When Christmas and the end of the year approaches, we usually reflect on the past year and think about how we can make the next year even better. Here are some tips that help me prepare for a smashing new year at work.
Reflect on the past year
Sounds obvious, right? But it is an important step to making the next year even a better one. Take some time and answer the below five questions:
- What have I achieved at work this year?what impact have I made on my company, what has improved because of me?
- Have I shared my achievements with my boss/team/company? What did they appreciate the most/ Why did I not share?
- What goals did I not achieve? Are they still relevant for the next year?
- What did I learn?
- have I build good relationships at work? Who with?
Having a moment of reflection can help you feel more satisfied with the year you had. We do tend to keep going, especially if we’re high achievers, and never stop to reflect on what we have already accomplished. This can lead to low satisfaction with your work and feeling a lack of accomplishment.
If with the year-end approaching you think that you haven’t done anything meaningful, think of yourself a year ago and go month by month on what you have achieved and how you have improved. You will be surprised how many things have changed and how far you have come. Give yourself pat on the back, relax and celebrate all these amazing achievements.
When thinking about the year ahead, try to make your goals realistic. You don’t need to go through the whole SMART goal framework, but just focus on what feels realistic to achieve. Are you working towards a pay rise? This is a realistic goal, even if you don’t know right now how to ask for it. You can sign up for the waitlist for my ‘Asking for a pay rise made easy’ course next year and we can figure out together the best way for you to ‘pop the question’.
Did you know that Christmas can literally give you a heart attack? The study that discovered this has listed the ‘increased emotional stress as one of the reasons behind it. So it is even more important to focus on your wellbeing this time of year.
Furthermore, if you let yourself rest, you will come back to the office more energized and full of energy to tackle the year ahead. Again, yes, this is a staple, everyone tells you to relax, but how do you relax with all that has been going on for the past two years?
As someone who suffers from anxiety, I can absolutely relate. It is hard to relax if you have a billion racing thoughts in the back of your head and very often you’re not even sure what those thoughts are! All you know is that you constantly feel tense.
My recipe for calm is to set boundaries and find a quiet space for yourself. I have been known to often go on 2-3 days holidays all by myself. This has been my alone time to recharge. Since the pandemic started, I wasn’t of course able to do it (especially with the added stress of traveling and millions of tests needed to be done). So this year I have sent myself on a staycation. I have rented an Airbnb 20 min walk from my house to enjoy some alone time, no responsibilities, and an endless supply of ice cream. I have used this time to meditate, do yoga, read, and write (and re-watch the first season of The Witcher). Of course, I could do all this at home, but the added comfort of being completely alone, let me relax properly and be ready to tackle a 3 day Christmas marathon with family and friends.
You don’t need to leave your house if you don’t want to – it is a great option though if interactions with others interfere with your rest. Let me know in the comments, what is your ultimate way to relax.
Think about the future
If you have reflected on the past, using the 5 questions in this article, you can think about the future in the same pattern:
- What is important for me?
- What do I want to focus on?
- What do I want to achieve?
- What do I want to learn?
- Who can support me to achieve my goals
Although some of these questions sound very similar, you will quickly discover that reflecting on them will give you various answers and let you expand your thinking.
Let me show you my own example:
- What is important for me?
I have learned this year that what is really important for me is the time I get to spend with my loved ones. This may seemingly feel disconnected from my work goals, but it will actually influence how I think and act in my role.
2. What do I want to focus on?
I want to focus on myself and my growth. I want to prepare myself for anything that may come my way in terms of work. The current world situation makes anyone’s job very unstable, so I want to make sure that if I am forced out of mine, I will have plenty of knowledge and experience to use for any new role that may come my way.
3. What do I want to achieve?
I want to create a great work-life balance, where I get to work on projects important to my company while learning new concepts and trying them out and at the same time still have enough energy and time to spend with my loved ones.
4. What do I want to learn?
I want to learn new skills or grow an existing one to help me stay relevant in the job market. My interests revolve around: communication, project management, and coaching. Given what’s important for me, what’s my focus, and what I want to achieve, I will probably choose project management as this fits the best with my goals.
5. Who can support me to achieve my goals?
Getting my boss on my side that project management training would be beneficial to my role, can help me receive free training on a very good level. I might also leverage any connections in the company with our actual Project Managers to learn from them.
I hope the above shows you how I got to the final conclusion to focus on project management next year. Of course, I still need to build my actual company goals into it but I know what my guiding principles are now and for every project, I will deliver going forward, I will be focusing on applying the right project management techniques to make sure I can practice them in real life.
Let me know in the comments if this helped you prepare for the new year.