Regaining Routine…But With Some Changes!


Yesterday my wife and I put away all the Christmas decorations; no small chore in the Mitchell household. As much as we both love to decorate for the holidays we both throw ourselves into getting our house back to what we refer to as ‘normal’ with great enthusiasm. When we are done, we both appreciate how much more space we have to move around in; no large tree in the living room, no more hanging ornaments from the light fixtures, and the flow of movement is improved with the furniture back where it belongs.

It occurs to me that what we are really doing with our house is similar to what most of us want with for ourselves; a return to routine. December is such an unusual month doing things we typically only do in that one month of the 12. We shop and buy more, eat more, visit more. We write and mail Christmas cards and for many people it’s the only time we post anything anymore with the convenience of texting and the internet. Make no mistake, we want the relative familiarity of routine because it brings us a sense of calm; things are as they should be.

Okay but we might have made the decision to change a few things in 2017 too. We’d love to incorporate some of these changes into our routines without disrupting too much of what we’ve come to know and value. Maybe it was getting more active, losing weight, getting our money under control, finding a better job, getting out and about socially more often or even learning to say yes or no more often depending on the circumstances.

The key seems to be not just initiating change but sustaining it. On the way into work I heard a fitness expert state that only 20% of those who make fitness a goal at the start of the year will be successful come March. For some of us we might be thrilled to make it that far as I’m sure some of us have already cheated here and there and it’s only January 3rd!

So let’s look at employment and your goals for 2017. Are you looking for a job, perhaps a better job or are you looking for a secondary job; something you could do in addition to your current role in order to bring in more income? Do you have a plan to bring this goal of yours to light or are you rather hoping it will happen kind of on its own? That’s probably not going to work and you and I both know it; if it was, it would have worked by now. No, to bring about real change, you’re going to need some new routines, new everyday practices that you can commit to and achieve and all of them part of a strategic plan.

Get out a sheet of paper and write a few things down. First and foremost, write down your long-term goal be it getting a new job, a better job or a secondary job. Next write down why you want this. Don’t be flippant about the reason why. Take a little while and really think about why you want this job-related goal. Is it money, prestige, a new challenge, to stay active, re-connect with the world, save up for something you want to purchase? Consider this; when you find that finding work is stressful and fraught with disappointment and rejection, you’re going to ask yourself, “Why am I putting myself through this?” Notice the question started with the word, “Why”.

Now instead of quickly running to some job board and seeing what’s there, take an inventory of your strengths. What are you good at? Write down your experience, education, courses you’ve taken, preferences and values. Are you up for part-time, full-time, contract, seasonal, commission, shift work, nights, weekends etc.? What’s your preference? What kind of environment do you thrive in best? Outdoors, indoors, steady or fast-paced? Do you work best alone or in groups? Are you a thinker or a doer? A designer or a worker? Do you work best with people, things, managing information or ideas? Are you creative and an innovator or do you perform best when the job is the same each day?

Now you need to devote some time in your new routine to actually job search. Many people believe that job searching is a full-time job itself. If you have the time at present due to a lack of employment then it should be. If however you already work full-time and are seeking a change, it’s unreasonable to expect yourself to find another 35 hours a week to look for another job. On the other hand, you won’t meet with success if you only dabble an hour here or there.

A plan is what you need. Something that will work for you personally. Look at your schedule and determine where you’re going to schedule the time to job search. Unless you live alone, you’ll generally be more successful too if you set aside a location as your personal space to job search from too.

Good ideas? Read up on job search strategies or book some time with a Job Coach – even a single meeting or two to get you going and possibly arrange for a check in later on. Libraries and book stores have great resources.

2017; your year for success!

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