5 Career Acts to Take Before the Year Ends

A little self-reflection and professional housekeeping before December runs out could help make a big impact in 2024 and beyond.

With only a few workdays remaining before the winter holidays, many employees are, unsurprisingly, dreaming of their time off. According to a recent report, 19% of workers are irritable, 26% feel unmotivated, and 31% feel downright exhausted.

But before you close the books on 2023, experts suggest taking a few moments to look back at what happened over the course of the year—both good and bad. That, a little preparation, and a few other year-end moves can make a huge positive difference in the short and long term.

Reflect on your achievements.

No success is too small to celebrate. Take a few minutes to write down your achievements for the year and categorize them into three buckets—small, medium, and large. Your small victories could be as simple as writing your coworker a thank-you email for his help on a project, while your biggest accomplishment might be bringing in a new client or mastering a new skill.

Consider asking your colleagues for their perspective on your big and small victories in 2023, says Korn Ferry Advance associate principal consultant Frances Weir. “Identifying areas of strength will be a good foundation for what you want to carry forward and build on in 2024,” she says.

Make listing your achievements a daily practice in the New Year, suggests Korn Ferry Advance coach Valerie Olson. “This is a great way to build confidence and a sense of achievement every day,” she says. It’s also a good alternative to keeping a gratitude journal.

Learn from your losses.

Once you have a list of wins, consider tallying your losses. This shouldn’t be a masochistic exercise. Instead of looking at your setbacks in a negative light, take some time to think about what you learned from them. “We can learn more from loss and failure than from success, especially if we reflect on them and don’t beat ourselves up over setbacks,” Olson says. If you’re having trouble embracing your losses, Olson recommends reading biographies of famous people to understand the role failure can play in helping us reach our goals. 

Update your résumé and LinkedIn profile.

Once you’ve reflected on your successes for 2023, put them into action by updating your résumé and LinkedIn profile. “Regardless of your career plans, keeping your résumé up-to-date is much easier than trying to retrieve your accomplishments from years past,” Olson says.

Finish what you started.

Before leaving for a holiday break, evaluate your list of uncompleted projects and determine if any are close to the finish line. Completing a project or two before the year ends will give you a fresh start for 2024. “Now is the time to get serious about finishing smaller projects that have been on the back burner,” Olson says. 

One way to find time to complete unfinished work is to be intentional about scheduling your prioritized work—rather than allowing colleagues to dictate what you focus on each workday. Block out time for the projects you want to prioritize, says Korn Ferry Advance coach Michaela Buttler. “Then your schedule will build itself around those priorities, instead of you trying to fit them in whatever blocks are left over,” she says.

Invest in yourself.

Reflect on your interests, feedback from your manager and colleagues, and industry trends. Identify online courses and workshops that could contribute to your professional growth by developing one of your interests or teaching you a new skill that will help you advance in your career, Olson says. 


For more expert career advice, connect with a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance.