Are Your Career Goals for the New Year Full of Innovation – or Stale Retreads?

Jan 14, 2015 | Productivity

This article was originally published on the Office Team blog and is reprinted here with permission.

innovateAre you ready to take action and achieve your career goals? Learn what this administrative career expert has to say about shifting out of old habits and getting what you want professionally.

As the end of the year approaches, it’s a good time take stock of your current career situation. Do you feel like you’re stuck and going nowhere? Are you keeping up with the latest technologies? Do you ever think, “I just need to hold on until retirement?” Do you want to get more involved in your workplace but aren’t sure how? Perhaps you feel overwhelmed at the thought of taking on more when you’re having a hard time keeping up now.

Whether the past year was stellar or one you wish you could do over, now is the time to assess what you’ve accomplished in your career and start planning for the year ahead. And the first step to career innovation is to create a new outlook and approach to get you where you want to go.

Being innovative in your career means shifting your mindset from “This is how I’ve always done it” to one that’s ready for ongoing reinvention. Ask yourself, “What do I need to do differently – today, next week, next year – from how I did it before?” Simply closing your eyes and hoping things work out isn’t enough. To really innovate and excel in your career, you need to be proactive. You need to create and execute new thinking, habits and methods. And you need a plan and the will to implement it.

It’s easy to set big career goals. But what are you going to do each day to actually make them happen? If you want to innovate your career and put it on a new trajectory, you have to take charge. You’re the captain here – chart your course! The best place to start is by plotting out your desired career path. Identify milestones and challenges you expect to reach in the coming year. Once you’ve got these down, list the steps and resources it will take to reach your first milestone – whether it’s taking a continuing education class, volunteering or attaining a certification. Then, identify target due dates and schedule the time to complete each step so it becomes a real deadline you are actively working toward.

Whatever you decide to do first, be patient with yourself. Productivity experts say it takes a minimum of about three weeks for most people to form new habits. The same goes for career innovation. To help inspire your new outlook and way of thinking, journal, engage or reengage with a hobby, and surround yourself with the right people. Read books and articles on the skills and subjects you want to learn more about. These activities can inspire you to press towards your professional goals and even aspire to greater ones – and that’s a huge step toward career innovation!
Once you have your career path and action plan in place, it’s time to execute the plan you’ve laid out. The difference between feeling stuck and career innovation is personal action. Identify and remove the old, stale habits that are impeding your progress and replace them with new ones that support your innovative approach. Then practice, practice, practice! Practice is critical if you’re trying to learn a new skill or form a new habit. Share your plan with your executive and ask for support. Look for a mentor, coach or accountability partner, and ask for their help keeping you on task.

One big key to innovating your admin career is consistently tracking and measuring your progress. Review your goals and the action plan for each one on a regular basis – whether that’s weekly or monthly. Make decisions and adjustments based on your actual progress, not just your feelings or emotions. Sit down with your executive, mentor or coach and talk about what’s working well and what needs to improve so you can course correct more quickly as you progress.

Achieving career success requires time and a lot of effort. You may find yourself feeling vulnerable and insecure. You may not have everything mastered 100% of the time. Sometimes things are going to fail miserably. And some goals take longer to achieve than others. This is completely OK! You’re right on track.

The path to big career advancements is a series of smaller achievements over time that combine to create that big career goal. And the rollercoaster ride of achievement is one every admin will experience if you are actively working to innovate your career. So, get comfortable with being uncomfortable and hang on for the most exhilarating ride of your life.

It’s time to take action and implement a new way of thinking, new habits and new methods in 2021. When you do, you will achieve career innovation and experience ongoing achievements year after year!

Download a free career-planning template at

New Monthly and Quarterly Membership Options Now Available

Check Out Julie’s Books!