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10 Job Resolutions to Make in 2023

Building skills and taking vacation time can boost your career in the new year

spinner image a person writings 2023 goals in a notepad

As the new year looms like a blank slate full of possibilities, it’s common for people to think about resolutions. And while a 2022 Statista survey found that the most popular resolutions include becoming healthier, increasing personal fulfillment, and losing weight, career and job goals came in at number 4 on the list.

​If you’re thinking about making some job-related resolutions for the new year, here are 10 to consider.

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1. Revisit your goals

Think about what you want to accomplish next. Your goals may have changed over the past year — or few years. Executive coach Irina Cozma suggests spending some time thinking about the direction you’re heading. As you think about what you want to achieve and the steps you’ll need to take to do so, you may even want to come up with a defining “word of the year” to keep you focused. “What word comes to mind as you reflect on your goals for next year? Instead of remembering your list of goals, it is easier to anchor your actions in one word that encompasses the majority of your goals,” she says.

2. Appreciate your experience

It’s no secret that age discrimination is a factor for people over age 50 in the workforce. But career coach Dawid Wiacek says that, sometimes, mature workers reflect that bias when they talk about themselves. “They internalize [the bias],” he says. That may come across in a person’s confidence level or language when they talk about themselves. “That will completely impact how we show up on a Zoom interview or recruiter screening, or an in-person interview and networking situation.” Focus on your worth and experience, so the fear of age-related bias doesn’t undermine your efforts.

3. Maximize your employee benefits

Employers spend a great deal of time and money offering employee benefits to attract the best workers and keep them engaged. But a recent survey by Voya Financial found that many employees don’t understand how to maximize those benefits — and they could be leaving valuable perks unused as a result. Ensure that you’re maximizing any employer match on your 401(k) plan. Check in with your HR department to make sure you’re aware of all of your benefits. Resources like financial counseling, tuition reimbursement and mental health services can all be valuable.

4. Ask for help

Resolve to ask for the things you need to succeed, says leadership coach Darcy Eikenberg, author of Red Cape Rescue: Save Your Career Without Leaving Your Job. “If you need a different schedule, or if the work has evolved where it's not what you were your best and highest use, ask for what you need,” she says. Those needs could range from needing to reconfigure your workspace so it’s more productive to getting additional training in an area you wish to learn. “Sometimes those asks, they feel big to us, but they're not that big,” she says. It’s in your employer’s best interest to have you performing at your best.

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5. Take your vacation time

Similarly, if you’re part of the 55 percent of Americans who don’t use all of their paid time off, according to research by career website Zippia, resolve to change that. Taking a vacation — especially one where you go somewhere — can deliver a number of benefits, like better relationships, emotional well-being and better health, as well as greater productivity at work, research by AARP Travel found.

6. Reconnect with your networks

The network of contacts you’ve grown over the course of your career can be important for everything from finding information to landing a new job. But 2021 research published by the American Sociological Association found that our networks shrank by an average of 16 percent during the pandemic. Make a resolution to reconnect with current and former colleagues, contacts, and coworkers.

In addition to reconnecting with existing contacts, Cozma suggests creating or joining new communities, which could open doors. “While you can do many things yourself, things are easier when others push you in the same direction,” she says.

7. Let go of some smaller tasks

For people in the middle or later stages of their career, Eikenberg says, it’s time to “drop some balls.” In other words, look at the low-value tasks or work you’re doing and find ways to delegate or otherwise reduce that part of your work. “Our day can get so cluttered with things that don't always matter that we start to lose sight of what does matter. And then that can become a self-perpetuating cycle of getting burned out, or getting pulled down,” she says. Work on freeing up that time so you can devote it to pursuing new goals or career avenues.

8. Invest in new job skills

“You might think you need to learn new skills only if you want a promotion or to advance your career. But these days you need to learn new skills even if you want to just stay in the same role and level,” Cozma says. Prioritize your own learning and development, using resources available to you through your work as well as free or low-cost online learning options like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, AARP Skills Builder, or the options your professional associations provide.

9. Get coached up

If you’re feeling stuck in your career or ready to make a big change, a career coach might offer help and insights that can help you find direction, Wiacek says. But he is quick to caution against hiring the first coach you find; due diligence is essential. Interview several coaches and look for those who understand you and your work and with whom you have chemistry. You might be somebody who works well with specific structure or guidance, or you might be better off with somebody who's all about mindset and energy and confidence and attitude,” he says. Ask about their process and ensure that you feel comfortable before signing up for sessions. Checking a few references is a good idea too.

10. Celebrate your wins along the way

If you’re a goal-oriented person, you may always be looking forward. But Eikenberg urges her clients to appreciate their achievements and celebrate wins along the way. “Often, in the moment, we don't recognize the things we're doing that we can celebrate, because we talk ourselves out of it,” she says. Resolve to enjoy your achievements at the time they happen, which can keep you motivated to achieve even bigger goals. She says it’s even a good idea to write down your daily accomplishments and “wins” to keep you focused on all that’s going right. “People sometimes don't trust how they feel, but feelings lead to actions,” she says. When you can connect with more positive feelings, you may find it easier to keep going when times get tough.

Gwen Moran is a contributing writer for AARP who specializes in business and finance. Her work has appeared in many leading business publications and websites, including Entrepreneur, Kiplinger, Newsweek, and The Los Angeles Times Magazine.

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