December 31, 2018

Professional Development

Set Intentional Professional Development Goals for 2019

By: Leah Nalepa

I readily admit that I love new year’s resolutions. This time of year feels like a fresh start from the nearly two months of holiday preparations and celebrations and the year we leave behind. However, when it comes to resolutions, the reality remains that most of us fall off the resolution bandwagon by the end of January.

Last year, I decided to overcome this mentality by catering to my inherent individual needs for professional and personal development. As a goal-oriented person, I arranged my “resolutions” into accomplishable goals that could eventually be completed and turn into habits. This year, I plan to do the same.

In our ever-changing economy, careers are incredibly dynamic. If you’re still stuck on choosing the right resolution or goal for 2019, consider incorporating the following into your daily, monthly, and yearly routines to build up your skills and prepare yourself for your next career step.

Enroll in a college or online course
Take on the life-long learner mentality and enroll in a new course. If you are looking for a specific topic or to enhance your degree, jumpstart 2019 with a new class, in-person or online. Depending on the certification (Google Analytics, Salesforce, etc.) you can add it to your resume too!

Get involved in a networking group
The people we associate with either elevate or take away from our personal brands. Consider those who you surround yourself with. There are numerous opportunities to engage in networking through Facebook groups, professional networking happy hours, and organizations that meet on a weekly or monthly basis. Check out a local AF chapter to get started!

Embrace your inner leadership potential
If you are looking to polish your leadership skills, lead more meetings or ask for additional stretch projects that provide the opportunity for growth this year. Perhaps you’ve thought about a managerial role. Speak with your supervisor about areas to grow into this type of responsibility.

Consider giving your time and talents to an organization you’re passionate about. Not only does volunteering with others bring inner fulfillment, but volunteering in various positions can increase skills that may be leveraged in other areas, including your career.

Read one professional book a month (or every quarter if you’re that busy)
This is a classic, yet infrequently followed resolution. Whether you enjoy reading about leadership, learning how to grow your business, or want to perfect time management at work, there are a multitude of professional development and growth books to absorb this year to become a better version of you.

Some of my favorites include:
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins

You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched their Careers by Alex Banayan.

Institute a morning and evening routine
Establishing a morning routine as part of my 2018 new year’s resolutions has changed my life, especially now that I work remotely. It helps keep my goals in mind at the beginning of the day, gives me a space to meditate and pray in the morning, and stay away from any electronics and email in the first half hour of my day. Positive routines are a great way to get the day started or unwind from a long day before going to bed.

Some of my 2019 professional and personal new year’s resolutions include breaking my alarm snooze habit (to jumpstart my morning routine!), saving $1,000/month for my wedding, expanding my business skill set through various online courses, and plotting out my 2019 and 2020 international and domestic travel plans. I can’t wait to get started!

Where will 2019 take you?