The beginning of a new year is a good time to reflect on the past and focus on what we might do differently in the future. If done with true introspection and appropriate resolve, such effort can put us on a new course. I would like to share 10 resolutions that I have learned can lead to a more successful life and career. I offer them in the spirit of challenging you to think about what you need to do to achieve career and personal success.
Read regularly for personal and professional development.
Reading is a good habit to develop. By engaging in a regular reading program, you can learn new ideas, be challenged by others, or just pass time in an enjoyable manner. Although some may consider reading to be old-fashioned, it can be one of the keys to growth and change.
Prepare for your structural plateau.
Studies suggest that workers reach the top of their career before they are 40 years of age. Unless they develop new skills, they may plateau in their career and stop advancing. Spend 5% of your time today preparing for your next job or career. But don’t spend too much time in this preparation because it might impact how well you do your present job.
Develop a love for change and chaos.
I have come to realize that the only thing that is certain in life is change. Rather than fear it or avoid it, learn to see change as a new opportunity to grow and develop. Thus when change happens, and it will, you can use it rather than resist it.
Become a futurist.
You will spend the rest of your life living in the future. The study of the future is a growing field. Learn from the insights of those who study the future so that you can take advantage of the changes they predict. I joined The World Future Society to become more of a futurist.
Explore a higher power to give your life meaning.
Most people recognize that there is more to this life than the here-and-now. Pursuing a higher power to gain insights on how to live today can make life more meaningful. For me, this insight has come though the Christian faith.
Invest in others.
We have all benefited from the investment that others made in our life. We can pay back these investments by investing our energies into the development of others such as student pharmacists, residents, colleagues, or mentees. There are few more satisfying moments than when someone thanks you for the investment you made in him or her.
Become an integrative thinker.
To survive in a career today, people need to be able to integrate information from many fields. Become an integrative thinker by first mastering a field and then using the acquired skills to learn and integrate other disciplines into your work.
Appreciate, and look for, criticism.
Surrounding yourself with “yes” people may be reassuring, but a critic can be more beneficial to your development. Unless someone is willing to tell us when we are wrong, we will never grow and develop new skills and insights. Finding people who will offer you constructive criticism is key to changing and growing.
Become a good listener.
We are prone to spending more time telling others what to do than listening to what they think should be done. By listening, we learn more, and when we act, our efforts will be more integrative.
Engage in regular exercise.
The above resolutions deal with improving the mind and spirit. We also need to take care of our bodies if we want to be productive. A consistent exercise program that includes stretching as well as cardiovascular and strength training is as important as improving the mind or spirit.
When I taught pharmacy graduate students, I assigned them an exercise to define their personal pharmacy vision and identify the principles that they would follow to implement their vision. I have shared with you some of my principles. I challenge you to try this exercise as you begin 2015.
Mr. Eckel is a professor emeritus at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is emeritus executive director of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists. A lifelong advocate for the profession of pharmacy, Mr. Eckel has lectured on pharmacy issues and trends in all 50 states, and has traveled to 6 continents to promote and educate audiences on the role of the pharmacist.