It happens to me and to hundreds of people right around (or shortly after) December 25th and through about the last seconds before the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve—panic. You embark on a series of ‘memory lane’ trips where you analyze the good, the bad, and the ugly that has transpired during your year, and is liable for your current status. Face it, even in your best year; there is usually at least one thing that is the perpetual thorn on your side. “If I had only done this…or if I had just done that…then I would have…” What? Been happier or more successful? Achieved more visibility at work? Gotten a raise? But alas, your apprehension cannot change the past. So, all you are left with are hours, minutes, or seconds before the countdown begins, and you must masquerade your worries with a glass of Prosecco, a party hat, and noise maker you’re hoping will drown out your anxiety. Just five minutes after exchanging hugs and kisses with those near and dear to you (or total strangers), angst creeps up on you once again. You feel as if you must end your festivities abruptly and rush home to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes you’ve made in previous years. You feel a sense of liberation in being able to start anew with a clean slate. Thus, we turn to frantically jotting down our New Year’s resolutions (same ones as the year before—lose weight, save money, find a new love, blah, blah, blah…), and vowing to really stick to them this year. Below are 7 New Year’s resolutions that should navigate you through a career (and life) journey that is enlightening, fulfilling, and profitable in the year ahead.
Replace Sighing with Meditation
We sigh when we are bored, fatigued, stressed, frustrated, or in deep thought. While sighing may seem like it instantaneously rids the body of taxing emotions, the after-effect lasts about as long as the last sound is heard. Instead, try meditation, as it is a great way to relax your body and quiet your mind. According to the Mayo Clinic, calming meditation can help you sleep better, focus better at work, and remain calm throughout the day. You can implement simple meditation techniques to the beginning, middle, or end of your day. Choose ‘Mantra Meditation’ in which you silently repeat a calming word or mantra, or ‘Mindful Meditation’ which heightens your awareness of the present moment. Explore ‘Progressive Muscle Relaxation Meditation’ by progressively tensing and relaxing (within 5-10 seconds) head-to-toe muscles throughout your body. Use the power of ‘Visualization Meditation’ to repeatedly focus on an idea, give it positive energy, and it will become a reality. Therefore, visualize yourself in career role two-levels higher than your current position and in time (less than you imagine), it will happen.
Believe in Fate
Is it coincidence, destiny, kismet, or fate? You may be one who scoffs at the idea of there being a predetermined course of events setting the stage for your life. However, if you find it somewhere inside you to believe in fate, you will discover a sense of peace in knowing that you don’t have to push so hard. It’s not like you’ll stop trying altogether. Yet there is some comfort in holding on to the thought that, “everything happens for a reason,” particularly when you don’t land the job or promotion you have been vying for. Embrace the thought that there is better waiting for you out there, and that you are meant to be available to take on some other challenge, some other relationship, or some other career opportunity.
Ever hear the saying, “Other people tend to value you the way you value yourself.” How are you to compete for a new job opportunity, strive for a promotion, or negotiate your worth if you don’t truly value yourself? Yet in order to value yourself, you must perform the challenging task of self-evaluation. Without doing so, you run the risk of misaligning your capabilities and credentials. When you present yourself in an inauthentic way it is easily detected. Remember, false impressions are difficult to dispel. Start your self-evaluation by asking yourself the following four questions:
- What do I do better than everyone else?
- Why do I do it better than everyone else?
- How do I do it better than everyone else?
- Where do I do it better than everyone else?
Do Unto Others
Known as the “golden rule,” the saying “do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31)” is congruous with another popular quote, “Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down.” Both adages allude and encourage kindness, generosity, and compassion. Oftentimes, even when you don’t possess power in title or seniority, you possess it in knowledge and education. Refrain from being condescending toward those around you, and as I’ve recently learned, “it is best to portray yourself as the second smartest person in the room.” Develop patience and empathy toward people, whether they hold the key to your future now or in years to come (or ever). Other times, you may possess full authority while inadvertently grooming someone who will surprisingly end up as your superior. Life has a funny way of catching up with you, getting even, settling it’s scores. Cover your bases by making no exceptions to the “nice” rule. You are bound to come out a winner.
Avoid Counting Other People’s Money
Noting will get people to resent you as counting their money. Whether the money has been earned, or inherited, it is completely, positively, and absolutely not your business to mention, speculate, criticize, other people’s abundance, regardless of where it is generated. This could be one of the most difficult things for all of us to do. We are, after all, human. Yet one thing I learned long ago from one of my mentors is that “money attracts money” and “success attracts success.” It’s a bit of yogic approach by which spiritual attracts spiritual. The moral of this being that genuine sentiments will only come back to bless you. So the next time you hear your laziest co-worker was awarded a promotion, refrain from letting it trigger jealousy. Instead, genuinely wish them well (even if only in your mind), and see how quickly you’re rewarded with good news.
Take Calculated Risks
A calculated risk is one you take after carefully considering the possible results. We take calculated risks every day—as small as choosing to indulge on an ice cream sundae (gaining weight vs. satisfying your cravings)—or as big as saying “I do” to the love of your life or saying “I accept” to the job of your dreams. There are pros and cons to every decision we make, and in some cases we rely on instinct to make decisions that have a whole lot more cons than pros. However, it is in fact these very risky decisions that help us progress to the next phase of our life—whether it be financially, relationship, or career-wise. The key to taking smart risks is to know exactly what you want out of the result today, then calculate how the outcome can continue to generate similar or greater positive results in 5, 10, or 15 years.
Develop Emotional Intelligence
We’ve all met at least one (well I’ve met way more than one) academic genius who is socially inept and unsuccessful in his/her career or personal relationships. Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to making your emotions work for you by utilizing them in ways that produce results you want. Research conducted by EQ gurus indicates that individuals who exercise this ability experience a higher level of success within their social and professional lives. Hendrie Weisinger, a psychologist, organizational consultant and author of Emotional Intelligence at Work: The Untapped Edge for Success writes about five key factors that emotional intelligence is comprised of:
- High self-awareness— the ability to tune into information about yourself
- Mood management— the ability to manage your emotions or shake off a bad mood
- Self-motivation— the ability to bounce back from a set back
- Interpersonal expertise— the ability to relate well to others
- Emotional mentoring— the ability to help others manage their emotions
Incorporate these 7 easy-to-follow resolutions into your everyday life on a basis of one-per-week for the next 7 weeks. Choose to embrace each resolution in sequential or random order—whichever way makes sense to you. Yet, do commit to following them through for the first seven weeks, then 7 months, and more. May these resolutions propel you out of a hum drum state and into a positive, hopeful, motivated, and confident new you throughout this New Year and beyond. Cheers!