New Year, New Pros, New Goals

January 3, 2019

[akira kaelyn]
[akira kaelyn]

Every New Year, we come up with new goals — many of them are utopian dreams, and a few are actual goals we can strive for. With the New Year, we feel ready and empowered to set the bar high with new objectives. But many of us set that bar so high that when we are halfway through the year, we feel like these goals are impossible to accomplish or, even worse, we completely forget about them.

To help combat this scenario, here are five realistic goals that you can set for yourself and start working toward today:

1. Learn a new language.

You don’t need to seek full fluency. Just download the Duolingo app on your phone, and use it while you commute to work or need a quick break. It’s an easy way to get started and makes learning more fun by breaking up lessons into different exercises.

2. Get certified in something (useful).

Learning about our profession doesn’t stop with college. There are thousands of certifications available that you can prepare for on your own. This shows your interest in continued learning and growing as a professional — a must in public relations.

You can study for the APR certification or, if you think that’s a bit too ambitious for this year, perhaps try something more specific to what you do now. Maybe you learned how to use Google Analytics but never had the formal education for it; so why don’t you go for a Google Analytics certification? It helps you solidify knowledge that you’ve already acquired and, who knows, you may learn a new thing or two.

3. Watch TV shows, news or movies from a different culture.

One way to push yourself outside your comfort zone is to consume content that is different from your day-to-day news and entertainment sites. Have you befriended people from other countries and want to have deeper connections? What about understanding your audience better?

Consuming media that accurately portrays culture in a given context helps you learn and understand others, but it also helps you understand yourself. You may change your mind, or strengthen your point of view on a given issue. Whatever the result is, that discovery process with the world around you is exciting and beautiful.

4. Try new technology.

Artificial intelligence (AI) may be the new buzzword, but how can you dip your toes in? Depending on your role, you may have the opportunity to do something cool like build a bot. No, you don’t need to know how to code in order to make a bot. Does it sound intimidating? Yes. But thinking about opportunities to integrate new tech and make your work and life more efficient is exciting. Even more so when you do it on your own without having to hire a software developer! I used MobileMonkey and by trying it out — along with watching tutorials and researching — I built my first bot in three weeks! And you may wonder: OK, but at what cost? None. Just my time and energy.

5. Practice mindfulness techniques.

We all want to be more relaxed, efficient and present — and that’s where mindfulness comes in. Paying attention to what you are doing instead of dozing off with your own thoughts helps you become more grounded and enjoy what you are doing.

You can start with small steps like being thoughtful with your daily routine. Instead of mentally reviewing your to-do list while you brush your teeth, pay attention to how the bristles move through your teeth. How do they feel?

Though mindfulness is a simple practice, it can be hard to focus because our human body sends 11 million bits of information per second to the brain for processing, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. That’s a lot to keep up with.

But the more you practice, the easier it will become for you to listen and appreciate conversations, take in the full flavors of a delicious meal or view a neighborhood you walk through. It will allow you to be in the moment. And the best part is: You will find it easier to focus, minimize stress and become your best self.

Andrea Gils

Andrea Gils, a native of Uruguay, is the marketing and communications manager at the University of Kentucky International Center. She was on the PRSA New Pros National Committee in 2016, currently serves on the PRSA National Diversity & Inclusion National Committee and is a Champion for PRSSA. Connect with her on LinkedIn: andreagils.



Victoria Larson says:

Great Article and Inspiring for a fresh start to the new year! Not sure about the tooth brushing exercise but maybe that will help too! Thank you!!

Jan. 9, 2019

Eloisa Orozco says:

Excellent article!

Jan. 16, 2019

Virgil Scudder says:

Good and useful column, Andrea. It's great to see that my good friend and colleague, a very bright and talented woman, will be producing material for PRSA Tactics. Young professionals take note! She will be worth following.

Jan. 17, 2019

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