9 Useful Office New Year’s Resolutions - And How To Stick To Them
New Year’s Resolutions. How many did you make last year? A few more than you stuck to, right?
Often, the reason resolutions fall through is that we weren’t ever really committed to keeping them. No matter how much you want to, say, lose weight (the most popular resolution for 2015), if you never really believe that you will, then your resolve will soon break. The same goes for work resolutions: vague wishes like ‘pursue my passions and dreams’ are hard to achieve, not least because a lot of the time the reason your dream looked so enjoyable and alluring is that it was just that: a dream.
The resolution has to be something that you really want; that you believe is achievable; and that’s measurable enough that you’ll know whether you’ve been successful. With this in mind, here are nine work-related new year’s resolutions that will be worthwhile sticking to.
1. Take on a new responsibility. If you’re looking for a pay rise or promotion, some tangible evidence of your commitment and value will help you to make a strong case. Or, if you’re disillusioned about your job, it might be because you are not working where your strengths lie. In both of these instances, actively looking to branch out and try something different – from switching projects to organising the next office party – could be invaluable.
2. Manage some ‘me’ time. The best way to accomplish this is to stop thinking of it as selfish. By looking after yourself you’ll improve your productivity, reduce stress, and leave yourself better equipped to support others. By ‘me’ time we don’t mean a quiet minute answering emails. Try ten minutes of being by yourself: go for a quick walk, sit in the bath, or practice meditation. It will seem strange at first, but you’ll soon wonder how you went without it.
3. Reduce Stress. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, you can choose not to worry. At the start of this new year, reflect on whether the stress is coming from external sources or internal. It might be that you need to take on fewer responsibilities (see number 9). Or it might help to practise ways of changing your reactions, for example by writing down reasons for worry or stress instead of letting them distract you.
4. Get organised. Constantly feeling surprised by deadlines or forgetting where you put things is an unnecessary way to generate stress. Unsurprisingly, getting organised ranks second in 2015’s most popular resolutions. But punishing strategies to ‘sort out’ your life can be just as bad: organisation should alleviate stress, not make it worse by piling on guilt as well. Try being specific and breaking down the messy parts of life into separate resolutions: ‘make my (and the kids’) packed lunches in the evening’; ‘label emails in my inbox’; ‘keep appointments/phone numbers/reminders in one place’.
5. Expand your network. At the end of a hard day, going out and socialising more can be at the bottom of your list. But networking only becomes harder with lack of practice – and for many jobs, it’s essential to progression. It helps to remember that everyone else, like you, is there to share and learn. Set a target for how many events you will go to per month, and track your progress.
6. Make your voice heard. Are you nervous of sounding your opinions in front of groups of people? Keeping quiet at work can be a sure-fire way to not be noticed when that promotion opens up. Rather than waiting until after the meeting to ‘have a quiet word’ (or worse, sitting on the thing that’s gnawing at you and feeling resentful), make a resolution to speak out assertively when you have an idea (a good way to keep track of your success is to write down ideas or questions as they come to you, and record how long it was before you mentioned them). The worst thing that can happen is that some people will disagree.
7. Improve your relationship with your boss/co-workers. How often do you speak to your colleagues – just speak to them, without needing to ask something from them? Do you ever approach your boss to let them know what you’re doing, without them needing to check in? Resolving to communicate more effectively, and thinking about how you can support others, makes you look good as well as your team.
8. Manage Your Inbox. Set a time limit for how long it will take you to reply to emails – and stick to it. Next, get into the habit of filing (or deleting) your emails. The only difference between tidying your inbox and tidying a desk strewn with papers is that you can get rid of emails with the click of a button.
9. Learn to Say No (and do it nicely). You can turn down requests for help without sounding aggressive. The best way to do this is to practice. Try to start each day with a clear idea of your workload, so that you’ll know when to exercise restraint in responding to requests for help. It’s better to do a few things well, than fail at a whole list of tasks.
What’s your resolution for 2015?