Another year, another chance to fix the mistakes from last, and to improve on oneself. Let’s talk about New Years resolutions!
Write out your New Year’s resolutions, to make them real, and you will restore, revitalize and renew your spirit to take advantage of all the possibilities of the new year.
May your New Year’s resolutions help you make this year your best year ever.
10 New Year’s Resolutions
Do something you love to do, and that you do best every single day. In their landmark book, “First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently.” Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman of the Gallup organization discovered this critical factor in interviews with 80,000 managers. For their interviews, they narrowed down the questions asked to the twelve that most clearly appeared to define happy, motivating, productive workplaces.
These were the first three:
- Do I know what is expected of me at work?
- Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
- At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
People who could affirmatively answer these questions were more likely to be happy and productive at work. Get passionate about your work. Do something you do best every day.
Do something just for you every single day. As a manager or business professional, you can get caught up in doing for others during every minute of your workday.
If you have family members who occupy the off-work hours, this problem is compounded.
Resolve to set time aside for yourself every day to exercise, relax, reflect, meditate, cook a gourmet dinner, eat ice cream, write in a journal, garden, walk your pet or do any other activity that takes your fancy. Just make sure that the activity is different from what you already do all day long. You will feel as if you have a life—because you will have a life.
Give yourself credit and a pat on the back when you deserve it. In the Gallup study cited earlier, this question defined the most productive workplaces. People who had received praise or recognition for their work in the past seven days were more happy and productive.
In this era of empowered employees and broad spans of managerial control, you are less likely to have frequent interaction with your boss. Thus, it is important that you recognize yourself for excellent efforts. One way to do this is to keep a file of positive notes, thank you letters and reminders of successful ventures.
Online links to recognition deserve a bookmark, too. You can call this file “Recognition” or “Neat Things” or another name that is near and dear to you. Stop to assess your success after each project you complete.
Strive to learn something new every single day. It is easy to get bogged down in the same old, same old. Read an article; discuss a new approach with a colleague; research what other organizations are doing on the web. The opportunities for learning are multiplying every day in this information age.
Read voraciously to continue to learn and grow. Aim to read a couple of business books a month plus periodicals, online journals and the “Wall Street Journal” daily. You may not always reach that goal, but it’s always there to challenge you to learn and continue to grow.
Try to read widely and broadly. Get out of the business books once in awhile to see how other subjects enhance your point of view. The “Black Swan” is an example, “Freakonomics” is another. “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” is a third such choice.
You can even schedule a book club around a book that you and your department want to read. Sharing the concepts learned with colleagues and applying them to your department or organization cements the learning. Oldies but goodies include Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, “First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently”, or you can choose newer books such as “Victory Through Organization: Why the War for Talent is Failing Your Company and What You Can Do About It” by Dr. Dave Ulrich.
Make professional contacts and network. Look up colleagues with whom you have lost touch. Make sure that you attend at least one professional meeting each month. You will benefit from the friendships and relationships you develop from active participation in networking. It is not enough to join—you need to show up and join in.
You need to participate in reaping the rewards from professional collaboration. Read “Dig the Well Before You’re Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need” by Harvey McKay, the king of networking. When you dig past the surface glitz, there are terrific ideas about constantly and rewardingly networking in this book.
Practice professional courage by stepping out of your comfort zone. You know when you are in your comfort zone. An issue occurs. You hear yourself making up excuses in your mind about why you don’t need to speak, or why taking a stand on an issue will get you in trouble.
Just once, when you find yourself in this situation, state what you are actually thinking. After the shock wears off, coworkers will admire you. It is so important that organization members provide honest feedback and participate in needed conflict to improve your products or services for customers.
Once you have begun breaking through your self-imposed barriers, you will find that stating your mind gets easier and easier. Why? Because you will find, you survived the experience. In fact, your career may thrive as a result of you leaving your comfortable home.
Most people who practice professional courage expected the worst but found they were rewarded for their new stance. If you find yourself getting beaten up instead, perhaps it’s time to look for different employment. After all, wouldn’t you rather work where you can safely speak your mind?
Listen more than you talk. The adage about one mouth and two ears is true. As a manager, you spend much of your time in problem-solving activities and efforts. Plan this year, to listen to all that your coworkers are saying; they may want a sounding board, not advice or problem solving.
You may find you don’t have to take the monkeys on your back. Your listening may empower them to solve their problems. When they feel completely heard out and listened to, they are more likely to move from stuck to action. In Stephen Covey’s words, seek first to understand, and then to be understood.
Develop a method to track your life goals, your daily engagements, and your to-do list. Using a planner, whether in Microsoft Office Outlook, Google Calendar or on your smartphone, allows you to empty much of the daily detail from your mind.
The Fitbit or another personal exercise tracker can help you keep track of steps, calories consumed, weight, sleep, and exercise. This is handy for tracking your more personal goals.
Dumping the information into a tracker gives your mind room for more critical thinking. Whether you choose a paper method or an electronic method, tracking your daily activities against your most important goals is critical. You do want to ensure you accomplish your most important priorities. Right?
Take up a new hobby or activity this year. Maybe this is the year you begin your collection. A coworker recently renewed his interest in amateur radio. (Unfortunately, he told his wife, “We don’t have enough antennas—big antennas!) Several other colleagues write cooking websites.
If something has always intrigued you and piqued your interest, resolve to take the first steps in participating this year. You’ll add a new dimension to your world. It will positively interact with your business success.
If you wait until next year to pursue your interest, next year will come on schedule and you’ll find that you’re not a single step closer. Do it now.
Take yourself a little less seriously. As you strive for business success, you can get bogged down in serious deliberation, advising and problem solving. Take time to laugh. Take time to smell cookies and bread baking. Make sure that you laugh about something every single day.
Smile when you hear stories about what all of your crazy employees are doing; you don’t need to be the mom or dad all of the time. Enjoy them for all their little quirks and differences. Appreciate the different strengths, skills, and experiences they bring to work. You can warmly appreciate their contributions at any time of the year.
You are warmly wished a happy, healthy, prosperous, outstanding new year as you adopt these New Year’s resolutions and add a few more of your own.