Keeping Difficult New Year’s Career Resolutions

Here’s a common career question I get as a career coach and an answer I wrote a couple of years ago at that start of the new year that has helped my clients and ezine readers get clearer about what they need to do.


CAREER QUESTION:  I tend to pick difficult New Year’s resolutions (begin a new career, double the size of my business, make lots more money, meet a romantic partner, lose a zillion pounds) and wind up just dreading them and feeling as if I have failed.  Do you have a creative way to overcome this stuck point, other than just abandoning these kinds of goals?    

ANSWER:   What’s your deeper goal?  If your resolution was to lose weight, is your deeper goal to be healthier?  Then find many ways to meet that goal, not just the one way represented by your specific resolution.   In other words, give yourself many paths for success in getting what you really want, and with the small successes you will feel encouraged to continue as well with the more difficult original resolution.

The idea here is to meet your deeper, underlying desires and needs and not get stuck with something you feel overwhelmed by, as if that’s the only path to fulfilling your desire.  Get more ways to move forward.  With even small successes, you’ll have motivational fuel to get beyond the stuck point of your original, difficult resolution as well. 

Say you want to lose weight.  Ask yourself why?  Maybe it’s to become healthier.  Then find other ways of becoming healthier that may have nothing to do with weight, such as by taking a vacation (reducing stress, improving health) or meditating.  Or by eating healthier, even if you eat the same number of calories and aren’t on a reducing diet.  Don’t drop the specific weight loss goal if you feel it’s important.  Find ways to make that happen too, but add other small (and large) ways to succeed with your deeper desire.   

Or say your resolution is to switch careers.  Ask why you want to switch careers.  Maybe to do something you are more passionate about.  Then think of new ways to enjoy your favorite passions more hours of the week.  If you can’t incorporate, for instance, your passion for the outdoors and hiking into your work, maybe you can take a walk in a park during lunch or before or after work.  If one passion is making fabulous meals, then do that and maybe even get paid, such as catering your friend’s 40th birthday party.  Continue to look for a better career that you might feel passionate about that includes the outdoors and hiking or includes cooking, but with the idea that this is now just one way to meet your larger goal of feeling more passion in your daily life. 

© 2006–2009 Leonard Lang

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