New Year’s resolutions for the workplace

Published: Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, December 30, 2011 at 10:51 a.m.

If we work for a living, then it’s not an exaggeration to say that most of life happens at work. After all, we spend more waking hours there than at home. We interact more often with folks at work than with members of our own family.

So, let’s agree we should be just as thoughtful about work-related New Year’s resolutions as we are about those personal ones, like eating more veggies and getting exercise. Here’s my mix of resolutions ranging from selfish and pragmatic, to idealistic and hopeful:

It’s OK to want more: In the last couple of years, we’ve gotten the message that we should feel lucky just to have a job. There’s even a workplace e-card that sarcastically jokes: “Having a job is the new raise.” I say, enough of that. Don’t limit your aspirations with fear or guilt. Opportunities are returning, so look around and don’t postpone your dreams.

Assume the best about others: We have opinions about the people we work with, and often for good reason. We’re fairly certain who can be counted on, who will be late, who promises but doesn’t deliver and who will gossip about us.

In spite of that, try giving everyone around you a fresh start; even if your old opinions are soon confirmed, sometimes people will pleasantly surprise you.

Have a plan B: Don’t become complacent, even if your work situation is stable and satisfactory. Anticipate what’s around the corner. Stay informed and connect with the company and industry grapevine. Keep emotional and financial reserves for the unexpected. Constant change and reorganizations are the new normal.

Let go of 2011 baggage: Don’t let last year’s disappointments, regrets or grudges bleed over into the new year. Take advantage of that sense of possibility that a crisp new planner promises, and use it. If you dread going to work, detest your boss or feel trapped, then look for another job or learn a new skill; whatever it takes to change the channel.

New Year’s resolutions provide a great opportunity to assert that the past is not the future, and that right now is the best time to reboot, reset and restart.

Eva Del Rio is a human resources consultant and business owner. Send questions to

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