Career Advice | 4 Jan 2019

How to start the year with a positive mindset for career success

Athar JamilDirector & Chief Thinker

I know ‘new year, new you’ can be a little clichéd, but the beginning of the year really is a great time to get into a good mindset.

While I’m a firm believer in setting goals at any time of the year, I must admit that the new year is one of the strongest times to set yourself up for career success.

After all, you’ve more than likely had a nice break over the holiday season and you’ve come back refreshed and ready to organise the year ahead.

If you haven’t already made some New Year’s resolutions to improve your career success, check out a few lessons I learned last year and take part in some ready-made goals.

Once your goals are set up, it’s time to get into a positive mindset that will help you achieve career success.

Recognise your current mindset

In order to create a positive mindset, you will first need to ask yourself what your voice normally says when you approach tasks. When you’re taking on a challenge, does a little voice inside your head say, ‘Are you sure you can do this?’

If you have an occasional negative mindset that plants doubt in your mind about your abilities, the first step to changing that voice of doubt is recognising it.

Start talking back

If the first step is recognising and identifying the voice of doubt, the second step is knowing how to answer back. In order to start nurturing a more positive mindset, you’ll need to directly address the mindset you already have and respond to it. It’s not enough to simply ignore it because while you think you’re not paying it any attention, your subconscious is lapping it up.

When your inner voice tries to plant doubt, have an answer for it. Tell yourself why you can do this. Remind yourself why you shouldn’t doubt your own abilities.

Look at what you’ve learned

A negative mindset is usually a dab hand at throwing previous failures to the forefront of your mind to remind you why you can’t do things, but it’s important for you to realise that it’s quite the opposite.

As part of answering those negative thoughts about failure, you should recognise the mistakes and failures, and acknowledge what you’ve learned from them and how making the mistakes have benefited you in the long run.

Equally, it’s important to reflect on your achievements as well as learn from your mistakes. Before you write down your goals for the year ahead, write down everything you’re proud of doing last year to feed your positive mindset.

Challenge yourself with actions

As the old adage goes, practice makes perfect. Therefore, the best way to exercise your new positive mindset is to challenge yourself. Create goals for yourself throughout the year. There should be a mixture of small, manageable goals and long-term goals that you can spend the entire year chipping away at.

Each of these goals and challenges will be a good exercise for you to fight with your former negative mindset and create a more positive one.

Be flexible with your goals

Not everything will go to plan all the time, but don’t let failures, struggles or knock-backs shake your new positive mindset. Remember what we said about making mistakes? There’s a lesson in everything you do, so don’t let them be an excuse to give up.

Furthermore, if you’ve created arbitrary deadlines, or you’ve realised halfway through that a particular goal is a little unrealistic, move the goalposts. They’re your goals, after all.

Re-evaluate yourself often

Many people can be guilty of waiting for an annual performance review to evaluate their work. As part of your new positive mindset, it’s important to evaluate your own performance often. However, you should not simply be evaluating your performance based on what your employer’s goals are. You should look at your personal goals for career success.

You should also check in with your mindset, your work-life balance and your mental health while you’re at it. Career success is not just about doing well at work.

Be kind to yourself

Self-talk is one of the most important parts of keeping your mindset in a positive space. You started these steps by recognising your own voice and talking back to it in a more positive way. Being kind to yourself is a constant reinforcement of that mindset.

Encourage yourself to do more challenging things that will lead to career success. Reward yourself when things go well. Compliment yourself often for your own hard work and career success.

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