How to keep momentum when you're not feeling it


How are your professional resolutions holding up?

It’s mid-February, so it’s about that time of year—the holiday fun that crescendos into well-intentioned resolve around the New Year is, for me at least, threatening to fizzle into total silence. So what if you wanted to pick up a new job-related skill this year? Between recommitting to working out, reconnecting with friends, and Marie Kondo-ing your apartment—versus the siren song of Netflix and Postmates on cozy dark evenings—reenergizing your work life beyond the call of duty is an easy target to miss.

This theme came up at the Mentor Method and Femme & Fortune’s Focus & Hustle happy hour and panel on January 31. As the panelists gracefully talked about how they stay motivated beyond January, I was duly reminded about the plans for my development, personal and professional, that I had made for this year and promptly proceeded to ignore. (Full disclosure, I consider myself a little yogic in this practice and set general intentions rather than prescriptive goals. That being said, “being more present” isn’t necessarily going to teach me Python, so there’s room for both styles.) My ultimate takeaway was, regardless of whether your resolutions are thematic or specific, honoring your commitments to yourself is both important and doable. And if your drive isn’t 100 percent internal, a little support, be it an app, an accountability buddy, or a long-term schedule, can help you add new accomplishments to your LinkedIn all year.

Here are some things I’m doing to stay on track:

Set up a quarterly check-in meeting with a mentor figure and a weekly check-in with a trusted friend. It’s easier to stay accountable for my goals if someone other than myself knows about them. I’m hoping that big picture conversations with a mentor figure and more frequent chats with a friend keep me connected to my personal and professional wish list.

Reassess my goals mid-year or bi-monthly. If I haven’t devoted any time to learning a particular skill, it might not be a priority right now. That’s okay; sometimes you have to revisit things in the future. Having that information frees me up for pursuits I’m more excited about and helps me manage my time.

Bullet journal and use my Evernote app. I’m a recent convert to bullet journaling (read more here), and I’m finding that the process of carrying unfinished tasks into the next day’s entry is helping me notice patterns in my behavior. What do I do in the evenings that’s keeping me from getting to spin class before work and meeting a particular goal? Try it!

Read my newsletters. This one might seem a little obvious, but it’s so much easier to start achieving your goals if information about relevant events and resources is coming to you. For example, I don’t have to invent the wheel (read: get intimidated by starting from scratch) to expand my network in D.C.—bulletins from my alumnae association, organizations, and local news sources already provide me with details on events or opportunities I might be interested in.

So, readers, how do you stay committed to your resolutions? What tools do you have at your disposal? Do you use specific programs to map your goals or have singular plans in mind: learn to code, go to that networking event (seriously, do it), volunteer more, or update your resume regularly? If you haven’t made any plans yet, there’s good news: it’s not too late. Setting and maintaining resolutions doesn’t have to be anchored around the New Year. Any time is a good time to reconnect with your goals. I’m recommitting to myself, and I invite you to join me.

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As a communications professional and lover of words, Priyanka is committed to helping people find their voices. She’s a studio fitness enthusiast and aspires to one day owning a first edition Edith Wharton.

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