Zoe Kaplan
Staff Writer & Content Strategist @ Fairygodboss

New year’s resolutions can be a great way to reset and get serious about new things you’d like to accomplish (or old things you didn’t quite get to last year). But often, new year’s resolutions are lofty, nearly impossible-to-reach goals that require effort that interfere with how we can feasibly live our lives — especially when it comes to career goals.

Career goals are a great way to level up your work life or land you your next dream role. But what about career goals that take into account your entire life and personhood in and outside of work? Here are some new year’s career resolutions to help you advance your career — with a little less hustle culture, and a lot more gratitude and wellbeing.

1. Find out when you’re most productive.

One of the keys to work-life balance is working smarter, not harder. This means working more efficiently during times that work with your productivity. 

When are you most productive? It depends on how you define productivity. Are you most productive when you’re checking the most tasks off your to-do list? Or do you define productivity by when your big ideas strike? Define what productivity means to you and schedule your work around when you work best. It’s okay if it’s untraditional or completely different than what you’re used to. In the long run, you’ll feel more accomplished and less overworked when you can nail down what works for you.

2. Do one non-work thing during your workday that brings you joy.

Work doesn’t mean you need to block off all eight or so hours of the workday entirely for work-related tasks. In fact, taking regular breaks can actually be better for your productivity, creativity and mental health.

Find one non-work thing you can do to shake things up and infuse a little more personal happiness into your workdays. Maybe it’s stepping out to get your favorite coffee. Maybe it’s taking 15 minutes to keep knitting the scarf you’re working on. Maybe it’s calling a family member of friend, or cooking your favorite lunch.

3. Form a better relationship with one coworker.

Whether you work in-person or remotely, forming healthy relationships at work is integral to your success within a company. Make it your goal this year to get closer with one (or more!) of your coworkers. Set up a coffee chat or message them about something they’ve talked about in a meeting. Establishing a better relationship will not only make for more harmonious working in the future but also make your experience at work easier and more fun.

4. Fix one “silly thing” a month.

Maybe your desk chair is too high or your “T” key isn’t working on your laptop. Maybe you always have to take an extra step to find that report or document. Make your life easier by fixing one of these “silly things” a month. It’ll make your work life just a little less frustrating, and give your mood a little positive boost.

5. Create a gold star folder.

Nothing’s better than feeling valued and appreciated at work. That’s why you should save your coworkers’ compliments in a special gold star folder. Not only is this a great place to turn when you’re feeling down — it’s also a good source for when you’re applying to new roles or feeling imposter syndrome at a new job. Fill your folder with screenshots, jotted-down quotes and evidence of big accomplishments.

6. Find some regular inspiration.

Work can sometimes feel insulated from the outside world. While this can help you set boundaries, it can also mean that you feel siloed at work or stuck in a company’s traditional ways. This year, find some inspiration in your industry. That could mean following a blog of a thought leader in your industry or signing up for a related newsletter. It could mean connecting with or following someone on social media who posts about your field. Find some simple inspiration you can turn to when you’re feeling stuck or alone.

7. Set one new boundary.

Boundaries benefit both your work and personal life. They’re a great way to level up your career by making sure you’re refreshed and rested when you’re at work; they help your personal life by keeping work where it’s meant to be. Instead of stressing over a set of boundaries that can be hard to keep up with, set one new boundary this year. Maybe it’s having a no-work-device lunch hour or leaving work 30 minutes early each Thursday for a workout class. Being consistent and strict with one boundary can help pave the way for a better work-life balance without the stress and overwhelm of trying to do everything at once.

What’s your no. 1 career resolution this year? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

This article reflects the views of the author and not those of Fairygodboss.