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Now that you have your holiday decorations put away and sent home the last of your out-of-town relatives, it’s time to focus on your goals for the upcoming year. Whether you’re making personal or career-related goals, it’s an excellent time to get introspective and find areas for improvement.

Each year, people make vows to hit the gym daily, call their parents weekly, and scale back their trips to In-N-Out burger to once a month. Realistically, many New Year’s resolutions are often a distant memory by week two.

So, how do you pick a goal that you can maintain? That’s where we come in. We’ve put together a list of New Year’s Resolutions for engineers that will help you to increase your productivity and make 2016 your best year yet.

Learn a new skill

Whether you’re an engineer who works contracts or fulltime positions, adaptability is key to finding your next role. In the Silicon Valley engineering market, it’s not uncommon for particular programming languages to lose popularity, while others become more prevalent. When you put all your eggs in one ultra-specialized basket, you may find that there are less opportunities available in the future. Maximize your chances of finding your next contract by keeping your knowledge base up-to-date. If you’re committed to learning a new skill, but not sure which one to choose, we put together a list of technologies to learn in 2016. There are plenty of resources online to help you to learn a new skill, such as Python, Ruby on Rails, or Node.js.

Create solid engineering habits

Building good engineering habits isn’t just for recent CS grads. Engineers at all levels can take steps towards strengthening their skills. What makes a good engineer great? Find tasks that are easily automatable, and then automate them. Test your code often to make debugging a more seamless process. Create code that could be easily understood and used if passed along to a colleague—including adding comments on non-obvious lines of code. Understand where your work fits into the full stack, and adapt it where necessary to fit the needs of the project. Whatever habit you choose, work on it until it becomes second nature. Once you’ve conquered one habit, start tackling the next!

Declutter the clutter

In big companies, it’s not uncommon for engineers to share tight spaces, which makes keeping your space organized super important. Whether it’s the stack of papers on your desk, or the mixture of receipts and empty water bottles in your backpack, it’s time to clean it up. Eliminating the clutter from your work space will clear up the distractions. There’s really no better way to give yourself a fresh start.

Commit to a healthy lifestyle

Start by making small healthy hacks in your daily routine. Exercising in the morning before work can help you to stay focused throughout the day. Instead of having two or three large meals each day, try more frequent and smaller meals to keep your energy up. If you need a break from your computer in the middle of the day, invite your colleagues on a walk outside. This not only gets you a few minutes of exercise, but also gives you the opportunity to collaborate with your fellow engineers. Make an effort to get sufficient sleep, which will keep you sharp and ready to take on the day. Each of these habits can help you to focus better and increase your productivity. Here are a few more tips towards making 2016 your healthiest year yet.

Resolve to make 2016 your best year yet. It’s as easy as setting a simple, realistic goal, and taking small steps to achieve it. The difference between good engineers and great engineers is the willingness to keep pushing themselves to be better, no matter how many years they’ve been doing it.

If you have any tips you’d like to share for engineers who want to make 2016 their most productive year to date, write a comment below!

Looking for a new contract? ERG posts new contracts and permanent jobs on our job board daily. Head on over to jobs.erginc.com, and use our Quick Apply button to submit your resume for consideration.

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