A new calendar year always offers an opportunity for a fresh start and provides an additional pinch of motivation to banish some habits that have stopped serving you well (did they ever?). Here are 12 things to leave behind to foster a stronger, happier, more successful you in 2017.
1. Procrastinating on your goals
Have you been thinking about traveling/switching jobs/getting healthier/starting business ventures? Big dreams aside, have you put any actions in place to realize them? Putting things in motion is the only way to get somewhere. Otherwise, ask yourself if you do really want this thing that you've been talking about all this time.
2. Fixating on the past
We all have our "what if" moments, decisions we question or regrets we harbor. The secret is this though -- it already happened and you can't change it. But you can actively change the future, so rather than focusing on the things of the past, invest in shaping the future you want to live out.
3. Thinking micro
The world is becoming ever so connected and intertwined. Your actions and words impact the planet and the lives of others. Empower those around you, give back to the community you feel inspired by and read about what's happening in other parts of the world.
4. Doing everything yourself
Being resilient, independent and driven are admirable traits, but you don't have to do everything yourself. People who ask others for help not only achieve things more efficiently and curb the likelihood of burning out, they also build strong networks of likeminded individuals that push them to grow and experience new things.
5. Enabling toxic relationships
People are divided into drains and faucets. Make the leap and cut out those who take up your time and energy without contributing to your success, growth and happiness.
6. Working through lunches
Your body needs proper nourishment to keep you energized and in positive spirits throughout the day. So does your mind. Taking even a 30-minute time-out during lunch to have a proper meal and give your brain a break from all of the work-related thoughts will keep you more productive and focused.
7. Maintaining a casual clutter
Organizing doesn't come naturally to all of us, however if your work desk looks like it was hit by a paper avalanche and sticky notes coat all surrounding surfaces, it's time to get minimalist. For one, putting a system in place for filing your projects/important communication and maintaining a comprehensive agenda will increase your sense of composure and assertiveness. Also, you'll be surprised by how much more manageable your daily workload will feel.
8. Treating your online presence like a one-time investment
Sure, you set up your LinkedIn page or finally started a blog -- but how often do you update them? Your brand (and reputation) doesn’t grow overnight. Being consistent with your online properties allows you to add building blocks to your evolving career and increase exposure through algorithms built into the digital platforms tracking activity.
9. Taking your free time for granted
After grueling workweeks it’s tempting to spend time off binging on Netflix. But time is finite, and it’s in your hands to make the most out of it so weeks don’t blur as you’re going through the usual routine. There’s no shame in killing two birds with one stone -- pair long-discussed coffee plans that never manifest into reality with movies/concerts/art exhibitions that will serve as food for the soul and spirit, house a dinner party for friends, rather than booking individual outings or go on a weekend road trip to get out of the predictable social routines.
10. Overlooking sleep
While you’re staying up late answering emails and tying loose ends to be more productive, you’re actually doing quite the opposite. Apart from the myriad of health issues that continuous undersleeping has been linked to, it is also a significant contributor to deteriorating performance and cognitive functions. An odd late night aside, make sure you gift yourself proper sleep to be on top of your game.
11. Thinking in negative terms
Phrases like “I can’t do . . .,” “I’m not good at . . .” and “I don’t know how to . . .” wire our brains to focus on our shortcomings and question our abilities and self-worth. Instead, adopt a language that is empowering and solution-oriented, that highlights your willingness to learn and utilize your strengths to develop your skills.
12. Waiting for big wins
Having ambitious goals is admirable, however the timeline associated with their realization is generally lengthy, and involves a sequence of steps. Don’t wait for that final puzzle piece to be put in place to feel like you’ve accomplished something. Recognize that you are investing time and effort every day to bring yourself closer to your goal, and celebrate smaller achievements along the way. After all, it’s not as much about the destination, as it is about the journey!
We are all rooted in our ways, and change can be challenging to embrace. Yet every successful visionary leader can attest to the importance of honest self-assessment and the power behind continuous tweaking of our behaviors. Committing to even a few of the changes discussed will set you on the winning path in the new year.