It's almost the end of the year. A time for self-reflection, performance reviews, and planning.

With all of this focus on self-reflection and planning, why do only 8% of people achieve their New Year's resolutions? Research indicates that people tend to dream big, but don't start small. People often have lofty, ambiguous goals like "lose weight" or "eat healthy" but don't put an actionable routine in place to achieve their goals.

If you're a marketer looking to make the most of the rest of the days left in the month, this article is for you.

The Steps You Can Take to Finish the Year Strong

1. Revamp your online bios

When was the last time you did an audit of all the places you can be found online, and determined if they were up-to-date? The most common time for people to update their profiles is when they have a job change, or if they come across something that needs updating. However, now is your chance to be proactive about your online presence.

There are other benefits to updating your social media profiles, beyond simply putting your best and most-relevant self forward. By making a profile change, it can update your status keeping you top-of-mind within your network. With Google and other search engines, updating a website page can notify Google that you're putting the effort toward keeping your content fresh, giving you a few brownie points with their search engine algorithm ranking.

Want tips on updating your online biographies? Depending on the online site, consider adding anything from a brief introduction to yourself, accomplishments or awards, projects you're involved with, passions, and the best place for someone to find you online.

Here are some online biographies you should consider updating:

  • Personal website
  • A biography page hosted through your company's website
  • Twitter biography
  • Quora profile
  • Inbound.org profile
  • Clarity.fm profile
  • Zerply.com

Share in the comments below if we missed a major one that you think needs updating. (Yes, we also considered including online dating profiles and if that applies to you then here are some tips to updating yours.)

2. Upgrade your LinkedIn profile

What were your most notable accomplishments from the past year? Has anything happened or changed that is worth documenting? While not every year is met with distinguishable improvements, that doesn't mean that progress isn't worth documenting. If you haven't been keeping up with your LinkedIn profile for the past year, now is a great time to get ahead of the next year.

Not sure what to add? We recommend making sure you have the most up-to-date professional headshot, job role and any awards or certifications you’ve received. A staff member at LinkedIn previously shared that profiles which have certifications added to it result in 6x more profile views than the average user.

Want to really revamp your profile? Here are some helpful articles about getting the most out of your page, and LinkedIn's algorithm:

3. Fill in for co-workers who are taking vacation time off

Do you have a team member that's taking time off before the New Year? Are you looking for more opportunities and/or responsibility? Asking to fill in for a team member while they're out is a great win-win situation. You'll be a helpful team player while getting a taste of what their job entails, and they're able to enjoy their vacation without any apprehension.

This task which is usually too difficult or stressful to attempt, becomes a manageable growth opportunity as your own workload may be lighter during the holiday season.

4. See how you can improve your performance and request a new-year evaluation

Do you want to know how you're doing at work? Do you want to know what you should improve to receive a raise or a promotion?

Too many employees make the mistake of waiting for an annual review to find out how they're doing. While a great leader will be giving you feedback on a consistent basis, if you haven't had a pulse check on your professional progress in a while, now is a great time.

Looking for tips on how to ask, or what to get out of it? This KellyServices article covers the basics.

5. Make yourself more valuable and brush up on your marketing skills

Brushing up on basic skills is an important part of professional development, but it can often take a backseat to the demands of our careers. Tuck some time away while things are slow in the office and invest in yourself.

There are plenty of marketing trainings, courses, certification courses and books available for professional growth. A bonus for some of the paid items like books is that your leader may be more inclined to invest in these if they can help use up some end of month budget, and eventually be added to the company's library.

Protip: If you do brush up on your skills with one of the methods mentioned above, go the extra mile by writing down your major takeaways and learnings and sharing them with the rest of your team. By doing this, you're sharing your knowledge with the team and helping the quality of the team grow. And doing that, is a leadership quality. Want an extra boost from this? Going above and beyond by re-purposing the content and publishing it in the form of a blog post for the world to see and enjoy.

6. Keep a pulse on the industry and schedule informational interviews

An informational interview is a type of meeting to discuss one person’s career, industry, and the culture of their company with intent for the listener to learn more about the industry, company culture and positions available.

Even if you love your job, these can be a beneficial activity as it can act as positive reinforcement that everything is going perfectly swell for you, or it can give you insight into a few things you may want to consider addressing. Checking in regularly is a healthy way to make sure you're happy at your job and not just settling in with the more comfortable route.

To get started with informational interviews,we recommend tapping into your network. Email colleagues you know that love the company they work for and find out why. Search through your LinkedIn connections for people who do something similar to you at another, and see if they’re opening to having a conversation. Lastly, if you feel your network is too weak for the methods mentioned above, try looking at websites like Glassdoor and AngelList (for startup-focused jobs) to see what is available.

Are you secretly nervous about being a little awkward in your informational interviews? Here’s a great article full of tips to make sure you rock each and every one.

7. Start documenting your career growth in a journal/online notebook

If you're the type that likes to focus on personal development, tracking your life, or you enjoy viewing the chronological timeline that Facebook creates for you -- then this is a habit worth adopting.

By documenting your life, you’re able to better process what is happening which can lead to more reflection. According to recent research published by the Harvard Business School, people don’t learn from their experiences, they learn from reflecting on their experience. Reflection helps you become more mindful about your actions, learn from your mistakes and it provides more perspective on your actions - helping you to continuously grow as an individual.

For almost three years I've been tracking my professional and personal life. When looking back, it’s easy to see how far I've come in a year, how my thinking has changed and everything beautiful that comes out of the learning/growing pains. I use these daily notes about my life to reflect and learn, and even share on my personal blog so I can remind myself of how far I have come and continue to progress forward.

If you’re looking for a method of tracking, there are plenty of tools available. Here are just a few:

Did we miss one? Add your marketing career must-do in the comments below.

HubSpot Academy - Grow your business, and your career.

Originally published Dec 17, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated November 30 2017