It’s that time of year again. Time to put away the holiday decorations, watch college football bowl games, and make those New Year’s resolutions.
About 40-50% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Although New Year’s resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep, research shows those who make New Year’s resolutions are far more likely to reach their goals than those who do not. Here are seven New Year’s resolutions for young professionals in 2019.
1. Take an Electronic Sabbatical
Young professionals spend more time on their devices than they do with actual humans. While the benefits of new technologies are tremendous, the adverse effects – both in terms of physical and psychological impact – cannot be ignored. Young professionals can benefit from daily breaks from their electronic devises.
While setting the phone down sounds simple, it can be difficult in reality. Apps like Offtime, Moment, and AppDetox can help you break the device addiction.
2. Listen to Podcasts in Your Industry
Industry specific podcasts can be a great way to keep up with recent trends and developments in your industry. Some top legal and insurance industry podcasts include Bloomberg Law, The Lawyerist, Lawyer 2 Lawyer, Shiftshapers, and Agency Nation.
3. Save Money
Saving money can be challenging, especially for young professionals with student loan debt, young families, and those saving to buy a home. Approximately 65% of Americans have less than $10,000 in savings. Nevertheless saving is essential for buying a home, starting a business, and for retirement.
Try a “no spend” week or month, where you eliminate all discretionary purchases. It can be helpful to put the money towards a goal like a down payment or vacation. Setting automatic transfers is a great way to save money before you have the chance to spend it.
4. Use Your Vacation Time
More than half of Americans have unused vacation time. Young professionals may feel pressure to stay in the office due to heavy workload or fear of being perceived as lazy or unreliable. However, studies show those who use their vacation time are happier. They are also more likely to be promoted and receive a raise or bonus.
Planning regular vacations in advance and finding a trusted colleague to help cover things in your absence can help make those vacations a reality.
5. Schedule Email Windows
The average person sends and receives 124 work emails every day. For young professionals in the legal and insurance industries, it is likely even more. We are constantly checking email. Research shows it can take 20 minutes or more to get back on task after an email interruption. The result is a lot of wasted time checking email.
One tip is to set certain times during the day for checking email, for example at 10:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m.. The balance of your day can then be devoted to the specific task at hand, free from interruption. It may help improve your productivity.
6. Read More
Rich people read a lot, and they read for education rather than entertainment. Young professionals can self-educate by reading trade publications, manuals, and biographies of other successful individuals in their respective industries.
7. Ask for What You Want
The best way to get something is to ask for it. In one recent survey, 70% of people who asked for a raise got it. So why not ask for that promotion or raise?
And don’t forget the old standbys like losing weight and getting more sleep. I am finally going to keep those this year too!
 Norcross, JC, Mrykalo, MS, Blagys, MD, J. Clin. Psych. 58: 397-405. 2009