By Hellen Hong
The end of the year is an excellent time for reflection and identifying areas for growth for the new year. Instead of listing the same annual resolutions that are often redundant from past years, why not try something different?
First, think back to your accomplishments in 2023, both personally and professionally. What are you most proud of this year? It’s important to acknowledge that each year has been challenging in different ways after three years of the pandemic. Take time to recognize what you achieved that you hadn’t been able to do or maybe did differently. Write it down and celebrate it!
Now, what do you want 2024’s checklist to look like? Naming goals helps keep you accountable and doesn’t have to be overwhelming. As attorneys, we are business leaders, community members, and family members. What would make you better in a role you have or want to have?
Here is a quick checklist of professional and personal goals you may want to consider.
- Identify a professional goal you’d like to accomplish or improve upon. These can be big or small, and here are a few suggestions that I’ve done and found helpful in my career:
- Write an article about something you care about, and you can submit it to the CLA eNews, the Daily Journal, or another legal or news publication.
- Revamp or update your LinkedIn profile, firm profile, and marketing materials. Highlight the 2023 accomplishments you identified.
- Take a class or a new topic that interests you or that you want to improve in. You can make it fun—take an improv or acting class if you want to think on your feet or improve your confidence. I took an accounting class at UCLA when I wanted to improve my financial acumen as an executive. Our learning doesn’t always have to be legal, and I think when we strengthen our management, leadership, and financial skills, we will be better lawyers and businesspeople.
- Expand your network.
- Reach out to someone you admire and ask if they’d be open to coffee.
- Outside of joining another legal group, consider volunteering for a nonprofit board or doing pro bono work at a clinic or with a reputable group. You may meet other people outside your network and learn about a new practice area while also serving the community.
- Ask for feedback from a trusted mentor, colleague, or judge.
- Plan a vacation. It helps to look forward to something, and people who care for themselves can better show up professionally.
- Identify something to take away. We often keep on adding work, responsibilities, and engagements. Is there something you can stop doing?
- Identify a new positive habit you can do. It can be small, like mindfully walking your dog every morning, taking three deep breaths three times a day, or identifying something you’re grateful for each day.
Write it down and schedule an email to yourself in three to six months! We hope your 2024 checklist is a success.
Hellen Hong is the CEO of CalBar Affinity, which operates CalBar Connect. CalBar Connect is a CLA member benefits provider that offers exclusive discounts and special deals on goods and services for California attorneys. All net revenues from CalBar Connect fund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, civics engagement efforts, and support legal aid organizations and fellowships for law students and new lawyers through programs through CLA and California Lawyers Foundation.