Making New Year’s resolutions is the most popular end-of-year tradition in the Western world. By definition, those setting New Year’s resolutions often do so in order to continue successful or beneficial practices (eating healthy, for example), but New Year’s resolutions can also set the bar for new rituals, too. Overall, the goal of setting New Year’s resolutions is intended to improve one’s life beginning with the new year.
A recent poll found that forty-one percent of Americans set New Year’s resolutions, but only nine percent – less than one quarter of participants – report that they were able to set and keep their New Year’s goals throughout the year.
Most New Year’s resolutions have to do with physical fitness or perhaps ending a bad habit (quitting smoking is one of the most common; however, only four percent will maintain breaking the habit). However, since most resolutions are made with the intent of improving one’s life, wouldn’t it be important to make resolutions that could improve one’s overall success professionally, too?
Tons of books have been written on “successful habits.” TED talks describe habits people should adopt if they want to be successful professionally. If making New Year’s resolutions has to do with changing one’s habits for more positive ones, then perhaps our New Year’s resolutions should focus on changing habits that could be inhibiting our success in the workplace and at home as well.
1. Resolve to be better organized.
Likely, you know someone who spends hours each week looking for items such as keys, important paperwork, or even one’s cell phone. Perhaps this is a fitting description of yourself! If so, committing to changing one’s environment so that it is more organized is a New Year’s resolution that can have a profound effect on the level of success in your life.
Speaking of misplacing one’s keys, think about how this one thing can wreak havoc on your schedule. Being unable to find keys can make a person late for work or for important events. It sends one’s anxiety soaring, and it can be a buzzkill for one’s entire day. This area of organizing one’s life can be easily handled – simply designate one place where your keys are supposed to be when not in use, and don’t deviate from that. Do the same at work; place them in a particular drawer so that they can easily be found later.
Getting organized by setting up a place to hang (or otherwise store) one’s keys is quite simple. However, other aspects of organizing one’s space may be rather daunting.
Likely, organization will need to take place both in the office and at home. Benjamin Franklin said, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Go through your space. Throw out, recycle, or donate anything you don’t need. Designate areas for certain necessary items. Don’t be afraid to purchase and utilize storage containers or desk organizers. Develop a system for paperwork, and resolve to stick to that system.
Getting organized will take some time, but, the good news is that organization is fairly easy to maintain once its done. You’ll see an increase in productivity and a reduction in stress.
2. Learn how to organize time, as well.
Time management is almost synonymous with sustained success in all aspects of life. Time management isn’t about simply planning life around one’s work schedule. Successful time management is one part maximizing one’s productivity while working and one part finding time for hobbies or relaxation that can lead to decreased stress during the work day.
Elon Musk has shared that he has a set method of tackling tasks each day so that he maximizes productivity. He tackles emails first thing every morning, but he prioritizes which emails to answer (he knows which need his personal attention in order to keep other employees on task; he delegates others). Although Musk often works twelve or more hours each day, he does understand that he must set limits on his time in order to be most productive.
Another old adage states “All fun and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” This can be applied to successful business entrepreneurs as well. Set aside time to do something enjoyable each week, even if it is lounging in bed reading a good book. Resolve to answer no emails during this time and be accessible to the office only in emergency situations. You’ll be much more productive and successful if you do take time to balance life and work.
3. Find a mentor, and set scheduled times to discuss personal goals.
While an entrepreneur may have been in a particular business for multiple years, there is always someone out there who has already achieved the goals one wants to accomplish. A mentor or an accountability partner can assist you in meeting your entrepreneurial goals. A mentor can be someone with whom you discuss ideas. A mentor can also provide expertise in handling a wide array of business decisions.
A mentor in this sense works much like having a fitness trainer who checks in on you periodically. Individuals are much more likely to reach their personal goals when someone else is aware of said goals and holding your feet to the fire when it comes to sticking to those goals.
4. Resolve to attain that “someday” goal.
Have you ever said you’d participate in some activity or go after a particular dream “someday”? Make 2022 the year of your “someday.”
Your “someday” goal may be an international trip, or it may be opening that boutique store you’ve always dreamed of running. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that tomorrow is not promised. You’ll never know what you can accomplish if you never try, so start making steps to accomplish your “someday” goal.
5. Be grateful.
Attitude is everything! Each morning when we awake, we’re probably thinking how would could use a bit more sleep or dreading facing traffic as we make our way to the office.
Resolve to start each day with a grateful thought. Whether you are grateful to have a job or for good health or for something totally different, start your day with one positive, “thankful” thought. This can change your entire day, and, after a few months, you’ll notice a change in your overall attitude. This will also be evident at work, and your colleagues will note a beneficial change in you as well.
Making resolutions is a tradition, but making lifestyle changes can make a person more successful as well. Make these lifestyle changes for a truly “new year, new you.”