Plant laptop

As January progresses, the Christmas break can soon start to feel like a distant memory and any benefit of the holiday season or change in routine can diminish pretty quickly. However, the first month of 2016 presents a great opportunity to shake things up a little and create energy by drafting or renewing your plans on the sparkling, fresh page of the new year. What better time to outline some adventurous and exciting proposals for you, your career and your business?

So, resolve that in the first few days of January, you’ll prioritise some time to take stock and do a bit personal plotting for the twelve months ahead. Plan for success - then at the end of next year, you can look back satisfied that you’ve accomplished (mostly!) what you set out to achieve.

Book a meeting with yourself; grab an hour and a coffee and take the opportunity to go through the following process:

  • Goal setting: Ask yourself “Where do I want to get to any why?” Write down salary, job title, job role, the amount of hours or time you want to put to it and the type of lifestyle it will give you. Think broadly. Perhaps your goal is to devote more time to study, a hobby or personal project which will aid a career transition or enable you to feel more fulfilled in your current role? Rather than trying to achieve all your goals at once, be realistic and spread them across the year.
  • Planning: For each personal goal, work through and write strategies for getting there. Book time in your calendar for these goals and carve out the space and opportunity to tackle them with as much diligence as you would do any work-based project assigned to you.
  • Rewarding: For each goal met, write down how you will reward yourself e.g. a night out, a new gadget, a weekend break, a theatre trip, designer clothes - whatever works for you! If your plans align with what your company wants, then think about how you’d like your employer to reward and recognise you. There’s more chance of this actually happening if you can be realistic and articulate what will spur you on.
  • Visualising: Visualise your most successful moments and career highlights. Make a list of your strongest skills and one area to develop. Make an action list for your development goal but, remember, you’re entitled to have weaknesses and make mistakes - you’re human! Be realistic about what needs developing and recognise that seeking perfection can be the enemy of progress.
  • Persona: Personal pride and feeling great about yourself is an important element of success. Which successful role models do you most admire? What aspects of their professional persona do you respect and why? How do they look, speak, stand and dress when they are at their most effective? What aspects of this persona could you incorporate and make work for you? Rather than going for a total overhaul, analyse the key visual components of these powerful personae and adopt some as your own. Picture the best possible version of yourself and keep that image in your head as you plan.
  • Support: Enlist a close friend or partner / family member to support your personal plan and encourage you along the way. If you’re serious about truly realising your potential, think about engaging a professional coach or enlisting a senior colleague as a mentor. Perhaps you can “pay-it- forward” and coach or mentor someone that you know would benefit too. The giving and receiving of supportive, constructive feedback nurtures growth and sharing what you’ve learned along the way is pretty much guaranteed to deliver a strong sense of personal and professional fulfilment - at any time of the year!
By Anne Allen, Head of People and Experience at Xero