As we begin 2016, hopes are high for a great year full of promise and optimism! As I enter my sixth year in business, I know that thinking about goals and putting ideas into action are both critical for success. I have also learned that leaders learn best when they take the time to reflect on the past and identify ways to improve themselves.
Most of us don’t actually codify our New Year’s resolutions, as we remember the inevitable guilt that follows when we abandon these same ideas within weeks or months. This focus on the guilt misses the point. A resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” A firm decision to take steps in a certain direction can start you down the right path, even if you don’t actually reach your final destination. Taking two steps in the right direction is better than doing nothing. Leaders will be well served by making resolutions: first, to prepare and strengthen their interior life and, second, to model the process and benefits for their followers. The beginning of a new year offers a great time for reflection and it is always a good time to resolve to become a better leader. Consider taking the time to write your resolutions.
Here are several suggestions, large and small, easy and hard, to help you decide how to spend your time in 2016.
- Seek silence and solitude. Begin and end each day with a few minutes of quiet. Plan time to unplug from the phone and social media.
- Stretch your imagination. Find ways to be creative and innovative.
- Solve at least one critical team problem within your control that has lingered unsolved from 2015.
- Schedule your day. People with a plan perform better. Don’t forget to schedule time every day to move, which means some form of physical activity that allows your body to work in the same way your mind works.
- Show gratitude to those who helped you along your path in life. Dorothy Day, the early 20th-century social activist, said, “Grace will always be given to the truly grateful.”
- Share your time, talent, and treasure with others in need. Volunteer, give back, and support a cause that you value.
- Stop wasting time on the wrong people, the wrong activities, and the wrong things.
- And, most critical, savor and celebrate the wins!
Finally, back to where we began our New Year’s resolution list of suggestions—resolve to spend time on your development as a leader. Wishing you a happy and prosperous new year in 2016!