Though you shouldn’t need a reason for self-development, the New Year is a great time to appraise your priorities—see what worked and what didn’t in 2021—and set new goals for yourself and your business. Here are five ways to keep a positive momentum going in 2022…
1. Make time to read and learn new things
Saying you don’t have time to read is nonsense. Setting aside 20 minutes a day is enough to benefit from the practice. Reading not only broadens your perspectives, it’s a wonderful way to escape and enjoy some downtime, while still actually keeping your mind active.
If you’re averse to reading, either because of some negative connotation attached to it (being forced to at school, for example) or because you find it tiring, this can easily be fixed—in most instances, people who don’t enjoy reading simply haven’t found the kind of books and subjects they want to read about. There are plenty of resources out there that’ll guide you in the right direction and find books suitable for you.
Aside from reading, why not take an online course in something that interests you? It doesn’t necessarily have to be related to your work or your business, it can be something like photography or guitar or calligraphy—whatever! Learning new skills is extremely satisfying, and keeps your mind fresh.
2. Write down your goals
Yes, this is something we’re told to do at school, but there is a lot of wisdom in it. Much like a to-do list, if you write down the things you want to achieve, not only do they become more urgent, you become more accountable for them. Do you really want to look at that list in July and see that you’ve done hardly any of the things you set out to do in January?
You can write them down anywhere, but ideally the list should be somewhere you can regularly see them—the notes on your phone is good, on your fridge is better! Remember, too, to be realistic—make the goals challenging, but achievable, and prioritise them in order of importance or the amount of time you have.
Being part of a peer group is another great way to set goals and be accountable for them.
3. Review your company’s core values
Evolve founder Warren Munson likes to refer to a business’s ‘ambition, essence, spirit and beliefs’—those guiding principles that were established as you started your company. Hopefully, you will have spent a good deal of time and thought on defining what those should be.
However, in the day-to-day running of a business, it’s all too easy to lose sight of those original values, and this can spell trouble both professionally and personally. Use this time of year to assess whether the initial ambition, essence, spirit and beliefs are still strong, and also whether you need to adjust or add to them. And why not include your team in the process this time? Sit down with them and ask them what their personal values and ambitions for the business are.
4. Focus on fostering a strong culture
As with the above, including your team in important decisions and the direction of the business not only makes everyone feel valued, it entrenches loyalty like nothing else can. Everyone wants to feel like their work has purpose and meaning, and generating a strong company culture ensures this.
This approach should extend to recruitment. Instead of taking on the best-qualified candidates, commit to hiring those who express the same values of your company, and seem to be in line with where you want to go. This’ll only strengthen your team as well as save you the stress of having to re-hire.
5. Stay committed
Have you ever seen how full a gym gets in January? It’s full of sweaty people with good intentions, but come February only half of them are left; by March things are back to ‘normal’ capacity.
Humans are great at thinking of ways to improve themselves, but generally awful at following through. This largely comes down to habit. Once a certain behaviour is embedded in your routine, it’s very hard to break free of it. Your mind and body is simply too comfortable where it is.
The key to establishing and maintaining good new routines is to turn them into a habit. Generally this requires at least three weeks of dedication to whatever challenging new thing you’re adopting. Once you’re past this hurdle, you trick your brain into expecting the new thing and you began to do it almost automatically.