Each New Year begins with high hopes of THIS year being the year you’re going to change your life. The holiday season has passed, so you can get back into a regular routine. But it usually takes just a couple weeks of “new beginnings” before the reality sets in that nothing much has changed from one year to the next. So much for the new career, finding Mr. Right and fitting back into your high school jeans? Not so fast.

Hoping for fast results is probably exactly your problem. A new year doesn’t give you a clean slate, it gives you an arbitrary reason to change for the good. Your old career isn’t going to suddenly be better because it’s the new year and you’re wishing really hard for things to get better. You’re going to have to actively orchestrate the changes if you truly want them to happen. So just because a few weeks have passed in the new year without any improvement, doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for 2018.

Consistency is Good, Paired with Gradual Improvements
The New Year may seem the same as last year, and there are aspects of that which are good. You still have a job, a check arriving in your name every week or so, and your bills are paid. These are good, consistent parts of 2017 that you have to remember that you want. So what if the job isn’t your dream job (yet) or the check isn’t as big as you want it (yet). These are the things that set you up to make gradual improvements.

Having the financial and career confidence to be able to set out to better yourself is a major part of making gradual improvements. If you didn’t already have that consistency, you would have a much harder time moving forward with your life and ultimately improving yourself for your career. Gradual improvements pay off, and let you prepare for each improvement as it comes along.

New Years Don’t Improve Themselves
The fallacy of the New Year is that when it begins, you’re off to a fresh new start and by that logic, things will improve. But the year doesn’t clear itself out and magically improve from one day to the next at the stroke of midnight. Those who improve their lives and their careers as the New Year rolls around do it themselves, and just use the change of the calendar as a starting point.

You have to actively make changes happen to improve your year, and to make your career better than the year before. The New Year just gives you a reason to make the improvements; you have to actually be the one to take the reins and make the year and your career exactly what you want it to be. Whether it’s trying a new social media plan, or starting from scratch in a new field, whatever it is you want to happen in the year, you have to make it happen.

Just Because You Don’t See Large Changes, Doesn’t Meant Things Aren’t Happening
Of course large changes are easier to identify, but just because there aren’t any major changes doesn’t mean you aren’t slowing traversing the mountain that is your career. Every day that you work towards your future, you’ll find that you’re a step closer to the career you wanted. You may have been passed over for a major promotion, but that small one is nothing to scoff about either. Every new project you complete helps you build up your reputation, which is all a step towards the future that you want.

Even the menial “cost of living” raise that you manage to snag each year puts your salary at a higher place that will let you start a new job at a higher salary. Unless you are horrible at your job and have a horrible workplace, chances are you’re making improvements that you haven’t even noticed.

Patience is a Virtue
Everything isn’t going to happen at once. If you only started trying to improve your career as the new year began, chances are you’re not instantly going to have a great job offer. You’re going to have to go through interviews, and reviews, and phone calls that may last months. But as long as you give each of them a better effort than the one before, something will pay off. You’ll get an amazing promotion, or be offered a job at your dream company.

Be patient while you try, otherwise you’ll find that you get discouraged. It’s okay to be eager, and the desire for instant gratification is normal. But ultimately, if you can be patient, you’ll find that it paid off several times over. It is true that patience is a virtue.

Don’t Give Up On the New Year, Every Morning is a New Opportunity for Change
All too many people wake up one morning in mid February and realize their resolutions and everything they hoped for in the new year hasn’t happened. You meant to update your resume, but life got in the way. Maybe even just a Netflix binge got in the way. Whatever the case, not all hope is lost. A random Tuesday on a cold March morning is a good of a day as any to start improving your life.

The Tuesday that reminded you exactly of a Tuesday a year ago might just be your wakeup call. You’ll wake up, and realize that nothing is going to change, and that your new career isn’t going to fall into your lap. That Tuesday, you’ll resolve to update your resume after work, and that Tuesday will ultimately hold as much power and as much magic as New Year’s Eve. And a few months from now, as you settle into your new office, you’ll be wondering why you hadn’t done it sooner. So just because things may seem the same now, doesn’t mean they won’t seem infinitely better with just a little more time.

Powered by Marion Fernandez & The Galiano Group Writing Team.