Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane “pill-flipping” life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.

Why You Should Not Create a 2015 New Year's Resolution

DECEMBER 29, 2014

Want to make 2015 a banner career year? Here’s my advice: DO NOT make a New Year’s resolution.


Why make promises to yourself that you can’t keep and that you will ultimately give up by the beginning of February?


According to a study performed by the University of Scranton, only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are achieved.


So, what’s the secret behind starting a new habit and keeping it?


2 things:


  1. Start today.


Treat every day as if it is a new start. Forget the mistakes of yesterday and focus on making today great.


“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


What will happen to you on January 1st? Will you sleep in or feel groggy from the night before? If so, New Year’s Day may not be the best day to start a goal.


Rather, start your change today. Don’t wait until everything is perfect, because things will never be perfect enough for you to start something new.


  1. Create resolve, not resolution.


A resolution is a temporary goal that statistically doesn’t stick. Goals tell you where you want to go, not how to get there.


What can get you there are new habits. A new way of living to give you different results than what you have been receiving.


Instead of creating a resolution that may make you feel guilty for not achieving, take an hour a week and commit to establishing a new, positive habit.


Here are a few simple things that you can start right now—and do all year—to boost your career:


Keep up with journals and research.

It’s hard for busy pharmacists to stay on top of the latest and greatest developments in the field. And it’s not just work that gets in the way—family, friends, hobbies, and volunteering all compete for your attention. I suggest scheduling a block of time each week, whether at work or at home, to catch up on your pharmacy news. Go ahead and surf the Internet, read an article, or dust off your Medscape account. Taking this time each week will help you feel more connected to your career and your colleagues, boost your knowledge, and most important, allow you to do a better job treating your patients.


Take continuing education classes.

With all the continuing education classes and webinars available online, it makes sense to fit a few into your schedule. Take a moment to reflect on your skills and figure out what you need to work on.
 

Keep in mind that the classes you select should be career related, but they don’t have to be pharmacy related. If you feel that your pharmacy skills are up-to-date, consider a public-speaking or leadership class. Many classes are available for a nominal fee and have multiple offerings, so you can choose the day and time that works best for you. Check out the education section on the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists website to get started.


Expand your professional network.

Whether or not you are looking to promote something or look for a new job, it never hurts to broaden your horizons and meet new people. If your schedule permits, participate in local or regional pharmacy conferences. Get active on a message board or join an association to connect with other pharmacists.

 

Offer to be a guest speaker at a local pharmacy school, or find a way to volunteer your pharmacy services in the community. You never know who you might meet—and what new opportunities may await you!


Volunteer.

Using your skills to benefit your community is sure to produce some “feel-good” benefits for you—and help you expand your professional network (see above).
 

And, if this isn’t motivating enough, keep in mind that prospective employers love to see well-rounded candidates who understand work-life balance and take time to serve their communities.
 

You may be able to volunteer to tutor local pharmacy students, help a former professor with research, or assist at a nearby clinic. Whatever volunteer opportunity you decide to pursue, you will definitely benefit from helping others.


Get involved with mentoring.

The mentor/mentee relationship can be one of the most valuable relationships in your career. If you are a student or young pharmacist, put in the effort, do the work, and develop a relationship with a mentor (click here on how to find your pharmacy mentor).
 

If you are an experienced pharmacist, consider sharing your skills and experiences with a newcomer to the profession. Yes, there is a time commitment involved here, but I guarantee that you will learn something—no matter where you are on your career path!


I know what you’re thinking. You don’t have time to do this stuff. I get it. But if you devote just an hour a week to one of these pursuits, you will get 2015 off to a great start, and you will reap the career benefits for years to come!


Next week, I will write on how to make your New Year’s “habit” stick. Stayed tuned!



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