5 Ways to Start 2013 the Right Way

New Year’s resolutions are a yearly tradition upheld by few, but planned by many. While we all have gusto for change, I decided to compile a list of ways every girl can start out her year in the right direction.

1. Set Goals and Write Them Down

Saying you want to do something is easy, but accomplishing it isn’t. If there is something you are striving for set a SMART goal and write it down as a reminder, so you are able to hold yourself accountable.

A SMART goal is a simple, but useful, method to create goals. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Any goal you actually want to reach needs to fulfill all of the criteria.

Saying “I want to be healthier” is too vague. How will you ever know when you’ve reached healthier? However, saying “I’m going to work out 4 days a week for 50 minutes each time and will lose 20 pounds at the end of three months” makes it very difficult to lose track of progress.

Write down reminders of why you want to reach your goal in places where you’ll see them to keep up the post New Year motivation. Another important aspect of reaching a goal is having a solid support system. Make sure someone else knows you are trying to reach your goal, so they can keep you on the right path!

2. Build your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the simplest way to build your online presence. Make sure your profile is up-to-date and reflects your experiences in a positive way. It may take some time, but recruiters in every business use LinkedIn. After all, it’s all about who you know.

3. Start Reading Good Books

Not only do they provide great conversation starting material, you can actually learn something! It amazes me how many young professionals don’t read. The amount of knowledge you can learn from experiences of successful people is infinite.

The biggest excuse I hear is that people “don’t have time” to read, but I’m not buying it. Read ten pages every night before bed rather than watching TV, and you’ll have a book read within a month.

Some great books for young business professionals are: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, “All Work, NO Pay” by Lauren Berger, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins or any book written by a successful member of your industry.

4. Take Time to Send a Card

As young professionals we are engrossed in the digital world. But snail mail still exists! (I’m talking to you millennials who have emailed or texted someone in the same room as you.) It is important to show appreciation towards people who have had a positive influence in your life.

The New Year is the perfect excuse to contact a mentor, previous boss or professor. Send a card to someone who has really helped you grow professionally. Express your gratitude and wish them a good year. Managing relationships is very important in the business world. You never know when you may need career advice, a letter of recommendation or a reference.

5. Stay Current

Keep up with current events and issues. It is so easy to read or watch the news in today’s society with smart phone apps and TVs nearly everywhere, so you really have no excuse.

A big concern for Millennial professionals is a lack of ambition. Not in a “don’t want to get out of bed” way, but many people have an impression that our generation doesn’t care enough to do what it takes to achieve successful.

Staying current with news, politics and community events is important to show you care about your future and you go the extra mile to educate yourself.