This is the perfect time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions, but instead of focusing on the typical ones, trying to lose weight or eat healthier, consider career resolutions and set goals and plans for how to make them a reality.


A good way to start is by buying a journal or notebook and writing down a list of career goals. A career is more than a job, it is the industry or skill sets each person has achieved through education or experience. Career goals are the big-ticket items you want to achieve that will help you not just in your current role, but help you expand your vocational skills.

If you are having trouble starting, here are a few simple examples of career goals:

  • Find a better paying job with better benefits
  • Get a salary increase
  • Join a carpool to improve my commute
  • Volunteer for an organization that will improve my professional network
  • Learn a new skill that will broaden my value
  • Improve public speaking ability

Once you establish some new career goals, work out a plan of action and timeline to achieve them.


New Year’s career resolutions may include taking a career inventory. This involves looking at your current career and employment situation and figuring out a few things. For example:

  • Am I in the right field? If not, how and when will I make a change?
  • Does my current career challenge and stimulate me?
  • What would it take for me to change careers at this stage of my life?
  • Is my current job right for me, or would I be more successful if I considered another one?
  • Should I get a career coach to help me figure out what my options are?
  • How long should I stay in my current job before looking at making a change?
  • Is there a company or business that would let me do a trial run in a different career?


Once you’ve been in the workforce for a few decades, you look back on the moment you finally knew you’d gotten where you needed to be in your career.

It isn’t as easy to look ahead and figure out when that will happen. But, if you set a timeline, it is best to be as honest and realistic as possible when doing so, you may be able to get a better idea of what to expect.

There are a few things to consider when planning a timeline. Here are a few examples:

  • How long will it take me to get to the mid-level of my career? How long until I reach senior-level?
  • What steps, if any, can I take to speed up the process?
  • Should I change companies to advance more quickly, or stay and take my chances?
  • Is going back to school going to improve my chances or set me back?
  • When is the best time in my career to start a family?
  • Will moving to a less competitive area increase my chances of advancing sooner?


Setting career resolutions is a positive first step towards planning for the future of your career, and by charting career planning and timelines, you can navigate more easily to where you want to be, and when you can hope to get there.

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Diana M. Rodriguez is a native Washingtonian who works as a professional freelance writer, commentator, and blogger; as well as a public affairs, website content and social media manager for the Department of Defense.