As we wrap up the final days of 2018 and begin a new year, many people take time to think about New Year's resolution ideas and goals to accomplish in 2019. While resolutions are a great way to look toward the new year with optimism, if you're like most people, that also means seeing those same resolutions fly out the window before January is over (if you're lucky).

Plan, action, and success street signs.

In the Masters of Engineering degree with a concentration in Information Engineering Management (IEM) program, we encourage our students to use the clean slate of a new year and time of resolution-making to think about the next steps for their professional career. Whether you're wanting to make a professional move like transitioning from engineer to manager, start your own company, or pursue professional development in your current position, these three tips will help you start the new year with purpose and action:

  1. Expand Your Knowledge
    One of the easiest resolutions to make is to establish a habit you can build daily. Likewise, one of the best ways to establish yourself as a leader is to take note of the expertise of other leaders. There's no shortage of leadership experts sharing their personal tips, theories, and lessons. Reading, listening and following these experts gives a new leadership related knowledge base outside of our own areas of expertise.

    If you decide to make a plan to read more in 2019, here are a few concrete ideas to help you work through your reading list and start applying these tips in your workplace.

    1. Make a written list. Do your research, find topics that pique your interest, and maybe even include some that you could benefit from even if they don't seem as interesting. If you need help, you can use this list that we've complied in a previous post. Don't forget to mark your books off your list as you finish them!
    2. Do it daily. Will you read for 20 minutes before bed? Can you substitute the radio to listen to an audiobook or podcast during your commute? Maybe find a quick article that you can finish during your lunch break. Once you set aside dedicated time in your schedule, picking up a book, or dialing up a podcast will eventually become a daily habit.
    3. Include others in your resolution. One quality of a leader is including others and giving them opportunities to grow alongside you. Talk to your boss or coworkers about the topics you're learning from, and even establish accountability by starting a book reading group or discuss the books over lunch or coffee.
  1. Build Your Network
    Many professionals make New Years resolutions to expand their networking opportunities in the new year. However, if you're an introverted personality type this may sound like a terrible idea. With the right plans and by taking small steps into building connections, you can easily establish a network. Stepping out of your comfort zone in this area may even encourage you to look to other goals you've been holding yourself back from accomplishing as well.
    1. Find a variety of events.  Large conferences aren't the only place to make business connections. The professional organizations in your area most likely host a variety of events such as lunch and learns, happy hours, or other outings that take the pressure off of just having business conversations.
    2. Attend one event a month. Once you find the event that fits your professional and personal niche, challenge yourself to attend at least one event a month. If you attend regularly, others will begin to remember your face, giving you an easy way to build a professional connection.
  1. Establish Your Purpose
    Resolutions become a trap when they are too generic, impossible to measure, and don't come with accomplishable steps to see progress. 2019 can be the year that you find your purpose in your professional and personal life, whether you want to get a promotion, start a business, change careers, write a book, run a marathon, move to new city, or even start your graduate education. No matter what you see yourself doing this year - you will accomplish it best with intentional action.
    1. Set a goal. Many people spend years waiting for the next best thing to happen - without realizing that maybe they don't even know what they're waiting for. By making an attainable and realistic goal with a pinnacle to accomplish, you'll be able to create a path to start seeing it come to fruition.
    2. Know the steps. Once you know your goal, you can take a long term view at what you need, and need to do, to make it happen. Accomplishing something new may require new ways of thinking and managing your time, relationships, and even your finances.
    3. Take action. You've got a goal. You have plans. The next step - is to take the first step. Set your alarm early, read the book, go for the run, have the conversations, apply for the program, interview for the job. Do the first step and then repeat. Do the next right thing, every day until one day you've run the race, gotten the promotion, or even walked across the stage at commencement.

You may already have clear plans with detailed action items, or you may just be in the beginning stages of coming up with hopes and dreams for what you plan to accomplish in the next 365 days. Wherever you are in this dreaming and scheming process, my personal hope is that 2019 will be the year that you can set goals, take action and see the progress as you move forward in life.

At IEM, we see your potential and we want to maximize it. We want to show you your options for growth, and most importantly support you as you grow and meet your goals. Fill out the form on this page to schedule a time to talk or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Let us help you find the funding you need to set your path to a technical or engineering management career.

About IEM

The Master of Engineering with a concentration in Information Engineering Management (IEM) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a specialized concentration designed primarily for engineers and people in technical positions. The concentration presents business systems and soft skills in a curriculum that is based on actual engineering industry needs and is offered completely online.