How to Do a New Year’s Career Check-in


Soon, we will embark on a new calendar year—and a new decade. It’s a time of new beginnings, new possibilities. Hopefulness is in the air. Checking in with yourself through intentional reflection and planning at the start of the year will help set you up to win in 2020.  Consider these three reasons why you want to invest time and energy in this process now.

Aligning goals, direction, priorities

Gone are the days of an annual performance process, when one-year objectives were handed down from boss to employee, with little discussion about performance during the year, and little change in direction or priorities.

We now operate in an environment of constant change and increasing levels of uncertainty, and we need to pivot to meet changing external and internal demands. It is more important than ever that you have a reliable way of learning, understanding and aligning with your company’s evolving priorities and your part in achieving them.

The annual performance management process is being replaced in many organizations by regular, informal coaching and goal-setting conversations between manager and employee, or with other leaders in the business. Take the time to consider who are the best people to support your progress and development in your organization, including your direct boss, your boss’s boss, and other peers. The start of the year is a good time to create this practice if it is not something you currently engage in. Create a regular rhythm (daily, weekly, bi-weekly) for these discussions, and get them into your calendar.

Understanding what is important for you, personally and professionally

Equally important as knowing the direction and priorities of your business is having a clear picture of what your own goals, hopes and intentions are for the year. You have the greatest chance of living a life you love if you know what you want and then make choices every day that move you in that direction. Consider some of these questions.

Reflecting on 2019

  • What successes are you celebrating (insights, accomplishments, learning, highlights, milestones, breakthroughs)?
  • What challenges, disappointments or frustrations helped you grow in 2019?
  • What acknowledgment can you give yourself about 2019?
  • What was your biggest discovery about yourself this year?
  • What were you most grateful for in 2019?
  • What worked in 2019 that you want to maintain next year?
  • What was the enemy of your progress this year?
  • What activity made time fly the most this year? What was a waste of your time?
  • What truly satisfied you this year?
  • Whose lives did you touch?

Creating a compelling future for 2020

  • What wants to be set in motion for 2020 and what change will you invite?
  • What is a loose end from 2019 to incorporate into your intentions for 2020?
  • How will your own core values be authentically expressed in 2020?
  • What do you want to welcome in as a new beginning in 2020?
  • What is an empowering place to start the new year from?
  • What are you willing to commit to?
  • How will you risk becoming more real and alive in 2020?
  • What is next for your life in 2020 and how can you consciously create what you want?
  • Where do you want to stretch yourself in the new year?
  • What boundaries must you establish so that you are effective and fulfilled in 2020?
  • What is naturally emerging that may not seem like a logical choice but could be pursued in 2020?
  • What else is important to consider?

From here, you can consider your goals for 2020 and the conversations you want to have with colleagues, friends and family to support you in achieving these goals. What will success look like? Speaking at a TEDx event? Taking on a big stretch goal? Reducing the time spent at work? Running the Boston Marathon? Changing roles, organizations, industries? Remember, you can live a life that truly reflects who you are by first knowing what is most important to you. A new year and a new decade is a powerful time to begin that process.

Put yourself in the driver’s seat

By owning the process of ensuring you are continuously aligned with company direction, and by you understanding your own values, goals and priorities, you put yourself in the powerful place of being responsible for your success. You are empowered to own your career and to make requests and choices that support you. You get to be on the court of your life rather than an observer in the stands. Ultimately, your development and your career is up to you. Be ready for it.

What better way to set yourself up to thrive in this new decade than by making a commitment to yourself. If you see your learning, growth and performance far down your own priority list, or a nice-to-do, I would invite you to reconsider. No one else is going to drive your career.

From there, I suggest blocking off regular chunks of time in your calendar for these conversations and activities. With the start of a new year comes a great opportunity to create new habits. You have 168 hours in each week. Get intentional with how you will best use those hours.

Above all, consider your own intentions for 2020 and what kind of leader, colleague and human being you want to be. What impact do you want to have? How do you want people to remember you at the end of this year? Create your practices from that vision. Behaviors become habits. Habits become practices. Practices become who you are.

May this be your best year yet!

Rochelle Davidson

Rochelle is blessed to be a wife, sister, dog-mom, obsessed cyclist, world traveler and cancer survivor. Rochelle is the founder and Chief Embolden Officer of Rochelle Davidson Coaching & Consulting. As a certified professional coach, Rochelle works with executives and teams to do the sometimes difficult work of getting real in order to work from a place of strength and authenticity. The co-author of Work Freely: Love Your Job, Love Your Life, Rochelle is committed to helping people thrive and find freedom in their careers and life.    

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