The new year is traditionally a time of looking forward and reflecting on changes you want to make in your life, taking stock of your current situation and setting new goals. The same concepts apply to your professional life. How can you be happier in your work and make 2012 a great year? Here are some goals I’ve set for myself—I hope these ideas will get the ball rolling for you.

Create a solution
In the current economy, almost everyone is being asked to do more with less, but hard work with long hours over an extended period can lead to mistakes and burnout. Instead, take the initiative to find solutions—is there something you can do to improve workflow or build in efficiencies? Take a look at the old ways of doing things with fresh eyes and see what you come up with!

Stretch and grow
The world evolves quickly; a true professional stays ahead of the curve. What new skills are you targeting for FY2012? These can be in a technical accounting area (the ever-changing rules of the SEC and FASB provide plenty of opportunities for keeping your skills fresh), and can also be in nontechnical areas such as time management, people management or even learning to blog! Learning new things can also renew enthusiasm about your work.

Communicate honestly
Frustrated by interactions with a co-worker? One of your teammates not pulling their weight? Forecast information not making sense? We all face situations where it is difficult to have a frank, open conversation; it takes courage to bring up a thorny issue, sit down and have an honest conversation about it. While not pleasant in the moment, I find that having a difficult conversation usually leads to better understanding and smoother working relationships in the future.

Build good relationships
Is there something you can do to better support your colleagues? Are you proactive? Do you meet your commitments? Or maybe this is the year to make some inroads in expanding your networking activities—it can be a great energy boost, and who knows who you might get to know!

What are you going to do to make 2012 the best year yet? I’d love to hear your own resolutions—just post a comment below.