How to set your New Year’s work resolutions (and stick to them!)

We all head into 2016 with resolutions to get fit, lose weight and earn a promotion. But by February, most of our goals will be forgotten in a haze of despondency. Here’s how to stick to your work resolutions and make them a reality.

Start small

Despite having a break over the festive season, many of us return to work feeling unexcited about the year ahead. One way to keep your spirits high is to set achievable work goals and don’t expect to tick all the boxes in your first week back. Plan for the long term, but take small steps at a time. If you set smaller, more attainable goals, you’re more likely to achieve them and feel like they are worth keeping.

According to psychologists, a big part of the reason people let their resolutions fall by the wayside at week two is because they don’t feel like they’re achievable. Why have them if the goal posts are miles away? Set realistic objectives and you’ll feel positive and motivated about working your way to the final destination. If, for example, you have a goal of moving into management this year but are unsure how to get there, set a smaller goal of meeting one person every fortnight who can help you reach your management dream.

Set specific work goals

Identify what you want to accomplish at work in the year ahead. Whether it’s learning a new skill, taking on new projects or even finding a new job, make a plan for how you intend to make it happen, and stick to the plan with realistic goals in place.


Scan through your routine work tasks and assess your personal return on investment for each one. Perhaps there are tasks that are really worth your while and others that you could delegate without noticing the loss. Of course in the real world it’s not always easy to reallocate work, but if there are tasks you believe are a waste of your time, formulate a case as to why it would be beneficial for another colleague to take them on and present the argument to your boss.

Learn something new

There’s nothing more empowering than learning. Gaining knowledge will pay you back in spades, so book into that course or degree and add to your skill set. You may also meet some interesting people who could turn into business colleagues, customers or friends. No time to make it happen? Return to the previous point – delegate.

Give something back

Pay forward the good fortune you’ve received in your life and do something just for the sake of being kind. Whether it’s working for a charity that resonates with your values, joining a not-for-profit as a board member, becoming a mentor or volunteer at your local school or donating some of your money. The sense of fulfilment you achieve through giving will brighten your outlook and help with your own life purpose.

Improve your work-life balance

Be realistic when determining your resolutions – do you really have enough time to make them happen? Perhaps you need to make changes in other parts of your life in order to free up some time. Think through the compromises and sacrifices you may need to make before diving in head-first.

To make your new year work resolutions come to life, it’s essential to set an overall goal with smaller milestone objectives. Usually it’s the learning you do through the smaller objectives that leads to you to reaching the overall goal.

What New Year's resolutions have you committed to in 2016?

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