably some things you can take forward as you embrace 2013.
Were you able to reach all of the goals that you set in 2012? No? There’s nothing wrong with pushing the reset button to tackle those things that escaped you last year. As we have come to know from our computers, pushing the reset button can often bring success.
Break your goals into “chunks” and don’t bite off more than you can reasonably chew. Take one class instead of six, for example. It’s better to succeed at one than to fail because you’re overloaded. If your work performance goal is more project leadership, be realistic about your project management skills and focus on building your expertise at the appropriate level. Some companies advocate “stretch goals” to push employees out of the safety zone, but if you’re not ready, you will only fail. Be honest. Devoting yourself to smaller, more manageable goals that are reachable can help you reach those seemingly unattainable goals.
Looking for a promotion? Some companies don’t focus on promotions as much as lateral growth these days and this can be disappointing for those looking to climb a non-existent ladder. So consider how you can improve your performance. There’s always something new to learn and new people from whom you can learn.
Learn from your past. Not that you want to dwell there, but consider past mistakes and learn from them. Focus on how not repeating them can help you grow. By the same token, look at your past successes. I’m not talking about taking a cookie-cutter approach on future projects, but think about what you can take away from past experiences into your next project or next job. Remember that each step should be looked at in context and not just automatically reapplied.