With the onset of a new decade, many of us will begin the new year by setting resolutions for the year ahead. Resolutions can apply to both our personal and professional lives, but how can we ensure that the year ahead is both meaningful and valuable?
With the ever-evolving pace of technology, exchange of information and pace of life in general, it’s easy to set ourselves up for failure with goals or objectives that may feel achievable to begin with – but can later prove to be too ambitious.
With the majority of our daily lives spent working, how can we plan our goals so that the year ahead is one that creates positive impact and change? Here are five considerations to help make your 2020 count.

Identify your career goals

Like any seasoned professional, it’s important to regularly ask yourself where you want your professional career to take you within the short, medium and long term? While your priorities and aspirations may evolve over time or even take an unexpected new direction, the new year can be an opportunity for positive change.  
At Ricoh, employees work closely with their managers and Human Resources to identify their short, medium and long-term career goals. Ricoh’s Performance Management (RPM) and Individual Development Plans (IDPs), encourages employees to identify where they want their career to take them along with the tools, systems or training that can support them in doing so.

Take the stop-start approach

The new year (whether it be the calendar or fiscal year) is a great opportunity to stop, assess and identify what has worked for you in the past year and what could work for the year ahead. Are there any processes or work habits in the past year that have not delivered positive results or proved inefficient? If this is the case, then it’s time to let them go and explore other avenues in making your professional life more effective.
How you can begin and embrace change for your professional self? This can be as simple as joining a professional association, signing up for new training or even expanding your skillset into new areas.
It can also mean applying a new approach to your workstyle so that your strengths can be utilized, and your weaknesses developed. At Ricoh, employees use a strengths-based talent tool called StandOut on a weekly basis. StandOut helps employees identify their strengths which leads to more fulfilling work.

Work more efficiently

We all believe we can work more efficiently but how many of us actually put this into practice? The definition of efficiency can mean different things to different people and this is largely dependent on an individual’s role within an organization.
In our daily work lives, what are the processes or tasks that are unnecessarily consuming too much of our time? Think about how technology can support and automate your responsibilities to make your work life more efficient while producing valuable results.

Strive for a healthier work-life balance

Achieving a healthier work-life balance has largely been driven by the popularity of flexible or remote working conditions. Shifts in the digital workplace have allowed individuals to strive for a better balance between their professional and personal responsibilities.
A study by Harvard Business Review1 found that flexible working conditions positively impacted employee performance for working parents alongside increased job satisfaction and decreased stress.
With this in mind, consider how your remote working conditions can be developed so that you can achieve a healthier work-life balance. At Ricoh, employees are regularly encouraged and educated to utilize technologies that allow them to work anytime, anyplace. The focus on health and well-being is further supported with regular communications on Ergonomic practices to reduce discomfort while increasing efficiency and productivity.
Check in regularly
As the year progresses, remember to periodically revisit your goals to check your progress and to modify your areas of focus accordingly. Remember, your goals are not set in stone and can shift direction according to circumstances that may arise.
While many of us start the new year with good intentions (not everyone sets themselves resolutions), our focus should not necessarily be geared towards setting ourselves specific or quantitative goals. By doing so, we open ourselves to measuring how far away we are from the results we want (and even failure).  Instead, setting progress-based goals allows us to recognize our achievements along the way and identify areas for personal development and improvement.
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1https://hbr.org/2018/11/helping-remote-workers-avoid-loneliness-and-burnout