4 New Year’s Resolutions to Consider in 2018

4 New Year’s Resolutions to Consider in 2018

New Year’s resolutions are often times overlooked. I know personally I haven’t taken much time in past years to think about them. So why are they still a thing? My argument would be that a new year is just a great milestone to take a look on the previous year and determine if there is anything you would like to change. By no means, do I want you feeling regretful or start falling into the dark “what-if” hole. But it’s a great time to determine what could make this year your best year yet. Whether it be a goal to show gratitude more, or to cut back on soda, there is definitely something to be said for goal setting as we all have heard.

Here are a few options if you are finding it hard to decide...

Ditch The Negative Thinking

Okay, so this one is easier said than done. But no New Year’s resolution is going to be easy. There are many types of negative thoughts we have every day… about yourself, about others, about the future, the list goes on. The first step is recognizing these thoughts and how they are affecting your daily life. It is easy to focus on one thing that is going wrong versus stepping back and trying to find a solution and think big-picture. When you find yourself spiraling down the deep, dark abyss of negativity, disconnect from your technology for 1 minute removing yourself from the situation. Either turn on some calming tunes and picture your happy place, or find a mindfulness app like Headspace to guide you through some light meditation to regain control of the situation.

Some people recommend writing down your negative thoughts to get them out of your head, however I would encourage you to write positive thoughts. Before going to bed, jot down one good thing that happened that day and one thing you are grateful for. Doing this will help you to focus on the things that went right and go to bed not fixating on the not so great things that happened that day. Getting into this habit will not only help you think more positively throughout your day, but get a better night’s sleep!

Say No to Multitasking

It’s time we agree to take “multitasking” off our LinkedIn profile skill list and possibly switch it with “prioritizing”. Focusing on one thing at a time is paramount to being efficient. Our brains are hardwired to do one thing at a time, so why do we think we can do two things at once? Research summarized in The One Thing by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan, states that professionals lose an estimated 28% of their workday to multitasking ineffectiveness (Keller 50).

“To do two things at once is to do neither.” - Publilius Syrus

So how do we focus on one thing at a time and break this cycle? I’m glad you asked.

  1. Prioritize the items you need to do today and focus solely on that first item until it gets done. Block off your calendar each day to accomplish your prioritized list of actions.
  2. Keep your phone on vibrate (and don’t have text messages connected to your computer).
  3. Only look through your emails when you need a break or have completed your task (not every time you see one come in).

Just remember, every time you get distracted, whether it be from checking an email or talking to a co-worker, it takes time to regain your focus. Read our blog to discover more ways to stay focused and maximize your efficiency.

Find a Way to Master Your Skills or Learn a New Skill!

With the digital world today, the ways to add to your skill tool belt is nearly endless. Personally, I have used a few different digital programs as well as in person classes to grow my skill set post-college. To determine what works best for you, you need to first identify what you want to learn. If you are coming up blank, take a look at your current position. What skills could you benefit from (and maybe even get a raise for)? Are there any certificates (like an agile certificate) that could benefit you? Have you considered shifting industries or positions in the future? Are you lacking a creative outlet in your role? Is there something that has always interested you but you haven’t taken the time to research?

After you decide what you want to learn, determine how much time you are able to commit to it and how you learn best. This will help you determine if you want to take an online part-time course or a night course once a week at a local college. When I was working from home, I opted to take a night course at the College of Continuing Education through the University of Minnesota as I was looking to get out of the house and get a certificate in Project Management.

A few options to consider and look into:

  1. Udacity - An online program offering full-time and part-time courses.
  2. General Assembly - They offer full-time and part-time courses online (as well as in person workshops in a handful of cities).
  3. Local Universities & Tech Colleges - Google local colleges in your area and lookup “continuing education”. If you can’t find anything on their site, call them!

Do What Makes You Happy

No, I don’t necessarily mean go quit your job and travel the world (although this does sound very tempting!). However, life is short and starting the new year is the perfect time to take inventory on your happiness and ensure you are leading the life you want.

For me, making sure that I find time to spend with my close friends and family is something I need to consciously put effort into. Starting a company is stressful, and at times I can feel guilty taking time to enjoy myself as there is always something that needs to be done. At the end of the day though, “close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy through their lives” according to a Harvard study. So although it may be easy to skip out on family dinner or work through the night, relationships are what make life worthwhile.

Questions to ponder:

  • Is there anyone or anything causing me extra stress that I can eliminate or minimize?
  • What truly brings me joy? How can I incorporate more of it into my workday or life?
  • Do I spend much time with the people I love? If not, how can I strengthen these relationships?

With these ideas in mind, I strongly encourage you to take the time to take a step back and truly reflect on the past year. Count your blessings and figure out if there is any aspect of your life that is holding you back from achieving your full potential. Once you’ve chosen a New Year’s resolution write it down and put it somewhere you can see daily. As they say, “out of sight, out of mind”, so don’t let yourself forget about it! Only you hold the power to change your life.