As 2020 draws to a close and we consider 2021 hopefully, but with a pinch of reality and wariness, maybe we should reframe the world-weary ‘new year’s resolution’ approach with a general attitude of positivity and goal-setting.
Looking back, 2020 has had a layer of unavoidable lethargy about it – in the same way we tend to hole up and hunker down at Christmas, or when it snows. For many people there has been little choice and when facing an uncertain future with the stuffing knocked out of you, the lethargy settles just a little deeper. I, for one, feel emotionally drained and vulnerable!
So let’s make 2021 a time for action and positivity. We have the natural buoyancy and hope that comes with a fresh new year ahead, coupled with the anticipation of vaccine success. A new year always makes me feel quite cathartic and ready for new challenges. Like September, the start of the academic year, January has a ‘new pencil case’ feeling and is the perfect time to think about what it is you want for the next twelve months.
We don’t mean you should join the gym (although if you want to, then go for it) or give up carbs. We mean you could reconsider the shape of your life and see if you can change that shape a little to bring you greater happiness, fulfilment, better time management – or whatever it is you need.
Here’s a practical exercise
Examine every facet of your life. Do it with a buddy if it’s easier (you might prefer the challenge and cross-examination that brings).
Get a great big piece of paper draw a wheel with eight separated areas.
Put headings into the wheel such as friends & family; career; health; significant other; personal growth; money; home environment; fun & leisure.
Then think about what you want for each area and see what you want to KEEP THE SAME, IMPROVE, GET RID OF or INTRODUCE.
You might want to keep your job exactly as it is, improve your leadership skills, get rid of activities/people that drain you and introduce a new hobby. These are all off-the-cuff ideas but you can see what I mean.
When you have your headings, then you can break them down and examine each one further.
Make each big headline into a series of smaller, actionable, accountable tick boxes and loosely add a timeline next to each one.
Improving your leadership skills is a huge, grey area but narrowing it down to 1) committing to training and 2) learning to listen properly over the next year is achievable.
Keep going until you have a positive, clear idea of what a better year looks like to you. Don’t give up at the first hurdle. It’s time to shake off the lethargy and convert your energy into positivity, however small the first steps are.
Positivity at work
Creating positivity at work might be one of your 2021 goals. There are many well-documented reasons why a positive workplace is a healthy, productive place to encourage – it stands to reason and common-sense after all – optimism will reflect in everything we do and how we interact with each other. However here are just a few ideas that you could consider:
Establish clear positive goals for your business – you could actively support a local charity, cut down on unnecessary waste, employ a mental health support programme – do whatever you think suits your teams in the best way.
Encourage communications at every level with open door policies and/or regular social events. Encourage people to speak up to improve the business in a positive way. A workforce who talks is more likely to raise issues, resolve conflict and enjoy a settled atmosphere than one that is closed off or too scared to speak out.
Introduce a recognition scheme for employees. You can appreciate people in all sorts of ways, it doesn’t have to be financial. Performance related ‘pats on the head’ can take the shape of an early finish, cakes for the department, a thank you card or a dinner voucher for example. I have one client who is about to introduce thank you postcards which we have linked to their values and appreciate the member of staff for living the values of the business in their work.
To be positive simply means to have a positive attitude. It’s well within our grasp and could make all the difference to 2021.
Wishing you a happy, positive, satisfying year ahead.