Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So let’s make a pact to do things differently to ultimately achieve better results.

Now that the new year has come and gone and the season for goal-setting has come and gone too, let’s take some time to track our progress and regroup. There’s no time like the present to tackle your ambitions head-on by changing things up.

1. Rely on an accountability partner

This could be a peer, friend or spouse, but colleagues or mentors tend to work best with work-related goals. For instance, if you want to learn C++, create mini-goals, write it down and most importantly, tell your peer partner. Check in with each other every other week and be sure to get her or him to commit to his or her own goals as well.

2. Reconnect with one dormant contact every month

Adam Grant, Wharton professor and best-selling author of “Give and Take,” explains: “Research shows that the people you used to know are more helpful sources of advice than the people you know right now. Your former colleague and your college roommate have been learning new things and meeting different people in the past few years, so they can open up access to novel ideas and opportunities.”

3. Do more five-minute favors

Yes, paying it forward truly makes a difference. Grant says: “Many of us hold back on helping others because we can’t be Mother Teresa or Gandhi, but the reality is that many acts of generosity can be done in five minutes or less. As the serial entrepreneur Adam Rifkin points out, meaningful five-minute favors include an introduction between two people who could benefit from knowing each other and a note to acknowledge and appreciate someone whose work normally goes unrecognized.”

4. Show your vulnerability

Selena Soo, publicity strategist, says full-time employees can express vulnerability by admitting their shortcomings. “Ideally, this is not something they are in the midst of,” she says. “It is something they have worked through. For example, when a company leader shares how they overcame their fear of public speaking, this inspires other people to do the same.”

5. Build a deep relationship with your audience

Soo says showing your vulnerability builds a strong relationship with an audience, whether you share your story in your newsletters, blog posts or on social media. “By publicly sharing the struggles you have faced, you can connect emotionally with the people who are in the midst of the struggles that have found your way successfully out of. By using storytelling in your newsletters, blog posts or on social media to share the imperfect moments of your journey, you become more relatable and you gain credibility because you found your way to the other side. This is part of how you can build a deep relationship with your readers or audience. They are looking for more than your product or service – they want to feel connected to you.”

6. Write about leaders with which you want to be affiliated

If you have a blog or newsletter to build your personal brand, you don’t need to only center it on yourself. Soo’s advice? Write about or interview people who you admire. “This can build your relationship with them by exposing them to your audience and highlighting the amazing work they do. Plus, when you write about other people, you naturally get affiliated with them.”

7. Take an online class

“Learn about something new that excites you or resurrect an old interest and find a course online,” says Sunil Sani, co-founder of CareerGlider, a site marrying career paths with schools and curricula to meet career goals.

8. Create a timeline associated with your goals

Although it’s one thing to write a list of goals, it’s another to add a timeline to them. Sani says: “Sometimes writing out your plan puts it into perspective and by creating a timeline, your goals become more attainable and you hold yourself accountable to achieving those goals.”

9. After a job interview, send a handwritten note instead of an email

Sani says: “This may take a few days longer but it lets your interviewer know that you care and while everyone else is just clicking ‘reply,’ you’re taking the time to write a personalized note.”

10. Add personality to your résumé by including hobbies and interests

Here’s why: Companies want to know more about you than just your work history. “Maybe you’re a champion bowler or maybe you’ve raised thousands for your local parish,” Sani says. These things will make you stand out, plus they serve as talking points during the interview. “Besides, people want to hire someone they can see themselves chatting with at the water cooler.”

11. Build your LinkedIn profile for the job you want, not the job you have

Ed Fleischman, founder and CEO of The Execu|Search Group, an executive recruiting firm, mentions that a lot of people don’t necessarily understand how “truly impactful” their LinkedIn profile can be. “A lot of people make the mistake of just listing the basics on their profile, and they’re doing themselves a disservice,” he says. “To do this, it’s important to get creative with your headline by creating one that best describes who you are as an overall professional and make sure your profile is more than a résumé. Upload work samples and write a bio that says what your résumé can’t, such as your career plans for the future and what your professional goals are.”

12. Get more involved with your industry

This speaks volumes about your dedication to your career, Fleischman says. “Whether you join industry associations or create a blog on Tumblr about your industry, it shows potential employers that you care about advancing your career and want to have a voice within your industry.”

13. Change your mindset about networking

If you’ve ever looked at an evening networking event as a hassle since it involves time outside the office, you’re automatically behind the game. Instead, look at it as time well spent. Fleischman suggests looking at networking events as an “opportunity to find your next big career opportunity.” This involves stepping outside your comfort zone to research attendees before arriving at the event and walking into the event with prepared talking points.

14. Learn a new skill

If you’re looking to advance within your current company, Flesichman recommends finding a skill gap within your company and becoming the resident expert on that topic. “Showing that you are proactive by educating yourself on a new or changing business trend is a quality that all employers value.”

Written by Vicki Salemi, author, public speaker, columnist and career expert   |   Originally published on U.S. News