2019 is full of possibilities and it’s almost time for New Year’s Resolutions! If you believe in that sort of thing, we’ve got you covered.
As with anything, you are much more likely to succeed if you start with a small change. For example, if your current routine doesn’t include cooking at all, start by deciding to make dinner on nights when you know you’ll have plenty of time to do it (or more time than usual). Create a low barrier and raise it as you go. Before you know it, you’ll be eating your own home cooked meals every night.
Here are some of the top resolutions and a new spin on them.
Get in Shape: Instead of thinking about the things you want to cut out of your diet, focus on eating a lot of a new, healthy option, hopefully one that you already like. If you’re already a veggie lover, you’re in luck. If you’ve avoided veggies since the first side of broccoli hit your high chair, there’s still hope for you.
Tip - Cauliflower is everywhere nowadays. It can be pizza crust, rice, the meaty texture in chili, and delicious roasted steaks! Don’t take our word for it, ask Epicurious, Bon Apetit, and Food Network.
Be More Mindful: There are lots of things you can do for this one. Our favorite exercise is to put down the phone, leave the earphones and podcasts at home, and go for a walk with the purpose of taking it all in, smelling the roses, or being grateful for the little things.
Tip: There’s now a game for this! It’s called “Walden,” yes that Walden (click here for the Smithsonian article). This beautiful game takes you through Thoreau’s adventure toward inner peace. It’s available for PCs and PlayStations. There’s a version for educators that helps with teaching the lessons in the classroom. (Please note: no kickbacks here, we just love this one.)
Cut the social media strings: Put down your phone, use an app to track how much time you’re spending on certain apps or your phone altogether, turn off your notifications, or schedule social media dates with yourself and don’t look at it outside of those. Any one of these could work. All you need is the discipline to follow-through. Another way to go about it is to fill that time with something else, like watching a movie without perusing your newsfeed or falling in love with a new hobby.
Work less: Focus on the things you can control. If you’re the top dog, think about ways to help your team(s) work fewer hours too. Process improvement can be a great first step (i.e. getting rid of pointless steps in your processes). Besides that, here are a few simple things you can do.
Apply the “touch it once” principle to your email habit. Don’t check email until you’re in a place to focus on it and get messages out of your inbox.
When you send an email, try to anticipate the questions you might get in response. For example, instead of saying “Let’s meet next week,”say “Let’s meet next week. Here are some times that are good for me.” Depending on how meetings are scheduled in your organization, this example may not be so applicable to you, but you get the idea. By doing this, you reduce the amount of email you and everyone else will need to deal with. (A study by Adobe suggests the average worker spends 30 hours per week checking email. Even if that seems a little to high to be inaccurate, you can still appreciate the potential impact of less email flying around.)
Schedule meetings only when you really need to bring people together. Recurring meetings are especially tricky. If you’re responsible for them, ask yourself whether or not it’s really necessary to meet every day/week/month. Cancel unnecessary meetings as soon as you can. Before you schedule a meeting at all, think through what you’d want to accomplish. Don’t be afraid to schedule a 15 or 30 minute meeting if that’s all you’d really need.
When you do schedule a meeting, set a clear agenda beforehand and give people as much notice as you can. Put that agenda in the meeting invitation. This gives the Planners and Introverts on your team the chance to prepare for the meeting and be more productive when you’re all together.
Set a start and finish time for your work day and do your absolute best to stick to it. When you remove the option for over-time, it can help you focus on finishing things. It’s kind of amazing how a deadline can motivate you.
Learn something new: This is a broad topic, but a common resolution. The idea of starting small will work for almost anything in this category. There are several online learning opportunities that don’t require you to sign up for a semester-long class. Look at Skillshare, Udemy, Coursera, Lynda.com (may be included in your LinkedIn membership), eLearningindustry.com’s list of platforms, or Tech Radar’s list. If you want to add a language to your resume, check out Busuu, or Duolingo before you sign up for a formal class or invest in a more expensive system.
Tip 1: There are also some pretty serious universities who are offering free online classes, like Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, University of Wisconsin, and lots more via MOOCs (Massive Open Online Classes) on Edx.com’s site. Here’s Quartz’s gigantic list of 600 classes.
Tip 2: Try creating a study plan for yourself. This simple idea is a combination of a study routine (same time every day/week) and a list of what you’d like to study. Todd Henry over at The Accidental Creative talks about this and gives some easy guidance on how to make the most of it. Read here or listen here.