Career Success in 2019: How to Turn Dreams into Goals and Results

Part 3 of 4 in a special series of SHRM's 'Your Career Q&A' columns

By Martin Yate January 22, 2019
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Best-selling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR. Contact him at the e-mail address at the end of this column.

For the past two weeks, my columns have addressed how to turn your New Year's resolutions into reality and how to think about and implement a more businesslike approach to managing your career. I've encouraged you to approach these challenges in the same organized, methodical way that a corporation does—but as Me Inc., of which you are the CEO and major stakeholder.

Now it's time to discuss your career resolutions for 2019. Recall past professional goals and ask how many did you achieve? For most people the answer is just a few. If you want different outcomes for this year's resolutions and goals, then you'll likely need to change some behaviors. Commit to your own best interests. Focus time and effort on your own future.

There are two things you need to do:

  • Steal time and invest it in yourself.
  • Save money and stop seeking instant gratification. 

Here's how these two tactics support your success.

TV Zombies, Streaming Junkies and Social Media Obsessives

A 2018 Nielsen report revealed that adults in the United States spend more than 11 hours each day consuming content on TVs, smartphones, radios, computers and tablets. This means that every day for more than half our waking hours, we are not engaged in working toward a secure future for ourselves or using time in our own best interests. How about redirecting some of that time toward yourself, your future and a life lived on your terms?

If you took just 30 minutes four nights a week to advance the interests of Me Inc., taking concrete action―just tiny steps forward―on any of your goals, you would see real progress. Why? Thirty minutes four times a week is two hours per week, or more than 100 hours per year—the equivalent of two workweeks invested in your future well-being. You can advance your core professional career, develop an entrepreneurial side gig or pursue some crazy dream just for the joy it gives you.

However you use that time, you'll reap real rewards. Long ago, I did something like this every day for two years, and it resulted in my first book being published―and I've received a royalty check every quarter for more than 30 years. If I can do it, then you can, too. You will never know unless you start committing time to pursuing your dreams and goals. 

Live Up to Your Dreams, Not Your Income

As we spend all those hours each day looking at screens, we expose ourselves to thousands of advertisements, a constant bombardment that encourages us to instantly gratify wants and needs we didn't even know we had until we saw those ads. If we spend our income on things we probably don't need, we sacrifice our long-term financial security and lose focus on our goals.

Don't let the temptation of shiny, new, status-enhancing purchases distract you from what you do need: an investment in a secure future. Too often the resulting debt traps you into living paycheck to paycheck. It's never too late to replace a bad habit with a good one. Why not take a new approach that puts you back in control of your life?

Was this article useful? SHRM offers thousands of tools, templates and other exclusive member benefits, including compliance updates, sample policies, HR expert advice, education discounts, a growing online member community and much more. Join/Renew Now and let SHRM help you work smarter. 

Packed with practical, honest, real-world guidance for successfully navigating common HR career challenges, Martin Yate's new book The HR Career Guide: Great Answers to Tough Career Questions is available at the SHRMStore. Order your copy today!

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