New Year’s Resolutions on the Horizon
At the end of each year, a new beginning looms on the horizon where potential opportunities await and you envision big plans for the future. Those aspirations can seem far off and scary, but luckily the decision to be productive often starts off strong at the ring of the new year.
When it comes to starting any new career, let alone one in tech, a surplus of motivation is necessary to get the wheels off the ground. Fortunately, leveraging the new year energy to get organized and connected with what you really want is a great start.
Stay Determined All Year Long
Research and plan
Getting ahead takes a lot of preparation, and having a realistic timeline and plan for what the year(s) may look like is important to have as a solid foundation. Rome was in fact not built in a day, and entering the workforce in tech may take some time depending on what role you want to pursue. Plans can look very different; however, the most important part is for them to be both realistic and doable.
The best way for you to keep those in mind is by speaking to someone else who already has the job that you’re aiming for. The best way to go about finding these individuals is to look for professionals on Linkedin or reach out to friends of friends, asking them questions like:
1) What studying did you have to complete to reach your position?
2) What challenges were you met with?
3) Is there any advice that you wish you had been given when you started off?
Why go on a hunt when you can get first-hand knowledge quickly and from one source!
After creating that base, more information may be necessary and researching online would be your best option. Some Google searches to start off your research can be in the following fields:
1) Web development
2) UX/UI design
4) Software development
5) Data analysis
Having a good plan starts off with finding the right information and if you’re just entering the world of tech, it’s highly likely that you don’t have the necessary studies to make that happen. At Ironhack, there are great options to get you started and provide the foundation for learning those tech skills. With bootcamps both online and in person around the world, you have access to several options that will allow you to study and fit your schedule with full time and part time schedules available. Check out our courses page to find out more information.
Still stuck? Follow these steps:
Set attainable, bite-size goals
Waking up on January 1st, you can easily fall into the trap of making huge, abstract goals that are near impossible to achieve: get a raise, lose 30 pounds, buy a car, etc. A big vision isn’t the problem here, however, having that well thought-out plan and making weekly and monthly goals can help make them seem more attainable, keep motivation and spirits high, and stay on the right track.
One way to break up your goals is through making monthly and weekly goals. As a result, achieving that mini-goal, as Marie Kondo would say, sparks joy and is a small reminder of the hard work going into your own future. Smaller wins keep the flame alive.
To make accomplishing a goal even that more impactful, a prize or self-gift can reinforce that behavior: anice dinner out, a new shirt you’ve wanted for the past few months, or even a sticker on an achievement chart. A small celebration of your accomplishments, however little they may be, adds flame to the fire.
Is it similar to the coveted “Great job,” that teachers used to give you in elementary school? Yeah, and that recognition of your hard work was so special because it wasn't given out frequently.
2. Write in a diary or journal
Along with creating a detailed plan and setting benchmark goals, keeping a log or diary of your progress, status, and effort is a great way to reflect on what’s happening currently in your world and how things can be improved or changed.
A look into the past and acknowledgement of all you’ve done to get where you are is incredibly empowering and an enormous reminder that you are strong, capable, and hardworking. More often than not, thinking alone isn’t enough. When you write down what you’re thinking, not only is there a record for you to go back to, but also you are putting more intention into what is going through your mind.
In addition to the typical updates that you can write in your diary, prompts can be helpful in guiding you towards a specific answer, especially one that is reflective of your inner world.
Some journal prompts that may be helpful are:
1) What do I want right now? What do I need right now?
2) What have I done that I am proud of?
3) Do I feel like I’m on the right track? If not, how can I get back?
4) What am I doing that is helping me reach my goals? Is anything detracting me from getting there?
Self-reflection can open doors to your inner-workings and help you get more in touch with those desires and patterns that can be leveraged to succeed.
3. Adopt a growth mindset
Corporations and educators have been pushing heavily for the past few years a growth mindset, an idea coined by Carol Dweck - with good reason too!
It states that a shift in thinking that focuses on growing, improving, working hard, and learning instead of focusing on your own fixed capacity, allowing people to stay curious and motivated despite any challenges that may arise.
For example, you don’t complete a project on time, and from there your mind can go in a few directions:
1) I can’t finish things on time ever and I’m always going to be a procrastinator.
2) I am still figuring out what I need to do in order to procrastinate less and next time, I will start earlier and communicate more clearly with my project manager.
The second thought would be considered to be that of a growth mindset since improvement can still occur without fear of failure.
It’s easy to believe that you are fixed in who you are, but knowing that you are constantly changing and growing can be quite motivational, even when goals are not met or you don’t get that second interview. Adoption of a growth mindset provides the grit, resistance to failure, and the determination to succeed despite difficulties and challenges that may arise.
4. Create visual reminders
Waking up and walking over to your mirror to see yourself and pictures hanging on the wall of your goals provides you with the opportunity to see yourself in the present and what your future will hold.
Visual reminders of our intentions, dreams, and plans make quite the impression, especially when you see the same images day after day.
Everyone has heard of a vision board, and as cheesy as they are, they can also be helpful in keeping your eyes on the prize. Maybe grabbing magazines from around the house isn’t the best way to go about making these though, since there are online tools like Canva’s free vision board creator that can help in making a perfect collage of all the images you may need to complete your full vision.
The more specific the goal-related photo, the better, and since you’ve already listed your goals and plans previously, finding the right photo to encapsulate those achievements is the final step.
5. Outsource to motivators
Our own validation and reinforcement of behaviors are a driving force of moving forward, but sometimes it may not be enough. What you can’t provide for yourself can be outsourced to a motivator though.
A motivator can be a friend, significant other, coworker, family member, or anyone you can trust and rely on, and when they tell you, “Hey, you are doing a spectacular job” or, “Man, you’re working so hard and almost there, you’ve got this,” it can be both powerful and encouraging.
Sometimes, it may look a bit different, “[insert name here], I know you didn’t get that promotion this time, but next week get that project done, and you’ll see from there.”
Motivators are there to provide you with whatever you may need from them in the right moment. Humans will always need to depend on others no matter what, and having support from the people around you is essential can be a huge relief.
Armed with the self-knowledge of what you need given the situation, you can ask a motivator for encouraging words, outside pressure, or a strong shake back to reality - and they’ll give it to you!
Education Comes First
You may be starting off the new year with overwhelming feelings, a headache, and a list of accomplishments and tasks to complete, but with the right support in place, you can cross off each one of those bullet points throughout the next twelve months. Given how easy it is to get started with us and the number of jobs available, the opportunity to begin a successful career in tech has never been bigger. Register your email at Ironhack to cross off the first goal on your list: get the proper education. Don’t forget to check out all our online and in person available courses today.
About the Author
Adam is a teacher, translator and writer living in Madrid, Spain. He’s also studying to become a therapist. Since he is bilingual he teaches both English and Spanish and loves to write in both languages as well. He writes his own blog posts on Medium about mental health, psychology and his journey to self-discovery.