At the end of every year we are somehow inclined to turn over a new leaf and try to change something in life. When the dial is reset and we are given the opportunity for another 365 days, we think that it would be good to make some shift, start a new habit and “refresh”.
Although this urge is positive and natural and, as positive psychology teaches us, it is important to set goals and strive to achieve something from the range of benefits that this can bring us, so-called “New Year’s resolutions” often fail. Already after a month, two weeks or even two days.
What is the reason for that?
We don’t even know what we want in our New Year’s resolutions
If we haven’t thought about it well, we are often not even sure what would actually be good for us so we follow the people around us or popular trends. We decide to try the new diet that is a hit right now or go skiing even though we are not really interested in it.
The goals should be only ours, in the sense that it really is something that we are motivated to achieve and that is in line with our interests and values. For that, however, we need to think and get to know ourselves first.
We set overarching New Year’s goals
When we know what we want, we are often not precise enough. Research in positive psychology has shown that the more specific we are about what we want, the greater the chance that we will achieve it.
There is a big difference between the goal “I want a degree” and the goal “I want a postgraduate degree in project management at …”. We need to research the topic enough and then decide what exactly would suit us best because only then we will be motivated enough to persevere.
Let’s be realistic in New Year’s resolutions
At the beginning of the year, our appetites increase and we have big dreams:
“This year I will earn a million dollars! Practice yoga five times a week! Run a marathon!”
It’s all great if we’re already earning quite a bit of money now, practicing yoga 3 times a week and running long distances. Then these may be achievable goals.
If we don’t belong to that category though, it’s a lot smarter to start with the smaller one. We need to find a good ratio of something that motivates us, and yet it is not too demanding to achieve. So we will have a much better chance of success, and once we achieve that, we can always set ourselves a new more demanding level.
Like many other things in life, it depends on us how wise we will be when making decisions and setting goals. Fortunately, positive psychology has already studied what works and what doesn’t, and if we follow its principles, our chances of success are many times higher!
Bryce Sanders, President of Perceptive Business Solutions and author of “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” for the Business Journal, makes 10 suggestions for New Year’s resolutions to improve your business life.
- Arrive at the office an hour early
Imagine what you could do if you had one extra hour!
Now you can. Leaving home earlier may also avoid the biggest traffic jams. You will come before others. There is no ringing of the phone or other people wanting your attention to solve their problems. An extra hour just for you and your creativity.
What you get: one extra hour over more than 240 business days means you’ve found 240 extra hours a year! That is, it is 30 additional eight-hour working days or even 6 additional working weeks. Is it that hard?
- Go to lunch
It seems sensible and logical (and cheaper!) to bring lunch from home and do more work, right?
No, for several reasons this is completely wrong! As a businessman, flashes of inspiration will appear in amazing and unexpected moments. Usually just when you are away from your desk. If your job involves finding customers, a regular lunch in the same place as your target customers puts you in the right place at the right time and increases your chances of success.
What you get: you meet new people.
They get to know what you are doing.
They ask questions.
You offer answers to their needs.
- Keep a business diary
You probably write a business plan every year. Which could very easily end up in a drawer.
And that plan of yours probably measures only the end result, the financial performance indicators, but not the effort that has been put into achieving that result. Let your business diary look at what all went well in the process, what was all bad and why, what lessons you learned and what you did to get closer to that goal.
What you get: on most days, the “good stuff” category will have far more entries. You will feel valuable and successful. From what was bad you will learn and you will know how to prevent and correct mistakes in the future.
- Contact your best customers / clients in the first quarter of the year
What you get: you strengthen relationships. You are proactive, you put yourself in front of clients, some of whom make decisions about doing extra business with you.
- Delegate whenever possible
You need employees for this decision.
We are often prone to rationalization like Napoleon and others: “If you want to do something right, do it yourself.” Instead, ask yourself: “What projects / activities do I and no one but me have to do?” Certain tasks require legitimate delegation.
What you get: you are not as necessary as you thought. This will free up more time and you will be able to focus on key issues / tasks that you need to solve.
- Make a plan for the next day
Before leaving the office the details of today are still fresh.
After dinner and a good night’s sleep, it probably won’t be on your mind anymore. Write a short plan and prioritize tomorrow’s activities.
What you get: if you come to the office knowing exactly what you want to accomplish that day you will be more productive from the very beginning of the day. There will, of course, be things that will interrupt you or show up unplanned, but you’re definitely starting out in advantages.
- Keep the table tidy
Ideally this should be the case before going home and when arriving at the office the next morning. You will be more productive, but you will also show professionalism.
What you get: you should be more productive because you’ll find things easier on a neat table. And you will remove all distractions.
- Add new customers
Research is the most unpopular part of work for many people.
Your best clients are someone else’s best potential clients. Clients can change jobs, retire, die… Weakening takes its toll. Have a plan for the growth and development of your business. And you could start by asking your best clients for recommendations. Communicate.
What you get: if you’re always busy, your customers may conclude and assume you’re full of work and don’t have room for more. If you let them know that you have the capacity for new clients and jobs they may recommend you and connect you with others.
Invest time in editing your LinkedIn profile to make it work for you.
The average LinkedIn user spends 9.8 minutes a day on that network, compared to a Facebook user who spends an average of 50.1 minutes a day there.
LinkedIn is a tool designed for business and professional use. Many of its features are free. In those ten minutes a day that users spend on LinkedIn, your site must be attractive enough to attract and retain attention.
What you get: make a plan for how LinkedIn can bring you either more jobs or a better job. Spend some time online every day, stay up to date, build your network of contacts and post short and interesting content.
- Learn something new
As professionals, we often (learn) only what is needed to reach certain qualifications, and that is where we stop.
But the area of your interest and action is constantly evolving. It is crucial to keep up with new technologies.
Learn languages. Invest in your knowledge and information, attend at least one educational program, live or online. Of course, additional professional confirmation of completion of licensed educational programs is even better.
What you get: your customers know you’re up to date and keep up with current business trends. You will become more sought after and appreciated in the market.
Any of these decisions should affect your job and / or professional life. And it wouldn’t be hard to stick to it. And the stakes (financial, time…) are really minimal in most cases.
Happy New Year and do it live or online, but just fulfill all your New Year’s resolutions! ?