As 2023 comes to an end and 2024 begins, how do you feel about your career and your work/life balance? Whether things are going well or could use some improvement, you could be feeling stuck in a rut. There is good news, however—you can welcome the new year with fresh energy to face challenges. You might even want to challenge yourself!
Below, we will discuss four ways you can prepare now for the best twelve months of your career yet. Get ready to set some goals and work to obtain them.
Make a Career Change
If you’re bored with your current job, seeking a less stressful work environment, or simply dreaming of passions you didn’t pursue, it may be time to consider making a career change.
If you need additional education or a degree in order to make your career change a reality, you can start applying to colleges now. Most schools begin second-semester classes in early to mid-January. By applying now, you may be able to fill any student vacancies they still have and hit the ground running in the new year.
It may be that you have the background you need and you simply want a fresh start or a different position in your field. The new year, as it turns out, brings with it the best months to look for a job. January and February are peak hiring months in countless industries.
Start your job search now and begin applying promptly. Your job application will be waiting when the company’s decision-makers return from their year-end holidays.
If you miss the January/February window, don’t despair. March, April, and May are also good months to look for a job.
Pick a Skill to Focus On
Did you know? Continuing education throughout one’s career leads to higher overall satisfaction. So if you’re feeling in a rut at work, learning something new may be the solution.
What should you study? Consider both your interests and skills that would be helpful in your career. You might choose soft skills, such as negotiation skills, or hard skills like learning a new language or mastering the accounting software your company uses.
What if you identify more than one skill you want to work on? If you spread your efforts too thin, you may not quickly see results, and this can be discouraging. Try focusing on just one skill at a time. When you see your advancement, your self-confidence will grow. You may add in a second course of study later when you’ve become proficient in the first.
Strike Out on Your Own
Have you been dreaming of starting your own business? Maybe you want to take your schedule into your own hands by becoming a freelancer. A new year is also a good time to embark on an entrepreneurial journey. Why?
Bookkeeping is simplified when you have a “clean” start date of January 1. In this way, you won’t have to close out books, file tax returns, or file with additional government agencies for a partial year of business. You can often file business registration documents in advance, listing January 1 as the “effective date” of your business and its documentation. This helps avoid delays caused by an influx of registrations after the turn of the year.
Set Boundaries for a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Many people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or exercise more in order to have better health. It is also a good time to evaluate how your work/life balance is affecting your mental and physical health.
You might decide the set a few simple goals, such as bringing healthy meals for lunch, taking a walk during your break, or setting aside some time for mindfulness. As with learning new skills above, enact only one of these changes at a time. After it becomes a habit, you can work on the next one.
You may also identify work/life balance issues that you need to address with your boss—changing your schedule, working less overtime, or dealing with an unruly workmate, for example. The gateway to a new year can be a good time to do so. Before doing so, identify the problem that needs to be addressed. Think about the employer’s perspective, and suggest solutions that can benefit you both.
The coming of a new year is always an exciting time. Instead of your ordinary New Year’s resolutions, you can get started today on tasks that will advance your career and enhance your work/life balance. If you need a change of pace, consider making a career change, starting your own business, or focusing on your work/life balance. If you’re in need of a challenge, continue your education or cultivate a new skill.
When you set goals such as these and work towards them, you will soon flourish.
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