It’s that time of the year again! To introspect, to review 2016 and make plans to take 2017 straight by the horns right from the very first day! Every year we make resolutions — some we keep, others we really don’t ( be on a diet, quit smoking- hey at least we try!), but nonetheless, this exercise of looking forward to a brighter, better year is very therapeutic for me. 2016 was the year I turned into a full time freelancer and I hope to grow it into a business in the next year.

ALSO READ: Women in 2016: Guts and Glory

It takes almost a year with constant practice and dedication to turn your professional resolutions into a habit/lifestyle, and that’s my mantra for 2017. Here are 10 resolutions to start the new year with a new you!

  1. Network more. Talk to people constantly.

In the limited 24 hours/day spent between a job, meetings, family and friends- you might not network and make contacts as much as you should or like to. Networking is a very important aspect of your professional career and this year- do more, MUCH MORE. Join your local business community, keep up with your contacts on LinkedIn, constantly talk to me wherever you can, whenever you can.

2. Develop a hobby

The reason it features so high up in my list is because the rat-race of today has got our lives SO WIRED around 4 key prongs – a) Career growth b) Salary/net worth growth c) Ambition growth 4) Retirement fund growth! Development of your personal creativity, attention to the right side of the brain is required and unfortunately doesn’t feature in our immediate goal plan. Develop a hobby – an outlet to relax. Don’t burn out and lose your chance to be a legend.

3. Learn a new skill. Explore the world of online professional course learning.

Every task/work/job/career requires a certain set of skills which you have obviously sharpened in your progress path with diligence. Personally, one should always prepare for the uncertain future and add new skills to their set. If you are in creative writing, learn the basics of marketing. If you are a photographer, it’s very helpful to take a course in video and editing. Grow your opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.

4. Keep your work profile upto date.

A simple, yet significant exercise. We often forget to update our work profiles online and on our CVs and do so with a gap of months! Keeping them constantly updated enables you to showcase the business community of your achievements continuously and keep the channels open for talks and opportunities.

5. Keep meetings to 15 minutes each.

I read an article earlier that astounded me. It said ” an estimated $37 billion is lost every year to unproductive meetings.” Woah. While meetings are important, building an agenda for it before hand is what will make it efficient. Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, has meetings all day in which she has agenda points noted down precisely. If the points are covered within 10 minutes of the meetings, it is done, no more talking.

6. Be punctual.

An estimated 1/3rd of employees show up to work late, meetings late and are excused for doing so. Time management is extremely necessary and should be a forced habit. Every minute counts. A person’s punctuality also adds to his/her credibility. Respect everyone’s time- it is the mark of reliability.

7. Start with work-life integration and slowly make your way to work-life balance.

Gone are the days when you could leave work at work and come home to your personal life. We carry our work with us wherever we go – even on a vacation! It’s impossible to live without it, so try your best to function at par both personally and professional- blend the two. Take calls at home, but maybe put a deadline after 10 pm to spend quality time with your family. Work towards a work-life balance slowly.

8. Save more. Invest more.

The more we ascend our career ladder, the more money we make. The more our lifestyles grow, the more expensive our tastes get, the affordability range grows. In your growth stage, save as much as you can and invest. If you haven’t gotten a financial planner yet- get one immediately. Do not just blindly stash as percentage of your salary in a bank account and gain interest- invest it in the economy. Make a habit of saving/investing a minimum of 30% of your money every month and start from there.

 Also Read: 12 Ways to Start Thinking Big in 2017