New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap. The term is usually used to refer to forgotten goals or dropped hobbies. But the New Year is also a time for new beginnings and new habits. Setting clear career goals for the new year can be more than empty promises. If you have been thinking about making major career moves throughout the end of the year, there’s no better time to implement changes than the first quarter of the year.

Making a plan now to effectively implement change can help you kick off the new year on the right track.

Do the Research

Do you want to make a career change? Or simply commit to stay up to date with the latest industry best practices? Perhaps, you are considering furthering your education in your chosen field. Now is the time to start doing the research so that when the new year comes, you can set appropriate goals. Making a list of skills you will need in order to achieve your goal and mapping out the actionable steps to get there are the keys to setting effective goals for the New Year. Make sure to break down the actions into small, easily achievable chunks for maximum results.

Take Stock of Your Skills

Taking a look at the skills you already have is an important part of setting your career goals for the next year. If you feel stuck in an unfulfilling role or simply underappreciated in your current job, taking stock of your skills and accomplishments can energize you and bring positivity to next year’s goals. The New Year doesn’t have to be just about changing aspects of your professional identity you do not like – it can also be about celebrating your accomplishments.

Make Your Health A Priority

If you have been feeling close to burning out or you have accomplished a great deal this year and simply need a break, consider making your health a priority in the coming year. Setting small, daily health related goals can go a long way to making you a healthier and happier (and therefore, a more productive) employee. What are some simple ways to stay healthy and balanced at work? Pack a lunch, take a walk on your breaks and take the stairs.

Read A Book or Listen to A Podcast

Staying up to date with your industry best practices doesn’t have to be a chore. Set yourself a book challenge in which you can read one book written by an industry expert per month. Or if you’re commute is long and you don’t have much time to read, listen to an industry podcast on a regular basis. Chances are you will pick up useful tips and learn about new industry practices.

Setting goals for the New Year doesn’t have to be a fruitless endeavor. After you have taken the time to plan your career moves in the next year, take a moment to celebrate your accomplishments for the previous year.