I don't know about you, but I always have a hard time switching gears once the holidays are over. Even with all of the hustle, bustle, and stress of the holidays, it's a more relaxed time to see family and friends and not think about the usual everyday commitments for a few days. Most of us have at least a few days off, if not the whole week between Christmas and New Year's, and even if your schedule is completely full as mine somehow was, it's still a different stress than the regular workday concerns. And this year, in our family we had the added bonus of a wedding on New Year's Day, so things were even more hectic than usual.

But, sooner or later we have to return to work. I think the idea is to be more energized and ready to go than we were before we left, though I think I'll actually go back to work more tired and worn out than I was prior to Christmas!

Unless there's a big meeting or project scheduled, I usually give myself a few days to mentally readjust to being back at work. I clean out my files, wade through the folders on my desk that have accumulated in the last year, and do my best to start out with a clean slate. My favorite part of the new year is starting my new calendar. There's something very satisfying and promising about seeing those empty white boxes. They're not yet full of commitments, meetings, and various reminders, and I always think, even for a short time, that things will be less hectic than they were last year. Or even if they're not, I'll be better organized and ready to tackle them this time around.

It's also a good time to start planning for the new year. Most of us make resolutions like losing a good bit of weight or quitting smoking, but rather than personal resolutions, think about what you want to accomplish this year professionally. This could be the year to start a new career path or increase your skills to get a promotion. Just like your resolution, don't get in over your head. Pick small things that you can do that can better your work experience. Don't set your sights on being named CEO of the company if you just started as a receptionist last week. Make the commitment to working your way up the ladder and you just might meet your goal, though most likely not in the next twelve months.

If you're getting ready to gear up your job search, it's the perfect time to get moving and take it seriously. Revamp that resume, put your cover letter together, and create a few profiles on job search sites. Get the word out in your network that you're looking and hopefully get a few leads. I always feel optimistic at the start of a new year, and if you get in a positive frame of mind, you can keep up the momentum and hopefully land a great new job in 2010.

Happy New Year!