Banker's Toolbox - New Year's ResolutionHappy New Year! We made it to 2016. Now that the stockings are put away and you’ve survived the annual trip to the in-laws, it’s time to get back to work.

The beginning of the year is filled with hope and optimism, a natural opportunity for a fresh start. Whether it’s personal resolutions such as eating healthier and exercising more, or professional goals like learning a new skill or obtaining a new certification, now is the time to set your 2016 resolutions.

If you can use a little help setting workplace goals, here is list of ideas to get you started.  

1). Delegate More –If you struggle with letting go, make this the year you learn to delegate. There’s nothing wrong with working hard and having control, but remember that the people around you are capable, too. That’s why you hired them. And don’t forget there’s usually more than one right way to do a job. You may learn something new. Plus the extra time will allow you to focus on other projects.

2). Ask More Questions – It’s amazing what you can learn when you ask. Ask why. Ask your employees for their thoughts. Ask your customers for feedback. Instead of accepting the status quo, ask yourself if there is perhaps a better, more efficient way to tackle the same old task.

3). Join a New Club or Organization – Is there an organization that could help you grow professionally? There is a group for almost everything – industry specific organizations, or more general groups to help you with networking, leadership or public speaking skills. Whatever you hope to improve, there are likely others that share a common interest. Find them.

4). Dial Down the Social Media – Believe me, we get it. A quick glance at your phone to check the time leads to a short peek at Facebook. Before long you’ve killed 20 minutes watching videos of talking dogs. Know your limits. If you’re easily distracted, don’t tempt yourself. Take the apps off your phone and set aside a certain time of day to login.

5). Take Breaks – A short walk outside can do wonders for your mind. Even when you’re busy (especially when you’re busy), it’s important to take a few minutes to yourself. It’s tempting to work through lunch, but taking short breaks can actually increase your productivity.

6). Learn a New Skill – If there’s something new you’ve wanted to learn, there’s no time like the present. Sign up for lessons or take a class at a community college. Watch podcasts. Set aside time to challenge yourself.  

Whatever goals you set for yourself, whether at the office or at the gym, the important thing is that the goals are realistic and measurable.

What are your goals for 2016?