With the start of a brand new year ahead, now is the perfect time to think about drafting a New Year’s to-do list for your career and a new career beginning.
Here are five professional New Year’s resolutions you should set in 2018:
- Pursue a Healthy Lifestyle
Most people vow to shed weight and get fit seconds after the ball drops, signifying the start of a new year. According to various studies, the average American gains between one to two pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. One way to adopt a healthy lifestyle year-round is to join your colleagues in a fitness challenge or accountability program. For example, University of California (UC) employees participate in the Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge. In fact, several UC campuses offer employees fitness classes in kickboxing, Pilates, spinning, and yoga, as well as wellness accountability programs to keep you on track.
Physical and mental health goes hand-in-hand. Set aside time for yourself every day to take part in a hobby unrelated to work that makes you happy – whether it’s a creative or technical pursuit. Make sure to give your body and mind the time it needs to rest. Exercising, relaxing, and sleeping for seven to eight hours every night will help you do better on the job and enjoy your life more.
- Focus on Professional Development
Here’s your chance to start off 2018 with a clean slate in the workplace. Employees often resolve in a new year that they would like to improve working relationships with their team members, become an influential leader, or take their communication ability to the next level. This year, begin by developing effective listening skills. By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate.
Put your freshly honed listening skills to the test by learning something new. UC supports employees who want to further their education by offering discounts on university classes through UC Online Education. The Employee Tuition Discount Pilot Program offers a 33 percent discount on UC Online courses to full- and part-time UC faculty and staff members.
A majority of UC Extension courses in Los Angeles and Riverside are designed for the professional-level student. Some of the popular corporate programs at UCLA Extension include international business, computers and information systems, engineering and technical management, business and management, and leadership and supervisory skills.
Interested in a career in Human Resources? Learn how to get HR experience here.
- Expand Your Network
As time passes, it’s easy to lose touch with former colleagues and mentors. If you’ve been thinking about reconnecting with someone from your professional past, look them up on LinkedIn. If you attended a UC campus or worked for UC in the past, UC’s LinkedIn page is one starting point. Other ways to become an active LinkedIn member include updating your status frequently, share and comment on connections, and send an invitation to connect with one person each week outside your existing LinkedIn network.
Aim to connect with people beyond social media, and embrace face-to-face networking opportunities. Venture outside your comfort zone and attend monthly meetings and gatherings. Put industry-specific conferences and seminars on your agenda at the beginning of 2018. There, you can make new valuable connections like business experts, leaders and prospects, while staying up-to-date on trends in your industry. Don’t forget to bring business cards – they are still relevant in the digital age.
- Become Technology Savvy
Perhaps 2018 is the year you become a tech-savvy person – where you can use technology with confidence, ease, and minimal frustration. Ask for a new technology gadget as a holiday gift, and make it your mission to become proficient with it during the year.
Programming is one of the most valuable skills you can pick up – whether it’s for your career or to challenge your mind. Some coding languages that are beginner-friendly include C, C#, HTML, Java, Perl, Ruby and Python.
Since many UCPath Center employees operate on PeopleSoft, aim to become more proficient on the platform. PeopleSoft uses the following coding languages:
- Structured Query Reports (SQR): mainly used for reporting, data manipulation and verification
- PeopleCode: used to customize panels in the application
- COBOL: archaic language used in PeopleSoft’s payroll process
Strive to learn something new from the internet every single day – it’s important to develop a broad understanding of the world. Read a news story about a topic you normally do not gravitate toward. Pick up or download some business books. Seek out podcasts, TED talks, documentaries and language courses online.
- Plan for the Future
One of the most important decisions you can make for yourself in the New Year is to start saving for your future. It pays to budget for retirement now rather than later. If you’ve never enrolled in an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan before, UC suggests beginning with either the UC 403(b) Plan and/or the UC 457(b) Plan. You pay no taxes on your contributions to these plans until you withdraw from them. The key difference between the two plans is how and when you can access your money.
Other retirement options outside of a pension include a 401(k), a profit-sharing plan that allows employees to contribute a portion of their wages to individual accounts. Benefits of a 401(k) include that your contributions may result in tax savings, your employer may match the amount you contribute, and the money can be taken directly out of your paycheck.
Meanwhile, a Roth IRA is an independent individual retirement account that you can set up directly with an investment firm. If you decide to withdraw your earnings from a Roth IRA tax and penalty free, you must be over 59½ years old. Investors also need to wait five years before making withdrawals.
New Year’s professional resolutions can help you become a better employee, and make you more creative, productive and generally more content at work. Make every effort to continue learning and improving, no matter what stage you are at in your career.