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Progress Not Perfection: How To Navigate New Year Resolutions

by Dec 2, 2021

As the year winds down (didn’t it seem to just fly by?) it becomes natural and societally encouraged to reflect on the last 365 days, as well as goals for the New Year. While these reflections can often feel forced and can come with undue pressure (think New Year’s Resolutions – did you really make it to your new gym on January 1st?) the larger practice, and takeaway, is positive. It’s an opportunity to truly make changes – even baby steps! – in our professional and personal life. Here at Contemporaries, we suggest that you focus on progress not perfection, which isn’t always easy to do. So, try to take advantage of this paid period to meditate (not ruminate – it can be hard!) on the past, and to set goals for the future. But we encourage you to also be realistic and want to help lend some tips on how to structure your future aspirations, and to take inventory and self-assessment on your past year professionally, as well as personally. Those who are fortunate enough are also allocated some well-earned vacation time in late December, so try not to let it go to waste (after some well-deserved R&R, of course). This pause can really usher in a clear head and thoughtful perspective. So, get cozy, stay warm, be with the ones you love, watch that snow fall, eat some sugar cookies, and set your intentions for 2022. Think that it can only get better from here. Right? Right? Right! Here are some helpful reminders and suggestions to carry with you as December winds down, and we turn the calendar page into a New Year:


  • First of all, congratulate yourself! This has by no means been an easy string of years for most of us, so give yourself a proverbial pat on the back for making it to December (Happy December 1st!) and, hopefully, remaining gainfully (and happily) employed. Start there.
  • We can’t emphasize this enough, but get out paper and a pen, almost as if you were a kid (if you celebrated Christmas!) writing a wish list to Santa. Take it back, old school style. It’s easier to stay committed to goals when you write them down and can see them every day.
  • Start small and remain realistic. It’s easy to get ahead of ourselves but instead of saying “I need that huge promotion” think about what you can do to get there, or how you can improve your performance in the station you’re at. Ask yourself the tough stuff, but kindly, i.e.: is it deserved, is it really the time for it, etc.?
  • After listing goals (large and small, profound, and more superfluous) take a moment to sit with them. Come back tomorrow and re-examine them with fresh eyes. Some will remain, and some will be crossed off. Don’t be afraid to slash and narrow. Set yourself up for success – if your morale remains high, so will your dedication to seeing your goal(s) through. Choose ONE realistic, viable goal that you not only want to achieve, but have a plan on how to. This will hopefully only bolster your self-esteem.
  • Now, since we are an employment agency, we’d like to focus on the workplace. Do you have enough of a work-life balance? Are you giving it your all? If you are feeling like something is awry, are you communicating these feelings effectively and taking strides to constructively make changes? Are you happy where you are? Or are you happy enough? Sometimes a job is a stepping stone. Most experiences, we humbly think here at Contemporaries, teach us lessons.
  • Finally, self-punishment is so last year. We suggest setting up realistic accountability mechanisms. Did you miss that first yoga class? Did you commit yourself to therapy, yet not act on finding someone yet? Did you sign up for a new dating app yet haven’t had any luck? Have you not made more time for family, or friendships? Be gentle. Don’t get so down, that you can’t get back up.


According to a survey in 2019 by Accountemps, 68% of professionals consider their professional health and development while creating their New Year Resolutions. That’s a large number. So, pour that eggnog, see an old friend from high school, spend quality time with your favorite aunt, wear a silly sweater, and then consider these following prompts.


  • How do you want to further your career?
  • Have you updated your resume lately?
  • Your LinkedIn profile?
  • Do you network enough?

We know that it can be uncomfortable, but it’s crucial to advance your career. What skill sets can you learn, or develop further, that will help you at your current position or advance into a better suited one?

Finally, keep that mental health groomed and perhaps try to embrace being healthier at work physically, whether it be taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or focusing on bringing your lunch (that’s financial health, too!) and making it healthy, rather than going out each day. It isn’t the season yet, but lights are adorning houses, CVS is playing holiday music, and party invites are abound. So, we are taking an early stab at this. Stay healthy and safe and begin now. After all, only Santa can get THAT much accomplished in one day/night. Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Merry Christmas! This Holiday Season, if used right, can set up next year on a good note. You got this! And we applaud you for getting this far!

This posting is brought to you by Contemporaries Inc., one of the best temp agencies in Boston MA. Also available for payrolling employees in Boston and Greater Boston

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