With the new year less than a month away, I thought it would be a perfect time for us to get a head-start on our resolution execution. I mean, there’s no time like the present to start living your best life, right? Let’s get started.
First, I want to ask you a few questions and I am hoping you’ll move past the knee-jerk responses and really think about your answers. Looking back on 2013, how do you feel about the year as a whole? Were you as successful as you had hoped to be? What do you feel was a “waste of time” and why? What lessons did you learn? What hardships did you face? What familiar challenges found their way to you, yet again? Did you enjoy your time with family and friends the way you would have liked to? How did you treat your body? Did you push yourself too far or lay on the couch too long? Are you winding down a productive year or gearing up for one?
The answers to these questions can provide a decent insight into the habits that are pushing you forward and holding you back as well as help to identify new ones that, if adopted, may help you on your path to a better sense of balance, happiness, health and success. The truth is that while many of us may be contented, most of us could use a fresh start in some area of our lives. Perhaps it’s a personal or professional relationship that has gone off-track or a sense of direction that needs to be fine-tuned. Here are three ways that may help you along your way to the best year yet.
Give Yourself a Review:
When we think of our “reputation”, we often think about it on a broad scale. But the reality is that it is the people closest to home who determine how we are perceived and that perception has a direct impact on our quality of life and the opportunities that make their way into it. Approach the task as research and make a decision not to take comments personally. Then, sit down with the people closest to you–at home, at work and in your relationship sector. Ask them to share how they are feeling about your interactions and what they feel may help to polish relationships between you. Example: A colleague might appreciate you showing more respect for their work/life balance and a partner may want more quality time with you as opposed to sitting on the couch in front of a TV, which leaves them feeling a little brushed off. Every relationship–personal or professional–hits tough terrain, but showing interest, investing time and exhibiting a commitment to making positive changes not only works to bring things back on track, it also brings people closer by making others feel valued, appreciated, supported and worth the time and energy it takes to make sure everyone is getting what they need to feel good about where they are at and what they are doing.
Think About Your Presentation:
The clothes may not make the (wo)man, but studies have shown that 70% of first impressions are based on what you are wearing. Ever heard “It’s not what you say, but how you say it?” There’s a study to support that old cliche as well. In fact 20% of the impression people get is based on tone whereas only 10% is what you actually say. Think about the news you deliver, the tone you deliver it in and how you look while handing it over. You might be sending a message about yourself that you don’t intend to or directly conflicts with who you actually are. While self expression is a necessary component of a healthy and happy life, the truth is that being “hard to figure out” in this capacity doesn’t always give you an air of mystery, it often leads to misunderstandings and generalized ideas that can cost you in the long run.
Spontaneity is fun and it keeps life colorful, but those who find lasting success don’t often stumble upon it; they set a goal, make a plan, maintain flexibility and work towards it. Whether it’s finding a new position, building a better relationship or developing a stronger sense of self, thinking about who and where you are now, who you would like to become and where you would like to go are non-negotiable conversations to have with yourself.
Know Your Audience:
This is crucial. You would not expect an automotive website reader to want to read about lipstick, nor would you place an ad for a straight dating service in a gay magazine. Why would you share unnecessary information about yourself or your life in situations with people who might find these things offensive or judge you for them? We can say “That’s their problem” but it’s really ours. People love to point the finger, and without all of the facts (i.e., a real understanding of who you are, where you have been and what your values are and the circumstances surrounding specific situations) you inadvertently set-up shop in a fishbowl. Living an authentic life is one of the most beautiful things we can do, but do people really need to know your sexual preferences or hear your very negative thoughts about their favorite presidential candidate at a dinner party? There is a way to balance authenticity with assimilation and those who do it, and do it well, often find both peace and productivity faster than those who stick to one side.