A New Year always encourages resolutions and new goals to obtain. By setting the bar high from the beginning you’ll ensure personal and professional growth, prepare your team (and peers) for success, and maximize opportunities. To help yourself in setting an elevated level of expectation, reflect on how you can level up any earlier attained goals without being too unrealistic. And remember, those resolutions and goals are only attainable if you consistently work towards them.

Greater Personal & Professional Growth

Setting goals or resolutions at a high expectation level can lead to greater personal and professional growth. Whether your goals are for a faster mile time or learning a new skill, consistently working towards your goal leads to greater mastery, efficiency, and discipline building. If failures occur (and they will), your learned discipline will help you move forward. You can also leverage failure as a learning opportunity for yourself and others as you share your experiences. The harder you work towards your goals, the greater the reward – whether it’s an emotional feeling, tangible accomplishment, or newly gained freedom.

Team & Peer Success

When you set high expectation levels, teams and peers also feel motivated and perform higher. You are creating an environment that bolsters confidence, builds morale and engagement, and creates patterns of success. In my business, I reiterate that your job should always be a place for growth. Gaining more responsibilities, receiving feedback, and learning new skills creates a growth mindset. When teammates see disciplined work behavior, newly learned skills, and high performance, they feel more empowered to learn and grow, too.

Maximize Opportunities

Setting elevated expectations for yourself means you’re more likely to maximize opportunities. As humans we are more capable than we think. Over the years I have missed opportunities because of fear of the unknown, miscalculated bandwidth, and lack of confidence. Leaning into vulnerabilities builds strength as you challenge yourself to reach higher goals. It opens opportunities that may have been missed.

It’s never too late to make changes in your life. Several years ago, something finally clicked for me. Therefore, I made changes in my professional and personal life, and it made me work harder, be humbler, and want to learn more. Ginni Rometty, former CEO of IBM, once said, “I learned to take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.” So, set your bar high and continue to chase after it.

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This article was originally posted on University of Mary Washington’s Women’s Leadership Colloquium blog on January 9, 2023.