With only a few weeks to go until we’re halfway through 2023 (where has this year gone?!), looking back on resolutions and plans made in January is only natural. Perhaps the regular gym visits have fallen by the wayside, and maybe decluttering the house is still on the to-do list, but now is a great time to think about how you can give your career a boost – and stick to it!
Like a healthy body, creating a healthy career is a matter of persistence, consistency and understanding what ingredients you require. Sometimes it’s easier said than done to take the steps needed to bring you closer to your career goals, so we’ve put together a list of ways that might help make your journey more achievable.
Reflect on your goals
Take time to reflect on your career goals, both short-term and long-term. Ask yourself what you truly want to achieve professionally and what brings you fulfillment. This reflection will guide you in making career detox decisions.
Make a plan – and keep reviewing it!
Having a plan is key to reaching targets – both professional and personal. Once you have decided what you want to achieve for the rest of the year, break it down into monthly, weekly and daily goals. Feeling as though you have something to aim for will give you a natural boost and you’ll probably attack every task with all guns blazing. The trick is to maintain this focus and energy for the remainder of 2023. Goals aren’t only for setting at the beginning of the year – you should regularly review your career path, monthly or quarterly. Tie it in with personal development reviews that your company conducts, or just do it yourself.
Look backwards – and then forwards
Look to the past to see what has worked for you and what has not. Evaluate the approach you took to projects and communications and be objective in your assessment. Make changes where necessary but take the opportunity to try something that takes you slightly out of your comfort zone. It will keep you learning and you might discover something that suits your working style (or not…)
Don’t just plan – act!
If you have taken the time to set intentions, it is important to make those intentions commitments. Being engaged in what you do on a daily basis has been linked to higher rates of overall life satisfaction as well as better mental and physical health. Simply speaking, it’s better for you and everyone around you if you are actively engaged in your work on a daily basis. Engagement is about more than being ‘satisfied’ at work. It’s about doing what you love and what aligns with your goals. Get involved in projects that enthuse you and make you want to do whatever you can to better the organisation you work for. Creating strong employee engagement isn’t necessarily a company responsibility. Make it your individual responsibility to seek and create your own engagement.
Know your strengths
There are few things more fulfilling in your career than knowing you are doing something brilliantly well. The correlation between loving what we do and using our strengths every day is massive. Studies have shown that employees who have the opportunity to use their strengths every day are more engaged than those who do not. Work out what your natural talents are (ask your colleagues where they think your strengths lie) and put them to use.
Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Create designated time for work and time for personal activities, and try to avoid blurring the lines. Switch off from work-related communication and tasks during your personal time to recharge and prioritise self-care. We know this isn’t easy but it’s up to you to set these boundaries.
Focus on taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Incorporate activities like exercise, meditation, hobbies, spending time with loved ones, and pursuing interests outside of work. Prioritising self-care will help you recharge and bring a fresh perspective to your career. Take the opportunity to learn new skills or work on personal projects that you've been putting off. This can reignite your passion for learning and bring a sense of fulfillment outside of your regular work responsibilities.
Disconnect from technology
Constant connectivity can contribute to stress and burnout. Consider implementing digital detox periods. Set aside time each day to disconnect from technology, whether it's turning off your phone for an hour, avoiding work-related emails, reading a book instead of watching TV, or taking breaks from social media.
We all need a dream. Find people who have followed their dreams and made them reality, and glean inspiration from them. Without dreams, our life becomes stagnant and our career suffers. Know what you want out of life and go for it.
Talk to a mentor, coach, or trusted friend who can provide guidance and support. They can help you gain perspective, offer advice, and hold you accountable for the changes you want to make. Take the time to network and connect with professionals in your field or industries of interest. Attend industry events, join online communities, or reach out to colleagues for a chat about your career (and theirs). Building connections can lead to new opportunities and fresh perspectives.
Don’t neglect the fun
Take a holistic approach to the rest of the year ahead – yes, you should have a clear-cut plan of action for your career, but you also need to think about what you want to achieve outside of work. It could be learning a new skill, joining a club, starting to walk or run to work (or part of the way!) a couple of times a week. Think about places you want to visit and have an idea of when you will take time off for holidays or recharging your batteries. Having things to look forward to will brighten your day and give you a greater sense of purpose.
Remember, a successful career detox is unique to you. Customise the process to fit your needs and priorities. It's an opportunity to reset, reassess, and realign your career with your values and aspirations. Good luck!
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