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New Year's resolutions. According to Inc. Magazine, 60% of us make them. But many of us know that when it comes to actually keeping New Year's resolutions, the odds aren't exactly in our favor. Research shows that, despite our best intentions, only 8% of us accomplish those annual goals we set for ourselves.
If you're anything like me, 2020 has left you hungrier than ever for fresh starts and clean slates.
What keeps us coming back every year? Well, as PsychCentral tells us, it’s partly tradition (we are creatures of habit!) and partly the allure of a fresh start, a clean slate. And let’s be honest, if you're anything like me, 2020 has left you hungrier than ever for fresh starts and clean slates.
That fresh start can apply to your professional life just as easily as it applies to dropping a few pounds, quitting your Starbucks habit, or taking up hot yoga. So, let's talk about some strategies to help you set career resolutions and, most importantly, actually keep them.
Goals versus resolutions
Every year I hear people say “My New Year’s resolution is to lose 20 pounds.” But technically speaking, that’s not a resolution, it’s a goal. It’s an outcome that you either do or don’t achieve.
A New Year's resolution is “a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year” according to the Cambridge English Dictionary.
Two things I love most about resolutions are that I have a chance to win every day, and I have complete control over my success.
A goal might be to achieve a revenue target, land an interview with someone you admire, or strike up a coveted partnership.
A resolution defines the experience you want to have. It’s about the how not the what. When I think of resolutions, I think of habits that will bring out the best version of myself—something like a promise to plan my day the night before so I'm ready to jump in fresh first thing in the morning.
The two things I love most about resolutions are that I have a chance to win every day, and I have complete control over my success.
4 strategies to help you set (and keep!) professional resolutions
1. Reflect on what you’d like to change
Resolutions begin with an honest look at the year closing behind you. For me, 2020 has had some highs, but on balance, it wasn’t my cutest. There’s a lot I’d love to change next year. And my resolutions focus on a few key areas that live within my locus of control.
There is no shame or blame here; there is only space for reflection.
So where am I choosing to focus? For me, there are three distinct experiences I had this year that I plan not to repeat in the one upcoming.
Overwhelm. That not-so-adorable feeling that the world is sitting on my shoulders—that my clients’ success and my kids’ education and my aging parents’ welfare are all relying on me. Can’t do it again next year.
Reacting from a place of fear. Holding my breath, taking on more work than I know I should because what if the economy doesn’t bounce back? Will not repeat this one in ’21.
Loneliness. Hi, I’m Rachel, and I’m an extrovert! (Here's where all you fellow extroverts respond with, "Hi, Rachel!") If travel and face-to-face meetings won’t be an option for a beat, then I’ve got to be intentional about finding ways to bring more connection into my life.
These three experiences put a damper on my 2020. Note there is no shame or blame here; there is only space for reflection.
Be thoughtful about what aspects of the year felt heavy for you and commit to changing your experience next year.
Maybe your experience of 2020 was grounded in anxiety, or you’ve felt job-insecurity, or maybe just boredom. There are no wrong answers, so be thoughtful about what aspects of the year felt heavy for you and commit to changing your experience next year.
2. Project what "better" would look and feel like
Ask yourself: If these are the experiences I don’t want to have again, what would it feel like to be on the other side?
Here’s what I came up with.
Shedding overwhelm would mean having a clear plan of attack each day. Rather than scrambling and juggling, I’d have a set of daily priorities ensuring clients, kids, mental health, and all significant constituents have what they need from me. The most critical things get done each day, and if nothing else gets done, I’ve still won.
Not feeling reactive and fearful? That will mean a shift in mindset from “What if the market doesn’t need what I offer?” to “How am I evolving my products and solutions to meet the changing needs of the market?”
And finally (sigh …) the loneliness. I talked about this in a quick video on my Modern Mentor page on LinkedIn. I miss the energy I take, the creativity I see triggered by moments of collaboration and brainstorming. It’s that very sense of ideas building on ideas that I want to recreate in 2021.
Now it’s your turn. What would your “better” look like in 2021?
If you’re job-insecure, maybe "better" means adding skills or certifications to your resume. If it’s anxiety you're wrestling with, maybe your “better” includes more self-care and relaxation.
The only wrong answers here are the ones that don’t resonate with you. You’re less likely to stick with a resolution that isn’t personally meaningful.
3. Define sustainable practices that will move you there
The words “sustainable” and “practices” are key here.
“Lose 20 pounds” doesn’t qualify as a resolution because it’s an outcome you can’t fully control. What you can control are the habits designed to get you there, like eating better or exercising. And if exercising every day feels unsustainable, then shoot for twice a week to start. Make it an easy win for yourself!
I’ll take the three experiences I want to have and translate those into habits and practices I can control.
So how does this translate into the professional realm? I’ll take the three experiences I want to have and translate those into habits and practices I can control. Here’s my working list.
In 2021 I will:
Choose my One Thing
I'll begin each day by identifying the one thing I need to achieve in service of:
- My kids (Example: Check my 6th grader’s math homework)
- An existing client (Example: Develop slides for next week’s leadership workshop)
- My health (Example: Yep, it's a workout!)
- My business growth (Example: Pitch an article to a big publication)
Once I get all that done, whatever else I do that day is gravy.
Make weekly client connections
I will schedule one call per week with a past or current client for the sole purpose of listening. I won't be there to sell or help, but just to hear what’s on their minds, and what needs they've anticipated for the near future. This will allow me to be more planful and proactive in designing my offerings.
Set up virtual office hours
I will host bi-weekly office hours. I’ll share a Zoom link with a dozen of my friends and colleagues and invite people to pop in … or not. No agenda, no one in charge, just an open space for sharing ideas, challenges, and even some occasional gossip.
Pay attention to the fact that all of these resolutions are within my control. I’m not waiting for circumstances to change, and I’m not holding myself accountable to an outcome, I'm just committing to doing these things.
4. Track and celebrate
And finally, the fun part. Each resolution gets a page of its own in my Bullet Journal, which means lots of colorful checks and boxes! I keep track of how many days or weeks per month I stick with my resolutions. I set small goals for myself, and I give myself little rewards for hitting milestones. My reward might be an afternoon off, an extra hour of Netflix (do not tell the kids!), or an outdoor, socially distanced coffee with a friend. Celebration is so important. It motivates me to repeat the habit and have a better experience.
So there you have my secrets to setting and keeping my resolutions. I would be so grateful if you’d share yours with me on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. I’d be delighted to be your accountability buddy!
Schoolwork? Check. Social life? Check. Managing your checking account? We’ve got your back.
The post 6 Tips for Successfully Managing a Checking Account in College appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.
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The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t a catalyst to shift businesses toward digital transformation, it merely sped up the process. Businesses needed to scramble to move much of their operations online so workers could efficiently collaborate with each other and maintain business continuity during a difficult time.
Fortunately, departments not traditionally associated with the digital universe, like Bookkeeping, had an easier time adapting thanks to online services like Bookstime.com, a provider of digital bookkeeping tools with unique experience in difficult areas like sales tax automation, health benefits administration, and more.
Advantages of digital bookkeeping
Keeping track of every business transaction is among the most important and perhaps underappreciated tasks. Failure to keep track of transactions in a professional manner can result in a business owner making wrong decisions because they have inaccurate information.
Even worse, they might think they end the year with a profit but in reality, a bunch of small bookkeeping mistakes over several months means the business owner really lost money.
A shift to a digital platform eliminates these concerns. Online digital platforms make use of the most up-to-date accounting automation software that erases nearly every careless mistake. This is especially useful for a business owner who does the tedious but necessary job of bookkeeping themselves to save money. The more time a business owner spends on ancillary tasks, the less time they have to generate revenue and keep clients happy.
Some of the other advantages associated with going online include:
- Eliminating clutter: keeping a clean home office is challenging enough but a digital platform means more space for higher priority files.
- Save time: A digital bookkeeping platform is always available online with a few short clicks of the mouse. It can be accessed as needed and when needed in a few short seconds.
- Environmental benefits: It isn’t unusual for a company to use at least 10,000 sheets of paper each year. Shifting resources online may seem like a small benefit but everyone has a responsibility to do a little bit more to protect our environment.
Case in point: Fill in a W-4
Every business owner is happy to hire new workers because it means they are expected to provide value to the company above and beyond their salary. But that doesn’t mean that the formal process is enjoyable.
One of the more undesirable parts of the hiring process is the pesky W-4 form that every employer has to ensure is properly filled in before a worker’s first day. Simply put, the W-4 form confirms how much income tax a worker wants to have withheld from their recurring paychecks. Under-withholding taxes means a worker will likely experience a shock come tax season as they owe money to the government. Over-withholding taxes means a worker is paying the government too much money and has to wait for a refund.
Digital bookkeeping can help simplify this process so you're less prone to errors. When other people’s finances are at stake, small careless mistakes could impact a worker’s desire to give the business owner 100% of their focus.
Businesses that shifted their bookkeeping process online to better navigate through the pandemic quickly realized this was a move that should have been done years ago. The advantages of having access to a clean and organized online tool far outweigh the costs.
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Well, we made it. To 2021. The earth, moon, and sun each did their thing again. But somehow this year feels different. Because 2020 was a doozy and so many of us are deeply ready for a fresh start.
RBG fought, she believed, and she persevered—all actions that feel deeply relevant as we look to the year ahead of us.
Last year left many of us with a lot to mourn. For me, and for many, that includes the loss of a national treasure, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The diminutive woman, known affectionately as The Notorious RBG, served as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice from 1993 until her death on September 18th, 2020, at age 87. RBG was the breaker of all kinds of ceilings. She fought, she believed, and she persevered—all actions that feel deeply relevant as we look to the year ahead of us.
Before I charge too quickly into the spin of 2021, I plan to reflect on some of the amazing life and career lessons RBG left behind. She gifted us a legacy of wisdom that will remain relevant for years to come.
So today, let’s reflect on some of what she taught us and consider how it might apply to our own adventures in the coming months.
1. To persuade others, don't react, respond!
Ruth Bader Ginsburg achieved tremendous things in her lifetime. Much of her success required that she persuade others to share a point of view that may not have been popular.
And persuasive she was. Never one to steamroll or shame others onto her side, RBG was artful in how she changed hearts and minds.
She once shared with the New York Times some wedding-day advice she received from her mother-in-law: “In every good marriage, it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.”
And she goes on to say of that advice:
I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.
I believe she was telling us not to ignore or excuse unkindness or incivility but to label and rise above it in our response.
In 2021, we are all going to be processing and wading through the heaviness that was 2020 as we face the challenges of the coming year. Careless words are likely to be spoken. But when they are, try not to let them trigger a reaction. Respond as the version of yourself you’re most proud of.
Respond as the version of yourself you’re most proud of.
The absence of your emotional reaction will make the intelligence of your response stand out even more. This is one way to bring hearts and minds to your side.
2. Disagree with an idea but respect the person who shared it
RBG maintained lifelong friendships with colleagues sitting on both sides of the political aisle. She was asked about her success at this many times throughout her career.
She spoke with NPR about her friendship with conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and shared that while they disagreed deeply on many issues, she respected him enough to listen to what he said. And although he rarely changed her mind, his thinking pushed and challenged her own, making her even better.
When an idea doesn’t land with you, take a pause. Can you find the positive intent behind it? Can you empathize with the person suggesting it?
She also spoke of their finding common ground through shared interests and humor. She was able to separate her friend and colleague from the opinions he held. And this too feels like a useful skill to cultivate for 2021.
None of us knows what shape the workplace will take in the coming months. We will all hear many predictions, suggestions, and opinions. We will like some and hate others.
But when an idea doesn’t land with you, take a pause. Can you find the positive intent behind it? Can you empathize with the person suggesting it? Is there something useful you can find in it?
Keep the idea and the person in separate corners.
3. Never stop learning
Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true
RBG never lost her appetite for more information, for expanding her mind. As much wisdom as she had acquired, it was never enough.
And in this, she wasn’t alone. According to Inc. Magazine, many of the world’s most successful leaders—from Warren Buffet to Tony Robbins to Mark Cuban—are voracious readers.
As we continue to navigate the uncertainty ahead, learning new ways to do things will be critically important. So make continuous reading and learning a priority in 2021.
Not sure how to make it happen? Here are a few ideas:
- Choose your sources wisely. Don’t try to read everything. Explore different books, publications, or blogs to see which resonate most with you.
- Schedule reading time. Put reading time in your calendar. Maybe it’s 10 minutes a day. Maybe it replaces what used to be a commute before many of us started working virtually. Get creative.
- Try audio. Hey, like podcasts or audiobooks? They're a great source of inspiration, motivation, and knowledge. Maybe you can listen while you’re cooking or working out.
4. Prioritize self-care
RBG was so famous as an exerciser that her personal trainer published a book of the workouts she was still doing into her 80s. Once asked who the most important person in her life was, she famously responded, “My personal trainer.”
For RBG, intense exercise gave her the energy she needed to deliver her most impactful work. This is a lesson we all need to carry into 2021. As stress and burnout continue to threaten and plague us, we must all be mindful of how we manage our energy levels.
Working endless hours isn’t the most effective or fulfilling path to success. Working well is what delivers results. So find ways to care for yourself, to recharge your tank, every day.
You too may enjoy some intense exercise. Or you may choose to walk, meditate, journal, or call a friend. There is no right way to practice self-care, but doing it in some form is a must!
If you want some self-care guidance when it comes to fitness, nutrition, and coping with stress, here's where I shamelessly plug podcasts from my amazing Quick and Dirty Tips colleagues:
- Get-Fit Guy with fitness pro Brock Armstrong
- Nutrition Diva with nutritionist (and renowned nutrition myth-buster) Monica Reinagel
- Savvy Psychologist with clinical psychologist and sleep expert Dr. Jade Wu
Search for these wellness experts on your favorite podcast platform or visit QuickandDirtyTips.com.
I hope these nuggets of wisdom have helped you feel empowered to take on 2021. These are only a few of the countless gems RBG left us with. They feel, for me, entirely relevant in this moment. So let’s honor and celebrate Ruth Bader Ginsberg's life together by letting her wisdom guide us through some murky months ahead.
Paid biweekly? You get two shots a year to get ahead. Here’s how.
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