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No matter what your personal religious, political, or social views are, it seems fair to say, we can all agree on one thing. 2016 has been a tough year for everyone. Friends and families were pulled apart by different political leanings. Workers went through difficult corporate layoffs and restructurings. Violence and death were reported on daily in the news. It’s been rough – very rough.

In fact, after rounds of Facebook frustrations, many people are opting to take a break from social media just to regroup. Others are refocusing on eating healthy, and taking care of themselves. They’re using the holidays to prepare for a better, more positive 2017.

This is one of those times I feel extra thankful for fresh starts. And, what a better way to begin again than to start with a few New Year’s resolutions. Rather than focus on things outside of your control, it’s time to reflect on what is inside of your sphere of influence. As you can guess, I recommend your career be placed at the very top of your list.

It’s one thing that has a very direct, very immediate impact on your daily life. It can impact your financial wellbeing, your personal stress, and the general fulfillment you feel.

Take inventory on what’s working in your career, and what you’d like to change. Do you want to land a promotion? Would you like to make more money, work in a different industry, or living in a different city? Are you looking for a workplace with a better work-life balance? Would you prefer to use your strengths in a different way?

There’s no right answer when it comes to deciding what’s important in your career, and in your life. The most important thing is to be in touch with what’s important to you. From there, you can set goals.

But, don’t fool yourself. Career transformation is a process. It rarely happens overnight, and it’s certainly not easy. First, prioritize your goals by selecting which are the most important. Then, break down the goals you have identified into steps. Perhaps one goal is to update your LinkedIn profile. One step might be to take a new photo. Another might be to add your latest job title, and accomplishments.

Breaking your goals down into bite size pieces make them more attainable. Attaching those goals to dates will help to hold you accountable.

But, whatever path you choose to pursue, start strong. Companies really do begin hiring again in January, so don’t put off the change you want to make. Put failure out of your mind. Acknowledge that the effort is the most important part of the entire process.

And, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Moving up in your career is a rarely an effort achieved alone. It takes a great company, managers, mentors, friends, confidants, coaches, and family members.

I’m certain that with a little effort, and a little teamwork, together, we can work to make 2017 a brighter all the way around.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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