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Every year, some 45 million Americans go on a diet hoping to make good on the No. 1 new year’s resolution of losing weight and getting healthier. The new year is also a good time to put your career on a “90-day diet”--a three-month plan to recharge professionally and adopt new lifelong habits.
A holistic “career diet” will improve your chances of sticking with your resolutions well beyond the rest who abandon their good intentions by the second week of February.
When undertaking any major change, you need to assess where you are now. For dieters that means body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. Careers, too, have their own health statistics which come together in your (CMI) – Career Momentum Index. Here are a few questions to consider for measuring your CMI:
If you’re honest with yourself, the answers to these question may be quite sobering. Maybe you’ve settled into complacency, which can creep up on you without warning: just like those 15 pounds you gained without really knowing when. Same thing for your career. You’re in the same job, passed over for promotion. You become sluggish and unmotivated.
But it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight and get healthier or your career in shape, the parallels are unmistakable: you need discipline and new habits. And, just like you have a gym membership to get your body into shape, you need a plan and coaching to get your career into shape.
Your Homework: A Good Look in the Mirror
You must be self-aware and gain perspective about yourself: your strengths and weaknesses, your skills and experiences, what you’re passionate about, your sense of purpose, what motivates you, and how you can make a greater difference to your current or future employer.
An assessment of who you are and what you bring to your job can be viewed through four lenses: traits, drivers, competencies, and experiences. Here’s a quick look at each and how you can gain deeper insight into who you are and what you do:
Who You Are:
What You Do:
Your Stretch Assignment
In addition to self-assessing, you can take the next step into greater self-knowledge by taking a formal assessment. A career coach can administer this to you, or you can find resources online.
Another way is to get 360-degree feedback on how people see you. Ask your current and past bosses, colleagues, and others who work with you. Tell them you want honest input on your strengths and areas where you need development. A good question to ask a former boss is: “If I were working for you now, what position would you see me in?”
Self-Knowledge to Success
With better self-knowledge through honest self-assessment, you’ll be on your way to a getting your career in shape. But don’t mistake the assessment for the end goal: It’s not just the insight you gain, but what you do with it--just like having a gym membership and buying new running shoes won’t guarantee you’ll reach your fitness goals and unless you use them! The key to the 90-Day Career Diet is becoming disciplined and developing new habits that empower you to attain and sustain greater career success.
Step 1: Learn About Yourself
A version of this article appears on Forbes.com.