01/05/2012 05:41 pm ET Updated Mar 06, 2012

Career Advice: 9 Ways to Achieve Happiness and Success in 2012

The New Year has begun, and in case you haven't noticed, resolutions are everywhere. From losing weight to starting an exercise regimen to quitting smoking, there are a myriad of promises the media is enticing you to make.

You know the drill -- most resolutions fail after a few weeks because people don't enact the necessary lifestyle changes to make them permanent. Just like a fad diet, if you don't adopt healthy eating as a way of life it's really hard to lose weight permanently.

So I'm letting you off the hook for New Year career resolutions and I give you permission to take small and purposeful steps towards a career that will bring you happiness and fulfillment playing to your strengths. All I want you to keep in mind is that you deserve to be happy in your career and you alone are in control of your career destiny. You don't have to let your career happen by default, and you should relish the fact that you can always change your mind and start something new. Thriving in a career should not be a resolution but a given for all and I give you permission to own this concept and make it happen in a way that works for you.

In the spirit of new beginnings -- sans the pressure of a full-blown resolution -- here are some tips to consider as you design your career destiny and really consider what you want professionally in 2012.

SLIDESHOW: 9 Ways To Be Happier In Your Career in 2012:


It all starts with acknowledging that you deserve to be fulfilled in your career. Think of your job quest or career reinvention as a life journey and not a quick fix resolution. Say what you want out loud, share it with others and write it down to confirm your convictions but always know that you have the power to change your mind. By taking control of your career destiny you will never let it happen by default and you can be more in control of your happiness. That's an exciting and feasible concept for everyone this New Year.

Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book "This Is Not the Career I Ordered" and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name ( She is also the Director of Career & Professional Development and Adjunct Faculty at Indiana University Maurer School of Law and she hosts the national CBS Radio Show Career Coach Caroline on Tuesdays at 5pm