Every year it’s the same. At some point between stuffing yourself with Thanksgiving dinner and opening holiday gifts, you plan your annual New Year’s resolutions. If you’re one of the 41 percent of Americans who usually make them, then you probably know there are few things in life as frustratingly elusive as following through on a New Year’s resolution.
For the young professional, we’ve devised five resolutions to help you become a better professional and a better citizen in 2018 – and even included some tips to make following through a little easier.
Are you looking to boost your mental and physical well being in 2018? Those who volunteer have lower rates of depression and lower mortality rates according the Corporation for National and Community Service. Beyond your own personal health, sharing your time and talents helps to strengthen your community and potentially transform lives. For a list of some local volunteer opportunities visit the YPN Volunteer page.
TIP: Put it on your calendar. Don't wait for a free hour or two to magically appear in your schedule, plan it out. When you treat your resolution as an appointment, you're more likely to follow through.
It’s never too soon to start taking your finances seriously. You should be saving 10 to 15 percent of your income for retirement according to many financial experts. If that sounds out of reach, try taking smaller steps like committing to taking full advantage of your employer’s 401(k) match or paying off specific debts that have been hanging over your head. Canceling subscriptions and setting aside that money for savings is another less painful way to save more in 2018.
TIP: A little goes a long way. Don’t stress if you can’t set aside as much time or resources as you’d originally hoped. Something is better than nothing.
For a resolution that’s sure to make you and the planet happier for years to come, try recycling. When you reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, you’re not only conserving valuable natural resources, but you’re also helping to prevent pollution and sustaining the environment for future generations. For St. Joseph County residents, a mandated curbside recycling program has made it easier than ever to pick up the habit. Visit the St. Joseph County Solid Waste Management website for more details.
TIP: Make SMART goals. When you’re creating your resolutions it’s crucial to make specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals.
Whether you’re looking to get an advantage on your resume or simply want to know a few catchphrases for your next trip abroad, learning a new language is an enriching experience. Acquiring another language builds up brain power, improving your memory and increasing your attention span. Some research even indicated that bilingualism can delay the effects of Alzheimer’s for years. These days there are many digital tools to make learning a new language not only simple, but fun too. Duolingo, a free, fun and science-based language-learning tool is a great place to start.
TIP: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. When working to achieve your resolution, remember that making lasting changes takes time. Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t immediately reach the finish line.
Struggling in what appears to be a dead-end position? There’s nothing like a new year to spark a job search. Commit to finding a company with a culture that aligns with your lifestyle and don’t settle for less. Take small steps like updating your resume, beefing up your presence on LinkedIn and reconnecting with friends in the industry for a start. When your career gives you energy instead of draining you, you’ll know you’ve found the right fit.
TIP: Use the buddy system. The best way to hold yourself accountable to meeting your resolutions is to share your goals. The support of family and friends when you’re trying something new is crucial.