It’s a shiny new year. Welcome aboard! Before we get swept into the swirl of busy (oh, are you there already?), let’s think about how to keep the ‘shine’ on for the weeks/months/year ahead. I’ll be asking you to reflect on your year past this time next year (see this year’s 12 Qs). So let’s start out on the right foot to make it a good one!
What will you do to make 2016 a great year? How will you become the best version of yourself? What personal and professional goals/habits/intentions will set you off on the right path – for greater resilience, efficacy, and fulfillment?
I’ve been giving this some thought and put together some ideas. This list isn’t inclusive but it’s a (my) good start and it touches on physical, mental, emotional well-being. If you are into goal setting – some of these might stir some ideas for you. Make sure you commit, get specific, and follow through with a plan.
11 Ways to Bring the Best of Yourself Forward Into 2016:
1) Stretch your mind: It’s easy to get stuck in our routines and same old, same old. This year, stretch yourself – into new experiences and new learning. Take a course; learn a new skill; expose yourself to new ideas, thoughts and cultures. Not sure what/where. Start by ramping up the curiosity muscle. When you expand your experiences you broaden your perspective and grow yourself in the process and also see (and potentially seize) new opportunities.
2) Stretch your body. Too much sitting and not enough moving. If you have a sore back (and other “ache-y” parts)- you know what I mean. We need to move more — AND we need to stretch. Take a yoga or stretch class or do it on your own but which-ever way, do it regularly. While you’re at it, throw in some good core work. Your back (body and soul) will be very grateful to you for this.
3) Get small…set more tiny goals: So after all this talk about stretching and expansion – it’s now time to get small. With goals that is. Goal-setting (if done right) can energize and inspire us to be better and live a better (productive, meaningful) life. Big goals can indeed be energizing but focusing only on big goals is a lost opportunity. Modest – even tiny – goals can make a huge, powerful difference in your life. They can be part of larger goals or just be awesome on their own. Read more here on the BIG rewards of tiny goals. And sign up for a free goals Webinar I’m presenting in February.
4) Write stuff down: The volume of stuff we attend to in any given day or moment is significantly greater than any other generational had to deal with before. Loaded to the tills, our mind FULL brains are not operating at optimum capacity. Trying to ‘remember it all’ is a first class ticket to overwhelm. So get smart and start writing more stuff down. Take a page from my book, Ease: Manage Overwhelm in times of Crazy Busy (ref Tool #1), and ease the burden by ‘getting it out of your head’ but keep important stuff’ top of mind’. Got a quick minute – read more at my article: “In defense of the lowly to do list” here
5) Get to Know Your Brain: Never before has any generation had as much access as we do to the insights and understanding of how are brains work. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to benefit from some basic neuroscience savvy. Yet despite knowing better, many of us still practise hard-wired habits that work against our brains. Because of this we add even more frazzle, stress and fatigue to our days. Here’s a very brief primer in my Huffington Post article “10 Brain Must Knows To Live and Work with More Ease.
6) Learn to be more flexible …you will need to be more so than ever before. As the pace of change continues to accelerate, change will not only be constant it will come faster and more frequently. Survival of the fittest in work and life calls for us to be nimble and quick to adapt. Disruptive technologies and innovations will make the next 5-10 years (or sooner) almost unrecognize-able. If you are resistant to change you will find yourself on the sidelines. Practise being more flexible with your mindset, practices, willingness to adapt. Be the kind of person who is ready for persistent change. FYI, here’s a related talk on this notion: Tedx Toronto talk — Andrew Peek on how our “Stories are Killing Us”.
7) Connect: Work and life will get busier than ever this year for most. We already know how easy it is to get lost in the shuffle of ‘doing’. Barbara Streisand sang it right (People Who Need People…are the luckiest people) way back in 1964’s Broadway hit “Funny Girl”. Make sure you set intentions to connect more with people that matter to you. Your family, friends, career connections and new contacts and relationships that will contribute to your personal and professional well-being.
8) Sleep More and Better: Have you heard the wake-up call on the sleep issue yet? In these days of persistent ‘crazy busy’ we’re just not getting enough zzzzs. This makes for a tired brain (body and soul too). We need more and better quality sleep to do the good work and live the good lives we really want to have. This isn’t just sage wisdom, there’s hard core neuroscience to back this up. Set the intention to get better sleep. If you need help, get the support you need. For some people, nutritional issues can make a difference. Find a holistic nutritionist and other well-being practioners at League (in Toronto now but coming to other cities sometime soon).
9) Cultivate Happiness: Increasingly science underscores the importance of cultivating positive habits. Those who do tend to reach for higher goals; achieve more; foster better relationships; and experience greater well-being across a spectrum of emotional, physical, and mental factors. Easier said than done? We are hard wired to default to negative emotions: we worry, fret, fear, regret – and more. Yet with intention and good habits we can indeed rewire our brains and tendencies – and create more happiness in our lives. Practice gratitude daily; laugh more; engage in stuff that interests and inspires you; use your strengths more; engage in meaningful pursuits – and so much more.
10) Unplug: Intellectually I get how important it is to stop and completely unplug – regularly, even for short periods. But who am I kidding – I’m writing this post on January 1! Okay, I’m also making time for other stuff with friends, family too. Still, I know that unplugging is increasingly more essential in our crazy, frenetic, info-loaded lives. I’m going to work harder at honouring this goal in 2016 (tiny goal of mine – big impact?). How about you?
11) Reflect more: Hopefully this post has given you pause for reflection. Adding reflection to your days can significantly improve your self awareness, efficacy, well-being and more. So do it more in 2016. You can start with the 12 Year-end Qs or simply ask yourself: What will you do more of this year? Less of?
Wishing you a great start and robust year ahead with abundance of success, ease, and well-being.
Eileen Chadnick (@Chadnick) is an executive and leadership coach and a communications pro (20+ experience) and principal of Big Cheese Coaching and Chadnick Communications in Toronto. She is the author of Ease, a toolkit to help manage overwhelm in times of ‘crazy busy’.