As the calendar year winds down, planning for the next year gets into gear. Reflecting on the results of the current year—both positive and negative—provides some context for things we need to do either similarly or differently to achieve our 2018 goals. Following are some things you might consider in your personal and professional life to help you achieve your goals and make next year a great year.
Take a deep breath. Modern life seems to move faster and faster each year. There is no way any of us can succeed without taking a deep breath every now and then to calm down and regroup. Get up from your desk and walk outside. Fresh air and sunshine are healing.
Make time for yourself. Sometimes, you need to take more than a deep breath. It’s not unusual to find yourself running full time between business and family without regard to your own needs. Whether it’s a round of golf, a weekend in the mountains, or simply a day with a good book, we all need time to ourselves to relax and recharge. It’s not selfish; it’s necessary.
Spend quality time with friends and family. Some people find themselves totally focused on work, even when they’re home at night or on the weekend. It’s okay to answer emails and do necessary work off hours, but not to the detriment of your loved ones. When you are with family, be 100 percent with them, not juggling work at the same time.
Volunteer in your community. Another way to regroup and make time for yourself is to volunteer. Giving of your time and abilities to a worthy charity or personal cause will not only give your mind a break from work pressures but also reward your self-esteem.
Raise your hand at work. Adding value to your company beyond your core responsibilities will go a long way to advancing your career. Look for ways you can participate by asking to be on a team project or corporate committee.
Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t volunteer to work on just LP tasks. Get involved in supply-chain, operations, IT, or other projects that you may not have specific expertise in. You’ll find that the experience you do have will provide a different point of view that will not only add value to the team but also give you the chance to widen your expertise.
Talk to a stranger. I once had a manager who suggested I should be less reserved. I started doing simple things like talking to people in elevators. It’s easy to find something to comment on that starts a conversation that changes the mood of both parties.
Listen with your eyes. It’s important when conversing, especially in work situations and with teenagers, to be an active listener. One way to do that is to look the person directly in the eyes with empathy. Doing so communicates that you believe that the person talking has something important to say.
Talk with a smile. Topics at work are often serious, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have discussions in pleasant terms. Even constructive criticism is received better when provided in a positive way. A negative expression or tone can put the listener on the defensive and make them much less receptive.
Revisit your goals. After developing your personal and business plans for the coming year, make a point to pull out the plans periodically to refresh yourself on what you want to accomplish. Make an honest assessment of how you are doing in reaching your goals and, perhaps, what changes must be made to ensure you reach your goals.
Here at the magazine, we talk a lot about the importance of continuing education. So here is a bonus suggestion—learn something new. Take advantage of the various conferences and industry events to learn from peers in both formal and informal settings. Consider certifications and formal academic courses as ways to continue to grow your knowledge and your career.
More than likely, each of you already have strategies that work for you to ensure you achieve success in your personal and professional life. Whatever you do, I wish the very best for you and yours in the coming New Year.