Jan 16, 2024

New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Stick To

Woman making new year's resolutions

It’s hard to believe we’re already a couple of weeks into January—how are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Are you still holding strong, or have you already fallen off the wagon when it comes to achieving your goals?

If you haven’t been as diligent with your resolutions as you hoped, you aren’t alone. According to research, approximately 23% of Americans quit their resolutions by the end of the first week of January, 43% quit by the end of the month, and a measly 9% even complete them at all. There are many reasons New Year’s resolutions fail, but most can be boiled down to the fact that the goals set were too big to be sustainable. Lasting change, after all, doesn’t happen overnight. Setting a large goal—like learning a new language, losing weight, or earning a promotion—can be an exercise in futility if you don’t know where to start.

When it comes to professional New Year’s resolutions, keeping it simple may have the biggest impact on your career in the coming year. Instead of setting a lofty goal that may be hard to keep or too ambiguous to be attainable, narrow your focus on smaller, sustainable habits that add up in a big way by the time December comes around.

If you’re thinking about climbing back on the horse with a new resolution before January ends, here’s a quick list of six simple New Year’s resolutions you can stick to and add up to positive change by the end of the year.

Take Your Lunch Every Day

Are you guilty of wolfing down your food at your desk, trying to meet a deadline, or getting just a little bit more done on your project before the end of the day? While it can be tempting to skip your lunch break in the name of productivity, it may be counterproductive. There are many benefits of taking enough time away from your desk to eat lunch, including improvements to your health and work performance. Make it your New Year’s resolution to put your work down and step away from your desk to take a lunch break every day, regardless of what you have going on. The time away will reset your brain, allow you to connect with your coworkers, and help you make more mindful choices about your meals.

Commit to a 15-Second Tidy-Up

Many people make it a New Year’s resolution to declutter their life, whether that’s at home, the office, a digital declutter, or a mix of all three. However, trying to tackle all the mess in your life simultaneously can be a recipe for disaster and be very overwhelming. A clean workspace can indeed improve your mental health and your work performance. But if you have packrat tendencies or haven’t cleaned out your email inbox in a few years, trying to achieve that fresh, clean space within a week may not be doable.

Instead, start small by committing to a 15-second tidy-up every day. Delete a few emails at the beginning of your shift. Organize the first folder in your file cabinet and toss papers you don’t need. Remove one thing from the junk drawer in your desk that never seems to stay clean. After you make it a routine, you can commit to these 15-second tidy sessions multiple times a day or extend the time to one minute, five minutes, or 15 minutes. It may not seem like much, but over time, these small habits that involve cleaning up as you go will ensure that your workspace (or even your home) will stay clean without a monumental effort.

Practice Tiny Healthy Habits

Many people attempt to execute health-related New Year’s resolutions, whether it’s losing weight, trying to eat healthier, or getting more exercise. The problem with these goals is that they tend to be too vague or have too many steps, leading to frustration, overwhelm, and backsliding.

If you want to get healthier this year—and improved physical health is also linked to improved mental health and higher job performance—start with small healthy habits that are almost no-brainers. Take the stairs every day instead of the elevator. Park further from the office building so you can get more steps in the parking lot. Swap out one cup of coffee or a can of soda for a bottle of water every day. Pack a piece of fruit for your afternoon snack instead of hitting up the vending machine… Over time, these small habits can snowball into an overall healthier lifestyle, which may include those lofty, vague goals you initially set out to accomplish.

Read One Work-Related Book

Reading more is another common New Year’s resolution. However, many people make the mistake of committing to more reading than they have time for, especially if they want to go from reading zero books in a year to a book per week or month. If you want to read more this year, start small and make it count. Commit to one book that’s relevant to your profession, a book that teaches you a valuable skill, or a book about a relevant player in your industry. Commit to just one, and you may be surprised that you want to pick up another after you turn the last page.

Make a Meaningful Connection

Networking and making professional connections can only help in the long run. However, in the age of hybrid and remote workplaces and endless social media, making real connections can seem more daunting than enticing. Some New Year’s resolutions include making a set number of monthly professional connections, but that might be too much to start with, especially if you’re new to your profession or have a full schedule. Commit instead to making a meaningful connection with someone rather than trying to hit a set number of connections. You can even focus on building a relationship with someone you already know, like your colleague, a client, or even someone at your neighborhood coffee shop. Lasting connections, after all, mean more than increasing your follower count.

Take Back Your Time

It’s no secret that many of us feel more stressed today than ever before. Around 94% of workers report feeling stress at work, and being stretched too thin may play a large role in that shocking statistic. With 24/7 access to email and chat, is it any wonder that many of us are left feeling drained even after work hours are over?

This year, take back your time to improve your mental health and prevent burnout, without making drastic changes. Commit to only checking your email a few times a day or resist the urge to reply to messages after hours. Dedicate at least 30 minutes a week to a hobby or pastime that fills you up outside of your work, whether that be creating something, spending time with family or friends, or spending time doing nothing at all. With so many responsibilities, it may feel as if you don’t have enough time, but giving back to yourself in small increments will help you feel refreshed and leave you better equipped to tackle all the things in your life that demand your attention. Seek to perform acts of self-care throughout your week to fill your cup and be more productive at work.

Is a New Career Your Resolution?

Is your New Year’s resolution a career with a company that invests in your future? Take the first step of your new career and check out our open positions. Voted a Top Workplace for 12 years in a row, LCS may just be the key to achieving your “start a career you love” New Year’s resolution.