You may or may not be one of those people who view the new year as a time to reflect and renew. But, most of us could probably agree that we are ready to put 2020 behind us and look forward with renewed optimism. When things are tough, it can be hard to see through to a clear vision of the future. We have some suggestions on how to view challenges as an opportunity and improve your business, relationships, and yourself!
Being grateful is almost a cliché now, but one that works to keep you focused on the good things that happened and the important people in your life. This is a mindset change that, with practice, gets easier. For some people, writing down the things they are grateful for every day helps to focus their perspective. Mindful attention to the practice of being grateful will improve your mood and bring energy to your relationships.
Reflect on What you Have Learned Moving Forward
To say that every business has had to pivot in some way this past year is an understatement. Some of the changes have been in immediate response to an ongoing set of crises. But, think about it, everyone has had to be creative and flexible. There may be permanent changes in the way you do business as a result. Perhaps these changes have expanded the way you do business in a way that has reached new customers. Take some time to reflect on the positive ways your company has adapted to meet changing customer needs.
Networking has Changed: Change With it!
Networking and communication have changed, and much of it may be permanent. Embracing these changes in 2021 will move your business forward. Social media is king, and web-based video conferencing has taken over our business and personal lives. Nothing can take the place of face-to-face interactions, but adjusting to and accepting this new reality is key to success. Everyone agrees that it is not ideal, but conferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Facetime have exploded in popularity due to the pandemic. The upside: reaching more people. If you need to become more comfortable with these technologies, what an excellent New Year’s Resolution.
Working from home challenges many people with trying to balance family with work. Not to mention keeping focused on productivity and growing your business. The other side of social media is the “rabbit home” syndrome of getting lost in content and areas that don’t further your goals. Now is the perfect time to take a hard look at how you spend your time, where you can improve your time management and how you can harness social media to work for you, not drain your time.
We can all appreciate our customers more. Starting with that premise will energize and motivate you to reach out in new and creative ways. Schedule a time each day or week to show your customers you appreciate their business. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or time-consuming. A simple call, text, or email that expresses your concern and offer to help can make a big difference.
Become an Entrepreneur
You are an entrepreneur. You might be thinking, “I work for a company; how can I be an entrepreneur?” Whether you have your own business or work for someone else, the entrepreneurial spirit is a driving force for success. According to the Harvard Business School, these are the characteristics of an entrepreneur:
Curiosity. It is not being satisfied with the status quo and exploring new avenues and opportunities.
Structured Experimentation. Experimentation is good but needs to be backed up by proof that the idea will work.
Adaptability. Entrepreneurs are responding to changes in positive and creative ways.
Decisiveness. You are trusting yourself to make sound decisions.
Team Building. None of us can work in a vacuum. Even if you work for yourself, you have a team of other professionals to rely upon. Make sure they can depend on you as well.
Risk Tolerance. Balance risk with efforts to manage it. Knowing how to do this is the key to success.
Comfortable with Failure. Everyone fails at one time or another, and sometimes several times! Failure should move you forward, not set you back.
Persistence. The willingness not to let failure deter you from your goals. Making adjustments is positive. Giving up is not an option.
Innovation. Stagnation is the enemy of creativity. Always be thinking about new and creative ways to move yourself and your business forward.
Long-Term Focus. Think about your personal and professional goals. Be willing to accept that these goals may change, but keep focused on what is important to you.
Self-care should be the foundation of everything we have mentioned moving into the new year. And we know we can all improve. The basics of self-care haven’t changed much, and selecting one or two areas at a time will keep things manageable. Let’s look at places to enhance self-care for the new year:
- Movement (aka exercise). The research is overwhelming. Exercise improves mood and cognition. Even walking is excellent, but if you can run, bike or swim, that is even better. Interval training is getting a lot of attention due to the benefits of short bursts of activity.
- Diet. Diet is a touchy subject, and the advice seems to change all of the time. Please keep it simple. Focus on a plant-based diet and stay away from processed foods. The Mediterranean Diet is still considered one of the best approaches to health and well-being.
- Stress Relief. This year may have been one of the most stressful for many people. Managing stress takes effort and consistency. Meditation, yoga, music, and pursuing activities that bring you pleasure are all good stress relievers.
- Staying Connected. We think of social isolation and loneliness as affecting mostly older people. But this past year left many people missing their friends and family. Find ways to stay connected through social media, calling, and texting.
A New Year and Reasons for Optimism
As we around the corner of what has been a challenging year, taking control of what you can will improve your attitude, health, and business.