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5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Ready to Shine in 2020
Woman reading magazine
Career Growth

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Ready to Shine in 2020

Do you know what date it is? Or rather, what month? The midway mark of 2019 has already come and gone — and we’re getting closer and closer to 2020.

Though it’s important to live in the moment in most situations, when it comes to your career, thinking ahead is beneficial. In fact, leadership development and career expert Elizabeth Whittaker-Walker says many professionals feel a variety of emotions as they star down the second-half of the year.

“Most people find themselves shocked that so much of the year has gone by,” says Whittaker-Walker. “For some, the thought of the coming seasons and new opportunities on the horizon are exciting. Others are met with anxiety, as it may feel like there’s not enough time to get all of the things done that have not yet been accomplished.”

The good news? There is still plenty of time to set yourself for success in the coming year by rolling up your sleeves and getting started ASAP.

Here's what you can do to prep for 2020 now:

1. Review your goals -- short and long-term


The most strategic executives are highly skilled at setting goals. Not just the ones they can meet in the immediate future, but also the ones that push them to stay focused for the long haul.

Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D., an industrial-organizational psychology practitioner and workplace expert says it’s important to check-in with yourself on how you’re tracking.

“Are your everyday activities helping you to accomplish your short-term goals? Are you making important business connections and working on meaningful projects? It is important to ensure that daily activities help you to accomplish short-term goals, and that short-term goals lead to accomplishment of broader, larger goals and objectives,” she explains.

She also stresses that it’s okay to change directions and shift your deadlines. In other words: maybe what you wanted in the long-term six months ago isn’t what’s on your mind today.

“Make adjustments, as needed, based on where you see yourself in one, five, and ten years. Ensure that short- and long-term goals align,” she recommends.

It can be helpful to write down goals with good old fashioned pen and paper, and then hang them in a place you can see them. This helps motivate you and keep you working toward something larger than the day-to-day grind.

2. Nurture relationships

When you think back on the last few months, it may seem like a blur of meetings, emails, travel and conversations. This makes pinpointing specific memories difficult, and can cause you to forget just how many people you’ve met this year.

Whittaker-Walker says most professionals would be surprised by the vast amount of networking that goes unnoticed or continued. Consider this your wake-up call to check in.

“If there are a few folks in your contacts list that you haven’t spoken with lately, this is a great time to reach out and check-in,” she continues. “Perhaps someone is changing jobs, launching a new role, or in need of a listening ear. Use this season to catch-up, reconnect, and nurture the relationships that help you stay grounded, inspired, motivated and sharp.” 

3. Request a planning meeting with your boss

When you think about the next year — do you see yourself staying at the same job? If so, do you want a raise? A promotion? A lateral shift — or a complete pivot?

Whatever your intentions, Hakim suggests setting up a meeting with your manager now. This not only shows how much you value your job and how committed your are to the company, but it’ll give you a head start on your colleagues, who don’t think about planning their futures until it’s review season.

“If you are interested in remaining with your organization in 2020, take initiative and ask your boss how you may best be of help as you wrap-up 2019,” Hakim explains. “Don’t be shy to mention some top projects you’d like to lead or a new goal you’d like to hit next quarter or next year.”

If you have been browsing through job openings lately because you’ve felt less than stoked about your current gig, Whittaker-Walker suggests using this as motivation to dive into your own description. Especially if you have been at your company for many years, your roles and responsibilities may have shifted dramatically and significantly – without reward or recognition. “Does your title adequately speak to the nature of your work? Are you meeting objectives? Are there opportunities to explore untapped functions of your role? Is it still aligned to your purpose? These are great questions to ask yourself when revisiting your job description,” she explains. 

If you discover you’re performing above and beyond, you definitely don’t need to wait until review season to ask for the extra money or title you’ve earned. “Discuss any variances you experience with your manager. Your thoroughness could position you for a title change, promotion, or special recognition for stretch roles you’ve taken on,” she says. “It could also help you understand points of dissatisfaction in your work and give you the clarity you need to explore a change.”

4. Invest in yourself


There’s a difference between being comfortable in your position and being complacent. If you can’t remember the last time you gave any thought to your LinkedIn profile, your resume or your skill set, you now have a solid five months to invest in… yourself.

Hakim suggests joining a professional organization, taking a virtual course, brushing up your personal brand and other career-oriented activities that will have you soaring ahead, instead of sitting pretty.

5. Reflect on lessons learned

Rather than giving into the Sunday scaries, pour yourself a glass of something bubbly while the sunshine is still out and think about your accomplishments. Your lessons. Your achievements.

With a solid hour to really dive deep into your internal wisdom and to celebrate your progresses, Whittaker-Walker says you’ll gain valuable insights.

“A lot can happen in 6-months, but sometimes life moves so fast that we don’t take time to reflect on all we’ve learned,” she explains. “Maybe you learned some new ways to approach communication with a particular colleague. You may have even learned that a midweek workout can make the difference between a stressful and easy work week. Take note of your discoveries and think about ways you can apply these lessons with intention as you move into the new year.”

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