New Year’s Resolutions

Well, here we are at the intersection of another new year. A time when most start making those New Year’s Resolutions. I myself am often a victim of the resolution game, only to feel like a failure by mid-February.

So this year I am going to try a little resolution reversal. Instead of making a list of things I want to do in 2017, I am going to make a list of what I’m NOT going to do.

Let’s start on a personal level.

I am NOT going to take my health for granted. Several friends and people I care about faced health battles in 2016 that I can’t even begin to imagine. I am starting 2017 healthy, for that I am thankful and I don’t intend to squander it!

I am NOT going to spend more time with my kids. Not because I don’t want to, but because, frankly, their schedules don’t allow it. They are all at ages where they are busy with their own activities and don’t have a lot of time leftover for, well, me. (They’ve chosen good, healthy activities and are happy, so it’s okay.) So instead of having unreasonable expectations, I will just vow to focus on the quality of time spent with them, rather than on quantity. I can sure make the most of those moments spent in the car, in the kitchen making dinner, and when telling them good night.

I am NOT going to ignore the needs of my neighbors. I am already involved in several community groups, but in the new year I may focus on helping individuals in need. They are everywhere I look. Some may need food, some may need my time, often I’ll bet, they’ll only need encouragement. I think I might start not doing this one today.

I am NOT going to stop sweating the small stuff, because for me it is the small stuff that can make such a big difference. Issues that some people may deem small are huge to me. It is just the way it is, so might as well stop fighting myself on it.

I am NOT going to take up a new hobby. The hobby I currently have, Rick Springfield and his music, keeps me plenty busy, and frankly helps keep me sane (okay, so this point may be debatable). Instead, maybe I’ll  focus on enjoying that hobby even more. So all this basically means is that he needs to beef up his Midwest Tour Schedule! (Rick, I hope you’re reading this.)

By NOT doing the above, I believe I will NOT lose sight of what truly matters in my life; family, community, things that make me, me.

But, I make resolutions in my professional life as well. I will admit to you that there have been years where “to make more money” has ranked at the top of the list. Those years when I saw my kids going to college and others in braces, aging parents and friends in need, home repairs and health care costs all bearing down on me. I resolved to make more money. What was missing in that resolution was the “how” and what NOT to compromise for it. So, just as with my personal list, I could start with resolving what NOT to do in my professional life.

I will NOT take a job based on its compensation alone. As many of you reading have probably discovered, enjoying what you do and finding fulfillment in the work you do every day is a treasure that trumps all others.

This is also a time of year when businesses reflect back on the last 12 months, and use lessons learned to plan for the next year. Businesses can also embrace resolution reversal!

For instance, a business owner can resolve NOT to do everything themselves. Instead, delegate! Take that to-do list that greets you every morning and split it up among others. I know, sometimes it is hard to let go. But it shows others you have confidence in them and it leaves you with the time and energy to focus on fewer tasks so you can do them well. This may also help you ensure a good work/life balance in the new year.

A business owner, CEO or manager should resolve to NOT be content with the knowledge you currently possess. Instead resolve to never stop learning! What you choose to learn may or may not be related to your business, but the key is to find something you are interested in and then learn more about it. You never know where it might lead.

Do NOT keep all of your knowledge to yourself! Share what you know with others. It may spark new ideas, redefine old ones, at the very least you may meet some interesting people along the way. Sharing, collaborating…connecting, those are good goals to have in 2017!

And speaking of goals, resolve to NOT set yourself up for failure. Set realistic goals. Goals that will lead to success rather than stress. Goal setting is important for any business that’s for sure. You can make them challenging but not unattainable.

A business should NOT reinvest only in itself. Rather, give something back to your community. (Which I believe actually is investing in yourself.) Find a cause that matters to you and give what you can. It may be money, often times though it will be time and talent that is needed.

A business may resolve to NOT keep “just getting by with it”. Is there a piece of equipment that is just hanging on and interfering with your productivity, but you are just trying to “make do” and hang in there til you have to get a new one? Well, if it’s making your life harder, make the investment. You’ll be more productive and less frustrated.

Resolve to NOT hang on to procedures or habits or people that just aren’t working. Sometimes a product or a technique or a relationship looks logical on paper and should be ideal. But if it’s not, it’s not. Stop wasting energy trying to make the unworkable, workable. Again, more productive, less frustrated.

Keep in mind I am NOT an expert on any of this, but I delegated to Google to see what resolutions businesses make at the start of each new year. So I could learn. See, I am starting my un-resolutions already!

My best to all of you in 2017!

Lisa Cownie

Lisa Cownie

Editor of Connect Business Magazine

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