Thinking about making a major career change in 2013? Whether you want to move on up in your department or transition to a job that you actually enjoy, you will be more likely to reach your goals if you resolve to pump up and maintain your motivation this year.
“According to research I conducted with my colleagues at VitalSmarts, 97 percent of employees report they have some career-limiting habit that keeps them from achieving their potential at work,” says Joseph Grenny, co-founder of the corporate training company VitalSmarts and co-author of New York Times bestseller Influencer: The Power to Change Anything.” .
Some of these career-limiting habits that Grenny and his colleagues found include procrastination, negative attitude, "it's not my job" mentality, unreliability, and resistance to change.
It's a brand new year—time for a fresh start.
Grenny also offers five proven career resolutions for those who are serious about cracking down on career-limiting habits this year:
1. Create a personal motivation statement. Without clear, strong motivation, you have no fire under your feet to lift off and keep going toward your goal. Write up a personal motivation statement and keep it readily handy.
Alternatively, you can use a scare tactic. "When you hit a motivational wall while changing your work habits, motivate yourself by visiting your 'default future'—the career you'll have if you are repeatedly passed up for promotion," Grenny says.
2. Invest in professional development. It doesn't have to be a huge investment. Furthering your degree, for instance, is not the only way to invest in yourself. You can actively develop the skills you need to be "viewed as a top performer through training, workshops, or books," Grenny says. Check out professional Meetup events, for instance, to network with others in your field. Resolve to work on your professional-self outside of your normal job routine. "But make sure this is only one part of a bigger change strategy," Grenny suggests.
3. Hang with the hardest workers. Many motivational speakers say that you're the average of the five people you hang out with most. Whether or not you believe in this popular psychology, the fact remains that surrounding yourself with people who are just as ambitious or more than you will help fuel that fire under your feet. "The career-limiting habits that keep you back are likely enabled, tolerated, or encouraged by others," Grenny says.
When you see your friends doing great things, accomplishing great feats becomes more real, more accessible. If they can, why can't you? This year, spend more time with ambitious people and "use positive peer pressure by surrounding yourself with hard-working friends who share your career goals," Grenny says.
4. Find a mentor. "Changing habits requires help," Grenny says. Find someone who is closer to your goal than you are—if not already there. It doesn't have to be a cheesy mentor-mentee relationship. But you might be surprised how many experts out there are willing to lend a hand to folks who are working hard to achieve their goals. Shoot an email to someone who might have the answer you're looking for. Ask specific questions. Did you ever run into this problem? How did you handle it? Remember to express gratitude, and they just might be willing to help you out in the future as well.
5. Put skin in the game. There has to be something at stake for you to maintain momentum. "Reward yourself for reaching short-term goals by placing money at risk," Grenny says. "For example, if you reach your goal you can purchase a reward with the money you set aside."
In the long run, your greater achievements will be worth it.
Corrected on 01/04/2013: A previous version of this post misattributed the quote in the second paragraph. The quote on career-limiting habits should be attributed to Joseph Grenny, co-founder of VitalSmarts.
Ritika Trikha is a writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listings, company reviews, salary information, and a free career happiness assessment.