3 Small Resolutions for a Bigger Workday

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The three standard resolutions still apply:

  1. Lose weight and drink less alcohol. While I am at it, I will get in better shape.
  2. Read more and renew that zeal for learning.
  3. Take a serious look at my financial situation and fix it.

But there are three problems with these three resolutions:

  1. The resolutions are easily discarded. By January 3rd you are putting the resolutions off until next year.
  2. Work is the place where you spend most of your time and most work activities hurt keeping the three resolutions. (Consider bagels and red licorice in the kitchen; sitting all day and then being too tired to exercise; and, the not opening the shrink wrap on the financial planning software tool.)
  3. The three resolutions are not related to making work more enjoyable, where you will spend most of your waking hours in the New Year.

Yet, in spite of evidence to the contrary, there are three reasons why one should make resolutions.

  1. It is the time of year to set goals and objectives. To not do it would be an admission that this year will be just like last year. Ho-Hum.
  2. What is measured is improved. Even in small doses.
  3. Many say that success is all about focus. Resolutions create focus.

But resolutions don’t mean anything if they are not implemented. The three keys that will ensure your resolutions might work are:

  1. Write the resolutions down and put the written resolutions somewhere that will serve as a constant reminder.
  2. Make the resolutions achievable. Setting goals that you know you can’t achieve is a recipe for failure.
  3. Set interim goals by the week or by the month. Some things don’t change every hour.

Strategists believe that we can only remember three goals before they get watered down and impossible to implement. With that in mind, here are my three suggestions for resolutions for the New Year:

  1. Get Up Early. By getting up early you might actually have time for a jog around the block or a healthy breakfast instead of the jelly doughnut. The unintended consequence could be losing weight or being healthier. Or, by getting up early you may just be better prepared for the workday.
  2. Finish One Thing. At work, no greater joy exists than completing something, anything. Completion doesn’t need to mean the strategic plan or the computer conversion. It could mean finishing the email to the team or sending that long overdue note of thanks to a customer. The key to turning a day that seems like a nebulous defeat into an ambiguous victory is the sense of accomplishment in finishing something.
  3. Let No Small Things Ruin a Day. It happens every day. It could be a complaint, a spilled coffee, a colleague who shows up late or any number of things that set you off. Stop. Don’t let the small things that run off the rails set the tone for the day. Take a deep breath and look for the dozens of good things that can make for a great day. You deserve it.

And finally in the New Year, consider making lists no longer than three things. In so doing, you will have a year of joy in triplicate at work.

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