It’s the start of the new year, so, if you’re like most people, you’ve set some form of goal or resolution for well-being that you can achieve in the next 12 months. Perhaps you’re committed to living a healthier lifestyle, connecting with family more often, or reducing your consumption of anxiety-provoking news stories. Unfortunately, research shows that fewer than 10% of people remain committed to their goal after a few months. There are many reasons for why we abandon our goals despite our good intentions. At times, we set goals that are unrealistic, or they don’t show us returns fast enough to boost motivation. Other times, external factors make our plans impossible (like traveling more in 2020).
The pandemic forced us to change in so many ways last year. While some of us adapted to working from home, supporting our children’s’ online learning, and struggling to stay connected with our friends, others faced far more challenging hardships. Death of loved ones, job losses, and mental health struggles will have a long-term impact on everyone touched by tragedy. And while the start of the new year doesn’t erase the past, it is an opportunity to set our intentions towards something new and positive.
We spent most of 2020 reacting to the changes happening around us. We adjusted our behaviors to cope with stay-at-home orders and increased self-isolation. Frankly, the situation hasn’t changed. We’re at a higher risk of Covid-19 infection now than we were at the start of the pandemic, but we have an opportunity to take a different perspective. After 10 months of adjusting, we have identified new ways of working and have settled into our current reality. Now it’s time for something new.
It’s time to make this year about you.
You cannot control the path the pandemic will take, how well the economy will fare, or when life will return to normal. But you can control your own self-development. Many of us picked up new hobbies during the early stages of the pandemic. Whether you started baking, hiking, or painting, you picked up a new skill that was a helpful distraction from the world around us. That provided a much needed mental health buffer, but it’s time to go deeper. What self-development activity will help you accelerate your career growth? Where are you now and where do you want to be in the next 2 years? Examine which skills will have the greatest impact on your career path, and then commit to a plan that will boost those skills over the next 12 months.
If you’re working from home now, take the time you previously spent on your commute to build your skill-set. Block out time in your calendar that is devoted to fulfilling your own self-development commitments. Be bold and connect with others who have similar goals. Become a community of like-minded professionals who will hold one another accountable throughout the journey. Regardless of which personal skill you choose to develop, the key is to set milestones, review progress, and stay committed.
Make your own self-development the one thing you can control in 2021, and know that when you end the year you will be in a better place than where you began.