As a new year begins, many of us reflect on the past year and think about how to improve, grow and set goals for the year ahead. For nurses, the start of a new calendar year is the perfect time to establish resolutions that will enhance patient care and lead to better health outcomes. Some nurses may resolve to take on additional certifications or complete more continuing education courses to expand their knowledge and skills. Others aim to improve communication with patients and family members through more empathetic listening and straightforward explanations. Still, other nurses focus resolutions on self-care, like getting adequate rest on their days off or finding a healthier work-life balance.

We’ve compiled some tips to help you create practical and actionable New Year’s resolutions to support your personal and professional goals.

Examples of personal and professional goals

If you are still trying to figure out ideas for your New Year’s resolutions, start by examining where you are at the end of the year. Then, consider your physical, mental and social needs and where you would like to improve this year.

Here are some ideas to jumpstart your resolution creation process:

  • Improve your mental health
  • Develop clinical leadership skills
  • Practice mindfulness and gratitude
  • Repair a broken or distant relationship
  • Volunteer in your community
  • Master a new skill or competency

Make SMART goals

Did you know that studies show that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the start of February? Many resolutions people make are vague and don’t set them up for success. Goals like “I want to eat better” or “exercise more” don’t help you create an action plan.

One way to structure your resolutions for success is to create SMART goals. The SMART goal framework was created in 1981 by George Doran for use in business and management settings. However, it can be used for personal and professional goals as well as business goals.

SMART stands for:

Specific – focus on a single topic, area or skill

Measurable – set metrics to help track progress, such as a dollar amount, passing a test or hitting a milestone

Attainable – choose a realistic and achievable goal

Relevant – set goals that are related to your development and well-being

Time-bound – set a completion date so you can pace your efforts

Here is an example of a SMART goal for incorporating more exercise into your life.

Specific: I want to exercise three days per week

Measurable: I will add exercise to my planner or daily to-do list

Attainable: I can do home workouts and go for walks in my neighborhood

Relevant: I want to improve my physical health, lose weight and stay healthy for my loved ones

Time-bound: I will gradually increase the days I work out – from one day to three days – over several weeks so I do not injure myself. I will reach my goal of three days a week within two months.

If you resolve to join a new organization where you can take your nursing career to the next level, Maxim Healthcare Services is hiring! Our nurses have the opportunity to give back to their communities by providing quality care to vulnerable individuals and improving their skill sets.

If you are an experienced nurse ready to take on more responsibility, we have open clinical leadership roles across the country.

Visit our career site to learn more about life at Maxim and browse open positions. Not ready to apply? Join our Talent Community for exclusive company updates and personalized job alerts.