Setting Yourself Up for Career Success in the New Year

By Lisa Savage | Dec 13, 2021

The end of the year is a time to pause, reflect and set goals for the New Year. As we shift from one season to another, we often reflect on our goals and plans for the New Year. For many, that means new career resolutions.

We have all made abstract resolutions in the past and let them slip away. This year, I want us to break the cycle by making concrete and attainable goals for the New Year. Here are some tips to set yourself up for career success in 2022:

1.Be comfortable taking risks and stepping outside of your comfort zone:

Think about your career – where do you want to be in the next few weeks, months, or years? What is getting in the way of your achieving this success? When we start to think about our dreams and aspirations, we can easily be dissuaded by fear. Whether you’re thinking of starting your own business, making a major career transition, or turning your side-hustle into your main hustle, we all have doubts and hesitations. Part of having career success is about knowing how to get out of your own way. In my case that has included hosting a workshop for early-career professionals; launching my private practice, and hosting a training on how to support underrepresented identities in the workplace.

These experiences are not to simply discuss my accomplishments, but to share that these are moments where I stepped outside of my comfort zone and tried something new.

2. Try to Maintain your professional relationships and expand your network:

We have all attended several professional development trainings, workshops, or even sat on panels and networked with colleagues in the field. What happens after we gain a contact? How do we maintain the relationship and keep the momentum going?

First, we can always say ‘thank you’. Whether it is a quick message on LinkedIn or through a thoughtful e-mail, showing appreciation is always a kind gesture. You can also let people in your network know that you are thinking of them. If you read an article that aligns with their area of expertise, you can share it with them. With the New Year coming up, it can be a perfect time to send a Happy New Year message and send positive wishes for the year ahead.

Oftentimes, these small gestures can be the perfect opportunity to let folks know about your career goals and gain support. Do whatever works best for you but make sure that it is genuine.

3. Take time to focus on your strengths (we all have them):

Let’s face it — it’s a lot easier to focus on what we don’t have, rather than what we do. However, part of career success is having a growth mindset. Consider the professional year you’ve had — What would you say is your biggest accomplishment? What achievement are you most proud of? This is also a perfect time to ask for feedback. Reach out to your trusted colleagues, mentors, or sponsors. Pay attention to how they describe you and your positive traits. Think about the aspects of work that you receive the most compliments on and determine how you can leverage that for future opportunities.

4. Invest in yourself

Invest in yourself by putting funds towards increasing your professional development. Consider attending a conference — virtual or in-person — to learn about new topics in the field and network with colleagues. Conferences are the perfect way to get excited about the work we do. After attending, send a quick Thank You note to the speaker or add the conference to your resume or LinkedIn profile to demonstrate your learning priorities.

Take an online course or work towards a new certification. These are perfect ways to enhance your knowledge in a specific area within the field and can help you be a well-rounded professional. Recently, I earned the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certification from the University of South Florida. It was online, self-paced, and budget-friendly. Now more than ever, organizations are making certifications and online courses accessible — especially if it focuses on diversity.

No matter what investment you choose, it is always important to take our professional development into our own hands and a great way to maintain a professional presence.

5. Maintain a work-life Balance alignment
Feeling burnout is no joke. It is especially hard when you love the work you do and are motivated to reach your goals. No matter how passionate you are about self-improvement, it is important to take breaks to avoid feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. You can do this by leaning on friends/family for support; taking a vacation, or practicing mindfulness to help slow things down. Remember that to reach our goals at a high and sustained level, we must maintain our mental health and well-being for the long term.

In short, reflect on your career goals for the upcoming year and consider incorporating these tips into your strategy. Professional growth doesn’t happen overnight, but if you are career-minded and believe in self-improvement, you will make progress. There is something about sharing your goals and aspirations with others that enhances our commitment, so let’s keep the conversation going. I look forward to hearing about your ambitions for the New Year and can’t wait to see you shine.

About The Author
Fatim Lelenta is a higher education professional with experience in various departments which include Career Development and the Wellness/Counseling Centers. She works at NYU, is a member of the Graduate Career Consortium, National Career Development Association and a part of the NACE Mentorship Program and has a license in Mental Health Counseling from New York State. She can be contacted at


Lisa Savage

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