New Year’s Resolutions for Engineers (and anyone!)

(This article comes to us from Katherine at One STEM For All.)

It’s a new year, which for many people means making resolutions.  A lot of those resolutions are abandoned by the time February rolls around, so what can we do to make them stick?  For me, a few things come to mind – make it reasonable, break it down into manageable steps, and make it about ourselves.

The first and most important is making it reasonable.  As engineers, we are inherently founded in logic, so it would make sense that we would make reasonable goals.  However, I believe we are also the ones who push the limits and probably fall into the overachiever category.  The overachiever wants to lose 50 pounds, work out every day, make home cooked meals for their family every night, be the PTA mom, soccer coach, get a promotion at work and head up the major projects.  It’s too much.  If you are inclined to make resolutions make no more than one resolution in your personal life and one resolution in your professional life.  If you have one resolution than it is your guiding force and something you can really focus on.  You are much more likely to stick to and accomplish that one goal, than to try for 20 different goals and not achieve any of them.

Now you have your one personal and one professional goal for 2018 and you are ready to get started, but how do you start?  You need to break it down into pieces and set milestones for yourself along the way.  If your goal is to become a marathon runner, but you’ve never run in your life, you wouldn’t go try to run 26.2 miles on the first day – you must build up slowly.  The same is true for all big goals.  Try setting aside some time and brainstorming the things you need to do to get to that result.  If you are aiming for a promotion at work, try to break down the steps you need to get to that promotion and set yourself weekly goals that push you towards that.  If there are 50 steps to getting something done, it will seem much easier if you have one thing to do each week, than if you sit down on day one and worry about getting all 50 done at once.

Lastly, you want to make the goal about yourself and something you want to do for YOU!  So many times, as women we worry about everyone else before ourselves, and at the end of the day, there is nothing left for us.  Make 2018 the year that you put yourself first – it really is okay!  It will make you a better employee, a better mom, a better wife, and a better friend if you have taken the time to focus on yourself first.  It sounds counterintuitive, but you must do that things that make you happy.  If there is something that you want to achieve professionally, but your company isn’t behind you – do it anyway!  Get a certification or attend a conference or try out that new idea.  You don’t have to wait for someone to tell you to do it – just get it done.  And personally, make sure that you do something that you want to do just because you want to and not because of someone else’s expectation of you.  You want to help out at your kid’s school because your kids love it? Great!  You only help because you feel pressured to help?  Not so great!  Make time for the one thing that you really love and make everything else work around it.

Get ready for a re-energized, focused and fun 2018!  I am always excited about a new year, a clean slate, and a chance to really grow both professionally and personally.  So, what are your goals for 2018?  I would love to hear what you have in store for the new year!