ARE you thinking about making a fresh beginning in the new year?
Before you do anything, take some time to reflect on what was good or not so good at work over the past 12 months.
Only after that can you ask yourself what you can do to make 2008 a year of career advancement, job enrichment and work performance satisfaction.
The following ideas might provide a good starting point for crafting your own career resolutions for the new year.
1. I will widen my network: Each month, find a way to meet half a dozen new people.
Are there professional associations you can join?
Also try to find time to reconnect with existing contacts.
By the end of 2008, you should have made plenty of new connections and sustained important relationships with ongoing networking and communication.
If you work diligently on this strategy, you will accomplish your resolution.
2. I will update my resume: Never let your resume become outdated. Allocate time every three months to update your resume to include recent projects, new accomplishments, educational courses which you have completed, technology skills you have picked up and professional affiliations you have made.
Review, critique and assess whether your resume will position you effectively in the employment marketplace.
Be sure to review your resume critically at least twice a year to make sure it stays focused on your career aspirations.
You will then be ready to welcome the opportunity when it comes knocking.
Plan well and 2008 could be the year you make a major career transition.
3. I will have a better work-life balance: This could mean a career shift to a part-time or flexible work schedule.
If you are responsible for housekeeping, this may involve paying someone to take care of household chores, dining as a family more regularly, or changing jobs to work in an environment that is more accepting of your personal requirements.
The key is to define what is most important to you and to take steps that will help make your goal of work-life balance a reality.
4. I will take control of my performance: Since your boss or manager generally only recalls your performance from the few months prior to a review, it is up to you to keep track of your accomplishments across the entire year.
To do this, spend five to 10 minutes at the end of each week or month writing down what you have worked on, what you have learnt and how you have contributed to the success of your group, department and organisation.
You will be prepared with plenty of examples when it is time for your next performance review.
5. I will find a mentor or become one: A mentor can play a critical role in advancing someone's career. Whom you seek out depends on what you want.
A mentor inside your organisation might be able to help you navigate the office politics and link you to the informal networks that get you ahead.
By contrast, a mentor outside your organisation can be a truly impartial adviser who has your best interests at heart without interference from organisational politics.
You can also share your experiences with others by volunteering to be a mentor, perhaps to junior co-workers, recent alumni of your university or polytechnic, or people looking to break into your field.
6. I will learn more: Develop new work-related skills, try new hobbies and, generally, stimulate your mind and heart with learning.
Push yourself to try something new.
Going back to take that diploma or degree through evening classes or distance learning could be an important move to get ahead. Always be committed to growing your career.
Set goals carefully
Some say New Year resolutions are a waste of time as they are nothing more than a long list of "should-dos" that people never take seriously anyway.
Make your New Year resolutions for 2008 different.
Take the time to plan them carefully. A long list of resolutions will set you up for failure. Think carefully about what you would like to change.
Be brutally honest with yourself. Your goals should be achievable and realistic.
After you set them, the rest is really up to you.
You will have to think positive, be disciplined and committed so that you can say, "I did", rather than "I should have", when the end of next year rolls around.