As we take down the holiday lights, carefully put away that new sweater we may never wear, take stock of just how tight our jeans have become and discard the last of the now-stale holiday cookies, we can’t help but look back and reflect on the previous year. When we think about all of the memorable moments, we begin to get excited for the adventures that lie ahead and inevitably start planning how to make the next year even better.  Enter: New Year’s resolutions!

Each year we resolve to spend more time with family, to exercise more, to stop and smell the roses and so on.  Though these are all noble resolutions, one area that often gets left out is your resolutions for the year ahead in terms of your career. Even if you have already given up on your initial resolution, there is no time like the present to kickstart your career goals.

Here are a few workplace-related New Year’s resolutions to get you started:

1. Networking.  Whether you are still in school, are just starting out in a career or are an established professional, networking is vital. It can be hard to figure out just what networking means as it is such a broad and general term.  Networking can be as simple as getting outside of your department and creating a rapport with someone within your organization you don’t normally interact with.  Building a reputation as a friendly and well-liked employee can sometimes be just as important as being known as the hard-working employee.  Outside of your organization, take the time to go to community events.  Not only will you meet people you wouldn’t normally meet, it can also be a nice excuse to get off the couch and go do something fun. (Are you a current student, alumni, faculty or staff of the Opus College of Business? If so, join our Linked In group to start your networking.)

2. Take care of yourself. The scope of this resolution goes well beyond your career.  Taking the time to get enough rest, to eat right and to exercise will have an impact on all aspects of your life. At work, there are small things you can do to make sure you are treating yourself right.  If you sit a lot, remember to get up and walk around.  Take advantage of those fifteen minute breaks nobody ever seems to take.  Additionally, remember to drink plenty of water.  Especially if you are consuming a lot of coffee during the day.

3. Organize your space. Take the time to clean out old paperwork, discard your non-functioning pens and pencils, cleanse your desktop and phone and take stock of how your drawers are organized.  If something isn’t working for you or is messy – change it.  It will feel good to start the new year with an organized and clean desk.

4. Learn a  new skill.  Learning something new stimulates your brain and can provide an invigorating pick-me-up that breaks up your routine.  When was the last time you did something totally new? If it’s been a while, now’s the time.

5. Lastly, I’ll provide a resolution that is especially important to the UST MBA program – strive to be an ethical employee.  Ask yourself if you like how you behave in the workplace.  Do you try to weigh all the options to make the right choice rather than just the easy choice?  A great leader is someone that others can look up to; someone who makes thoughtful and respectable decisions and leads with conviction and authority.  This may not be the easiest of resolutions to follow, but may, in fact, be the most important.