As we gather with friends and family on December 31st to ring in the New Year, the countdown to midnight means we’re approaching not just a change of date, but also a turning point for our vices and habits. Losing 10 pounds, giving up smoking, swearing off junk food are just a few of the common New Year’s resolutions that will trend on January 1st. This year, however, consider making some career resolutions in addition to personal ones. If you’re feeling a little apathetic about your career, here are a few tips to liven up your professional interests.

 

Network

This one’s crucial. Networking is the backbone of career development and it should be at the forefront of your New Year's resolutions. Finding a new job, getting a promotion, and seizing opportunities are all made significantly easier with a network that is extensive in both breadth and depth. “Succeeding in business is all about making connections,” says Virgin mogul Richard Branson. “This has helped Virgin to expand into so many different industries, from music to mobile phone services: As we build connections in other areas, we have been able to grow our expertise and multiply our reach.”

So start connecting! Find out about professional events in your city. Are you an entrepreneur in Austin? Then check out Austin Entrepreneurs Meetup Group. Web developer in Orlando? Consider attending Breaking Development’s Orlando conference.

 

 

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Learn

Just because you’re out of school, that doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. In fact, now that you’re free from the usual cramming for dull prerequisite courses that are an unavoidable part of college life, you’re able to learn about topics that truly interest you on your own terms. Here’s a list of great free resources to check out in 2014 that will allow you to expand your knowledge base and develop new abilities as part of your learning resolution:

 

iTunes U – Leading universities, museums, and libraries have contributed material accessible through the iTunes U app. Study financial courses from Yale, learn iOS7 app development with Stanford, and read up on social welfare via Harvard courses.

w3schools.com – Study web development for free. Review tutorials and resources to learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SQL, PHP, and JQuery.

TED – Fascinating talks on economics, technology, global issues, entertainment, and more.

BBC Learning – Complete a language course in 12 weeks, review world history lessons, and learn tips on how to improve your wellbeing.

MIT Sloan School of Management – In line with its commitment to making education accessible, MIT has publishes virtually all MIT course content online, available to the public at no cost, including its Sloan School of Management business courses.

 

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 Create

In addition to networking and learning, having something tangible to add to your portfolio by the end of 2014 should be another goal you commit to meeting. There’s no better way to improve your skills than by jumping right in. Creating a website, launching a bootstrapped business, contributing to blog, or starting a Flickr page are just a few ways to achieve this resolution and the two listed above. Starting a bootstrapped business, for instance, will force you to network with suppliers, partners, and potential clients in addition to learning about marketing, web design, budgeting, or other valuable hard skills. Create and contribute in 2014!

 

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Send us a tweet @NapkinBetaBeyond or connect with us on Facebook to let us know what other career resolutions are worth making for 2014.

 

 

Photo credits: itupictures/Flickr;  onebellboy/Flickr; ollesvensson/Flickr