The New Year is four days old and I’m already frustrated. My wife, two dogs and I rode up and down the Eastern Seaboard for two weeks starting on December 20th. We started here in Florida and finished in our former home, New York City. We had time to talk, think, plan and lay out big goals for 2018. Along the way we enjoyed spending time with our families, experienced multiple hotel chains (stay at Kimpton @kimpton if you have dogs!) and the joys of road food. I was sure that when we returned home, I’d dive right into the new year and the incredible changes I’d planned for.
It hasn’t quite happened that way. While I’ve easily returned to work, I’ve struggled with my loftier goals. Professionally, I looked forward to a more focused pre-work regimen, opportunities for professional development and increased networking. As for my hobbies, this was going to be the year I recorded all my original songs and returned to ice-hockey. Four days in and can you believe it? I’m behind already!
OK, so the above is a bit exaggerated - but only a bit. Nevertheless, I was feeling bummed. This was until my wife, my more logical half and voice of reason - helped me see I was being hard on myself. I realized she was right and that at least some (if not all) of us start off with big plans only to watch them fizzle out or at shrink down to more realistic levels. This got me thinking about George Costanza and that classic Seinfeld episode (Do the Opposite - it’s a must see!). Maybe it would be easier if we focused on doing LESS instead of MORE when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions. It’s in that spirit that I’ve resolved to do less of the following in the year ahead:
Public Speaking: Let’s face it, not everyone loves Public Speaking but it’s a skill we’re consistently advised to improve upon. I thoroughly agree; however, I’m going to strive to do just as much Public LISTENING. We’ve all heard the two ears one-month thing and it really is true. Whether it’s parenting, friendship, business or politics, we grow the most when we’re listening.
Using Social Media: While I’m not suggesting you go old school (toss out your phone and only write letters), there’s much to be gained by being social, as opposed to being on social media. Simply stated, next time you’re about to email or text, consider whether it would be possible to pick up the phone (or even meet!) and have a person-to-person conversation. This goes double for newer friendships and contacts.
Completing my daily to-do list: I’m a big fan of apps like Asana and Evernote as well as paper to do-lists; they help us to be organized and in-control. But how often are we so focused on checking off items that we place value more on completing a task than putting forth our best possible effort? Unless we’re talking hard deadlines, give yourself a break and move that last thing on the list to tomorrow as opposed to giving it 56% (or 72% or anything but 100%) today.
Well that’s a start...
Robert is an Executive and Business Development Coach. You can read him here or on www.younonprofitnow.com