The new year is a time of review and introspection coupled with making new promises for the future. We are often filled with a sense of control over our destiny and a desire to begin again. If you’re feeling the same, here are a few ways you can capitalize on the new year’s momentum by embracing the habits of successful people:
1. Get some sleep. While sleep deprivation may work in creative pursuits, for most of us we really need 7-8 hours of rest to be able to make thoughtful decisions. While you’re at it, make your health a priority.
2. Connect in a new way. Join an online community of people you’ve been curious about. Maybe you have always wanted to try out photography. Maybe you’re interested in podcasts. Select a new area of learning and join a group that focuses on that.
3. Admit a mistake and learn from it. Some people put themselves under a huge amount of stress because they make a mistake and are afraid everyone else will think less of them. Just admit the mistake and process the learning experience. How will that shape what you do in the future?
4. Realize you have the skills. Many people suffer from the imposter syndrome where they feel like they are in over their heads and not qualified to do what they’ve been selected to do. If you feel that way, make 2019 the year in which you let that self-defeating attitude go.
5. Leave your comfort zone. Do something different. If every decision you make is a comfortable one, you’re missing out on opportunities for growth.
6. Listen. Inspiration can come from anywhere so you need to listen. Listen to customers, former clients, children, drivers, people in the checkout lane. You never know who will help you solve a business dilemma without them even realizing it.
7. Say no. Don’t feel guilty.
8. Eat that piece of cake. In moderation.
9. Remove emotion from the decision-making process by thinking about goals. Every business decision moves you closer to your year-end goals or farther away. Which is it?
10. Be grateful. Don’t explain a compliment. Don’t wish the good things away hoping for better things. Simply say thanks.
11. Realize comparison is not healthy. Comparing how you’re doing against your business competitor may be critical to business success. But comparing your friend’s life to your own on Facebook isn’t.
12. Let go of what might have been. We all have plans for our lives that sometimes don’t work out. Make this the year you either go after those plans and make them a reality or give them up for new and improved aspirations.
13. Learn someone’s story and help tell it. Maybe there’s a community member or an employee with a story that needs to be told. If you have a larger amplifier than their, help them tell it.
14. Try saying “and” instead of “no.” If someone presents an idea to you, instead of giving them 15 reasons why it won’t work, ask them to tell you more about why it will.
15. Find quiet time. Wake up early. Stay up late. Use whatever technique suits you best but find a time when you can be left alone with your thoughts and listen. You can not do this on Facebook
16. Eliminate your unproductive space fillers. What did you do with those three minutes before your last meeting? How about your drive to the client? Even busy days are filled with downtime. If you can recognize and utilize those moments for more than cat videos, you can gain a lot of extra time over the course of a week.
17. Drop what you’re not needed for. I once worked for a CEO who stocked the fridge and cleaned the office. He did these things because he enjoyed them. That’s ideal for people with lots of time on their hands, but if you’re not one of those people you should give up doing tasks that others can do for you. No one else can put together the budget for your department or create that report on the project you managed so tend to those things first and delegate the rest.
18. Stop making excuses. There’s a saying: you’ll either find a way or find an excuse. Do more of the former.
19. Find a creative outlet. Schedule some time for something creative. Draw a picture, write a haiku, tell a story but do something that requires you to make something out of nothing.
20. Believe in the power of Yoda. Yoda said to Luke, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Remove “try” from your vocabulary. In 2019, be all in or all out.
21. Learn something new. Every day.
22. Send a thank you email once a week. Thank someone who made an impression.
23. Challenge someone around you to contradict you. Instead of brainstorming, try another approach. Throw an idea out there and ask someone to contradict it and defend their answer. This will create an environment where people aren’t afraid to offer their opinions.
24. Unplug. Often.
25. Find what soothes you. In 2019, take time for yourself and find something that puts your mind at ease. It could be a long car ride, a walk in the woods, listening to music, or meditating. Find something that calms your mind and helps you listen to your needs and solutions.
As we move into the new year, take the time to reassess things in your world. What do you want to change? These ideas are only a start. Make this your year to become your most productive, happy, and successful yet.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.