Best of the Rest: Stepping Up Your Game

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You’ve already given up on your New Year’s resolution, haven’t you?

Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve already gone back to your old ways. According to a recent survey, 36 percent of resolutions typically won’t survive the month of January. The bright side? Your gym should stop being over-crowded any day now.

If you and your resolution are still going strong, that’s awesome. If you two have already parted ways, I have good news: Changing things for the better is easier than you think, and you won’t need a whole year to do it. If you wanted to improve your life at work on January 1st, you’ve still got 11 months to make it happen.

The fruits of my never-ending search for job seeker content this time? Ways you can step up your game and make 2014 your best year yet. Let’s start slow and go from there just so we don’t pull anything.

Your desk may be adding to your stress. That’s right – just looking at a clutter desk can trigger your body’s production of stress hormones, even if you don’t consider your job all that stressful. The sooner you tackle those piles of paper on your desk, the happier you’ll be.
5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Reduce Stress at Work via TIME

Lesson: Don’t let your desk go to hell – it may drag you along. Little acts of neatness will help you stay more organized, and you’ve got enough stress in your life.

A resolution to exercise more can actually help your career. If exercising seems like another task to add to an already busy day, there are some major benefits to be aware of: less stress, more confidence, and a better work-life balance. At the very least, you’ll have some time to clear your head.
Your relationship with food affects your work via USA TODAY

Lesson: Don’t give up on that fitness resolution just yet. It’s a great way to rid yourself of work-related stress and be alone with your thoughts. And that reminds me…

Find more time to reflect before you make big decisions. If you’re busy at work, you probably aren’t asking yourself the right questions before you make choices. “The result is decisions that are based more on reflex than on reflection,” writes Liane Davey. “That would be fine if our world was static, but it is not.  Your industry, your competitors, your customers are changing at an unprecedented rate.”
Strengthen Your Strategic Thinking Muscles via Harvard Business Review

Lesson: Doing what you’ve always done can sometimes be a bigger risk than trying something new. “What at first seems like an opportunity might reveal significant risk” and vice versa. Ask a lot of questions and don’t rush the decisions you have to make.

Don’t take negative feedback personally. It’s easy to shrug off constructive criticism when it’s less than positive, but you need to listen carefully and think about what’s being said. Find the truth in the advice that’s being offered up and remember: this feedback isn’t an attack, and it’s meant to help.
Turning negative feedback into an opportunity via Fortune Magazine

Lesson: Negative feedback is basically someone telling you how you can become even more awesome. If you don’t agree with the advice they offer up, don’t get defensive. Actions speak much louder than words here.

Don’t wait for anyone else to set career goals for you. You’ve probably got a few ideas about where you’d like to be this time next year and how you’re going to get there. Not sure what you should focus on this year? Review what you accomplished in 2013, and figure out which wins still matter to you. And there’s a big question you need to ask yourself: “What would I do in my career if I could do anything?”
If You Don’t Design Your Career, Someone Else Will via Huffington Post

Lesson: It’s time to take charge of your career and your professional goals. You’ll move a lot faster and be a lot happier if you don’t wait for anyone else to do it for you.

Focus on the skills you value and how your job allows you to foster them. While I’m sure everyone would love to find meaning in what they do, that’s not always going to happen. Some jobs are just jobs. Instead of “meaning”, let’s focus on personal development and “how the scope of our work allows us to reach our highest potential.”
How to Create Meaning at Work… via strategy+business

Lesson: By taking ownership of your job, focusing on excellent execution, and working with your colleagues to get things done, you can develop the skills you value most.

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