With all resolutions, you’re on fire when January 1 rolls around. You’re at the gym religiously. You only shop the produce aisle at the grocery store. You swear to limit your Starbucks coffee consumption to only one a week. This year will be different. You’re passionate and ready to roll.

Come February…it’s a different story.

What once seemed easy is now a chore.

You start to lose sight of your end goal. The work gets hard. The passion fades.

Your gym bag collects dust. You slowly shift back to old ways and old habits.

Like diet and exercise, career moves often make their way onto New Year’s resolution lists. January is often a prime time for job seekers. Why? For many companies, new budgets go into effect in January. New projects get launched. Current employees move on, leaving job openings behind them.

The winter months can also be an opportune time to make career moves. For you, that might mean searching for a new job or even moving your career down an all new path.

As January wanes, don’t let your career goals hit the doldrums. Follow these tips to keep the passion burning as you make a career move.

  1. Keep your eyes on the prize. Visualization helps. See yourself in the job or career that you love. Make a dream board or journal where you use pictures and words to imagine what your life will be like once you achieve your career goal.
  2. Remind yourself why it matters. Beyond money and recognition, is there a deeper reason why you want to make a career move? You have a young family that you need to support. You have student loans that need to be paid off. You want to move out of your parents’ house or live alone instead of with roommates. Pinpoint the “why” behind your “what” to keep yourself motivated.
  3. Set small goals. Often the problem with resolutions is that they seem so huge. Lose 20 pounds. Stop smoking. Pay down debt. Depending on the size of your problem, the resolution can seem overwhelming. Instead of viewing a new career path as one big task that must be accomplished, break it down into tiny goals. If you want a new type of career, set small weekly goals that move you down that new path. For example, explore courses you could take that would improve your skills in the new area. Set a goal to chat with one person per week who has the job you ultimately want. Brainstorm the small steps you could take and then write down your plan to do one of those small steps every day or every week.
  4. Reward yourself for meeting a milestone. We’re human; we love to reward ourselves for a job well done. Set a goal and then create a positive reward for meeting that goal. Perhaps you want to gain a new career skill. When you successfully complete a course in that skill, reward yourself with something positive and uplifting. It could be a new video game that you want, tickets to a great concert, or scheduling a night out with friends.
  5. Set goals that you can control. Don’t set a goal of “Get a new job.” You have very little control over a goal stated like that. Instead, set goals you can control. You can apply for 3 new jobs per week. You can attend one career networking event per month. You can update your resume and improve your LinkedIn profile. Keep taking positive steps in the direction of your dreams, and you’ll eventually arrive at your destination.

Was a career change on your list of New Year’s resolutions? How do you stay motivated when the going gets hard?

If you’re looking for motivation, check out this story about Tyrell and how he made a career switch from warehouse worker to programmer for a Fortune 500 company.

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