9 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Advance Your Career

If your New Year’s resolution isn’t about health, it’s probably about your career. 

And if you’re hoping to get a better job, promotion or change careers, check out these nine resolutions that will put you on the right track.

Learn Something New

This is an obvious one. Whether it’s getting more schooling or simply taking classes that will make you an expert in a particular aspect of your job, learning something new is a good step toward advancing your career.

You probably have a sense of what parts of your job need improvement. Check around for classes, or massive open online courses (MOOCs), which are gaining in popularity.

Additional skills will help you stand out in your workplace and potentially put you in line for a promotion.

Be Less Stressed

However you like to unwind, make stress reduction a part of your routine and you’ll see better performance in the workplace, according to the American Psychological Association.

Job-related pressures can cause enough stress in your life, so work to manage it at home: meditate, eat better, take yoga or exercise.

In the workplace, help reduce stress by clearing your desk of clutter, taking breaks to refresh and making a list of tasks.

Get a Better Education

If you’re looking for a better job, getting a degree or certificate can create opportunities for a more rewarding career.

The number of jobs that require a bachelor’s degree is expected to increase by 16.5 percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the fastest-growing careers are those that require employees to have a master’s degree or other higher diploma.

The converse also applies—the slowest-growing job fields are those that typically require a high school diploma or equivalent.

Travel More

Gain a broader perspective on your life and career by traveling.

In addition to getting the chance to disconnect and relax, travel can also teach you resourcefulness and the value of trying new things, and help generate ideas you may not have otherwise come up with—all of which can help you at your job.

Coming back from a vacation can help reduce stress and make you feel reinvigorated as you return to work.

Take Risks

The word “risk” often has a negative connotation, but when it comes to your career, it should be viewed as a positive.

Taking a risk at work helps you stand out and demonstrates you have confidence in your abilities.

Challenge yourself. Try something new. Show your supervisors that you’re thinking critically about your job and want to improve the way things run.

Even if a particular risk doesn’t pan out, you’ll invariably learn something from the experience.

Start a Blog

Position yourself as a thought leader in your field by starting a blog.

Growing your online presence will make you more attractive to employers, while at the same time keeping you up to date with the latest trends in your industry.

In addition to becoming a better writer, blogging will also help you learn technical skills and how to use content-management systems.

By engaging with audiences online, you can also develop a larger network and learn from others in your field.

Show Gratitude

Interviewed for a job but didn’t get it? Send a thank-you card anyway.

You can build and maintain relationships and networks simply by showing gratitude. Think of it as generating social capital.

For managers in particular, showing gratitude can improve employee performance and cultivate a better work environment.

If nothing else, people who show gratitude tend to be more optimistic about life and healthier overall.

Get More Sleep

By sleeping better you’ll think more clearly and creatively, and sharpen your memory and attention span.

A good night’s rest will also help you focus, along with improving your problem-solving skills and attention to detail. You’ll have more energy and be more productive with a little extra shut-eye.

Getting more sleep will also help you fight off illnesses that keep you from your work. You should try to get at least seven and a half hours of sleep each night.

Build an Emergency Fund

If you’re looking to make a major career change, it takes time.

And that can mean taking time off to look for a new job, which will be much easier to stomach if you have an emergency fund to fall back on. Financial experts say you should have six to nine months of living expenses stashed away.

It will, of course, take time to save up enough money, but once you do you’ll feel secure knowing those funds are in place in case you lose your job or have to endure a financial emergency.