New Year Career Resolutions: Write a letter of self-appreciation and find your North Star

By Black Women Be Like (@BlackWomenBLike)

In the first two parts of a four part series Black Women Be Like gives some great advice for making the best of our careers this year.

Vanguard Content BlackWomenBeLike

These posts were originally published by Black Women Be Like in this post.

On Career Resolutions for the New Year: [Part 1]  Celebrate the Year Past: Write Yourself a Letter of Self-Appreciation

It is easy to celebrate a new year. A new year is a clean canvas of 365 days, each with its own promise. Promises of days when we’ll wake up two hours earlier than usual for work, days when we’ll eat less, exercise more and shrink belly fat, and days when we’ll be more assertive in our careers…it is an endless list of resolutions.

Essentially, we treat a new year as a celebration of a person we have not yet become and an opportunity to erase the person we have been for the past 365 days. And on this premise, we draw up New Years Resolutions and goals.

But trying to build goals on the shortcomings of the previous year is a recipe for failure. And it can lead to starting the year on a negative note, remembering all the bad things about ourselves that we desperately want to change.

So this New Year #2015, a new approach is to build on the successes of the year past to let your brain know that a new year and its resolutions are an opportunity to extend personal growth.

Take time out to write yourself a letter of appreciation. Address it to yourself and everything! In the letter, write down all the things you love about yourself.

Most importantly, identify big and small goals that you achieved in the past year. With each goal, identify the processes you used to achieve those goals. Also identify personality traits or systems you applied, that you feel lead to you achieving those goals.

As black women, we may not always get the appreciation we deserve in the workplace. And where we are running the show, we may not have the time to reflect on the year past in appreciation of our hard work.

You may have started a business last year, which took a risk on your part and perseverance to believe in what you wanted to realise. So you can already appreciate your risk appetite and go-getter attitude.

You may have lost 1kg after a month of trying an exercise routine you found on the internet. So showing initiative and being able to implement a plan, are some traits you can appreciate about yourself from that.

Avoid writing down disappointments and failures in your letter of appreciation.

Once you have identified your unique traits that have helped you achieve goals in the past, write these down as the things about yourself that you already have and exhibit that will help you achieve your new resolutions and goals.

Concentrate your efforts in the new year on strengthening and growing these traits that have pushed you forward previously, because the will be the qualities about you that will help you achieve a number of resolutions and goals long in the future.


On Career Resolutions for the New Year: [Part 2] Follow YOUR North Star this New Year #2015

For many of us, resolutions are a natural rite of passage into a new year. While some people are peer-pressured into thinking that something magical happens between December 31, #2014 and January 01, #2015

But do the reasons matter? Striving for personal growth, driven by the very tangible feeling of a new start, can only be a good thing, no matter what the reasons…right?

Not quite, particularly when it comes to our careers. It is important to have a visual of where our New Years Resolutions and goals fit in with our long terms plans and to have a clear understanding of why each goal is personally important. We can easily find ourselves pursuing missions because they are on the resolution lists of peers we look up to or envy.

And as women, who are also more likely to suffer from impostor syndrome and constantly want to prove ourselves in a male dominated world, we may draw up a list of resolutions and goals in the excitement of a new year, that we really have no commitment to. This can lead us to failure, and build a self-resentment that ties the failure to our abilities in any future projects we may want to go for.

Pursuing someone else’s resolution, and convincing yourself that it is in fact our own, is a recipe for failure. That is why it is important to identify your North Star; that one thing that you desire to achieve before the end of your life. If you are not a crazy Type A personality planner, this could be a goal long term goal you would like to achieve in the next 3-10 years.

Tying our New Years resolutions to deep desires that can only be achieved years from the January of a New Year, is a way to commit our minds and actions to that New Year’s resolution or goal.

It also helps us frame failures better in the journey to achieving the goal. A slip up on a New Year’s resolution that is only tied to the current year on the promise of a brand new 365 days may seem monumental. But a slip up on a New Year’s resolution that is likely to lead you closer to a goal you want to realise in 3-10 years or at the end of your life, is more of a pothole. And if we hit it, we simply park ourselves on the side, take a time out to change the tyre and get back on the road to healthy and long term success again.

Catch the rest of the series on Black Women Be Like’s Facebook page and look out for their radio/podcasts coming soon.

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