With the new calendar year a little more than a month away, it is a good opportunity for you to think about where you want to take your career in the year ahead.

Whether this means looking for a promotion or taking on a new role altogether, here are important tips on how to give your career a makeover in 2012:

Take time to reflect. There is no better way to prepare for the year ahead than by taking stock of the year that is coming to a close. It will help you map out your career goals for 2012.

Write down your goals. Sit down with a mentor or your boss and discuss your career goals for the year, and then write them down. This will help keep your performance goals at the top of your mind for the New Year.

Set small goals. Identify the small milestones to achieving your big goals. This will give you more “wins” and reasons to celebrate on the way to achieving your big goals.

Take up a new course. Enrol in a class or course that will give you new skills and make you more marketable to new employers or get you noticed at your current job. This could include public speaking or learning a new language.

Organise your workspace. A clean workspace sends the message that you are organised, confident and have everything under control.

Clean out your wardrobe. It has been proven that what you wear to work can impact your attitude at work. Take stock of your work wardrobe and get dressed for success. 

Find a coach or mentor. Having a personal contact with whom you can share ideas and seek advice from can be invaluable to your career. 

Know the bigger picture. Knowing about your company’s goals and overall strategy will pay off in conversations in the office. It makes you sound interested and informed, thus raising your profile in the mind of your colleagues.

Go big on attitude. Take on new roles and activities with enthusiasm and pride. Every challenge at work is an opportunity to show what you can do.

Get out and about. Build a broad network of contacts across your industry and the wider business environment. The old cliché, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” still holds true today.

Manage your time. Showing that you have good time management earns the confidence and trust among peers and your boss. Keep an up-to-date diary of meetings and priorities, so you are clear on your daily focus.

Take on a new hobby. Try something new. You are only young once and it can also be a great conversation starter in the office!

Go the extra mile. Go above and beyond your job scope and surprise your boss and colleagues by helping out even when it is not expected of you. It shows your commitment.

Stop a bad habit, start a good one. Don’t make a New Year resolution; make a lifestyle change. Choose to stop one bad habit and replace it with a good one.

Be a self-starter. Be prepared to work hard, exceed expectations and seize every opportunity. You will build a reputation for success and delivering results.

Deliver on promises. This will earn you the confidence of peers and bosses and ensure they support your advancement in your career.

Benchmark yourself. Evaluate yourself against others in the industry. Speak to an industry specialist such as a headhunter to gain industry comparisons and an impartial opinion on your personal development plans.

Take an interest in your peers. Remembering a colleague’s birthday or anniversary shows you take a personal interest in your work colleagues and can go a long way in building trust in your team.

Steer clear of office politics. Know the inner workings of your office politics but do not get involved in them. It’s important to know how to get things done, but taking part in gossip will get you nowhere. 

Relax and take care of your health. While it is important to work hard, it is also important to get sufficient exercise and be able to relax. You will feel refreshed and more motivated at work.