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New year’s resolutions and job search

“The new year stands before us like a chapter in a book waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” (Melody Beattie, Author)

What are your new year’s resolutions as we rapidly approach 2016 and farewell 2015?

The origins of new year’s resolutions goes back to Roman times, where the first month of the new year – January – is named after Janus, the two-faced god who looked backwards to the old year and forward to the new year. It was during this time over 2,000 years ago that new year’s resolutions began. Resolutions were more of a moral flavour, such as being good to others (For more information see

According to a survey done by Sydney radio station 2DayFM in recent years, the top 10 new year’s resolutions are:

  1. Spend more time with family

  2. Fall in love

  3. Help others with their dreams (which goes to show not much has changed in 2,000 years!)

  4. Quit smoking

  5. Learn something exciting

  6. Stay fit and healthy

  7. Enjoy life to the fullest

  8. Spend less and save more

  9. Become more organised

  10. Lose weight.

Most if not all of these resolutions can be impacted by a successful job search. Looking for a role with work-life balance allows us to spend more time with family and loved ones; leading and inspiring others may help others to achieve their (professional) dreams; not being able to smoke at work keeps us healthier; learning new skills and having a higher salary to save more complement each of these resolutions! What’s more, in a recent Google survey, 18% of people met their significant other at work, so you can even enhance your chances of falling in love in 2016!

If you are between jobs or thinking about changing jobs, then the new year is a time when such thoughts are brought even more into focus. Like Janus, we put the old year behind us and look to the new year as a fresh beginning…

If you are working, you need to think about ‘why’ you want to change. What’s not working out in your current role or company? All of us need to think about exactly ‘what’ it is we’d like to do. To do this, think about the skills you have (and perhaps skills gaps that need to be filled); what you like doing (e.g. Project work, technology, managing) as well as your values and how they relate to the organisation (and manager) you’d like to work for. For example, if lifestyle is a key value, you should look for an organisation and role that avoids excessive travel or working lots of overtime. In short, think about what you can do, what you like doing and your values when deciding on your next role. Of course, this takes some time and effort and like any new year’s resolution requires a first – and most important – step…It may be as simple as taking time to focus on what you’d like to do, updating your resume, reconnecting with your network or even engaging a career coach to help…

Is 2016 going to be a repeat of 2015 or a new beginning on many fronts including work? It’s entirely up to you. In the same survey conducted by 2DayFM, they found that 48% of Australians make new year’s resolutions, but only 6% are successful in achieving them…Not a particularly good strike rate! To improve the odds of success – and as suggested by Beattie earlier – write down your goals (resolutions) with associated timelines (e.g. Update resume by 31 January) and put them somewhere visible so that you can keep track of progress. At work we are driven by our KPIs and objectives, so why can’t we apply the same rigour to our own personal and professional planning?

Good luck with your resolutions for 2016!

For any help with job search, see my website at or contact me directly by clicking here. You may also be interested in my book, ‘Fired to Hired, The Guide to Effective Job Search for the Over 40s’ which was recently published and is full of practical, no-nonsense job search tips for mature workers. You can purchase the book from this link or directly from Amazon or Booktopia among others.

The Career Medic – Taking the worry out of job search for the over 40s

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