New Year’s Resolutions: How to Keep Your Word

Some people don t want to make New Year s resolutions because they know they won t keep them at least not for very long. Often, the reluctance is because we make too many promises or because we make them too difficult to keep. But with some practical forethought, New Year s resolutions can be valuable tools to help bring new energy to your life.

I want to share with you some of my resolutions that are easy, productive and, for the most part, fun. You can apply them to both your professional and personal lives, and they should make you feel better about yourself. I urge you to develop your own set of resolutions to follow during the coming year.

Be a friend. Pick up the phone and call someone, send them an e-mail, or write them a letter and stay in touch with your friends. Life is usually very busy, and we sometimes forget those friends that make life meaningful. You don t need to be in touch every day, but don t completely forget to check with them. A simple way to stay in touch with your friends is to go out to lunch together. This may be only once a month or once a year, but don t let too much time go by without getting together with them.

Have a purpose. Whether it s in your professional or personal life, you need to have a purpose behind the things you do. Part of that purpose should be doing the things that make you happy. Spend some time thinking about what you want to accomplish during your life and if you re doing the things that are important to you.

Work before play. If you re a baby boomer, like me, then this resolution is probably not a problem. We grew up with parents who lived through a depression, and we were taught the value of working to be successful. Although vacations, weekends and down time are necessary to maintain balance in your life, they should not be your main focus. Some employees spend all their time looking forward to play time, and they don t contribute their best to their jobs. Spend your time wisely: Get your necessary work done and then you can really enjoy being off duty.

Clean off your desk. A good way to start the year is with a clean desk. Anyone who ever saw my desk knows that I usually have cluttered piles of organized chaos. But I do try to at least start off the year with a clean workspace. File important documents and records, and recycle (or shred) papers you don t need. Getting organized gives you extra energy to work and be productive.

Don t be a pack rat. Every December, I finish with more stuff than I had at the start of the year. Books and magazines I obtained during the year seem to just pile up. Decide what s important to keep, and get rid of the rest. I recommend donating books to a school library or to a good friend.

Learn new things. There are many opportunities for education, both formal and informal. Don t get stuck in the same rut this year being the same person you were last year. Enroll in a community program or take an online class and learn something new. You might discover a great new hobby or even a new interest that will enhance your career.

Take care of yourself. Taking care of your self involves both physical and mental health. The older we get the more health concerns we face, and taking care of the problems and ourselves is important. Get an annual medical examination and try to prevent any health issues from worsening. Go for a walk during your break to get some air and reduce stress. Good mental health comes from having balance in your life, and working through both good and bad situations. Seek help if you can t solve the problems by your self.

Give something back. To feel truly successful and fulfilled, professionally and personally, you should give something back. Volunteer to serve on a work or association committee or donate some time to a community service organization. A number of groups would greatly appreciate your time and expertise to help them on projects.

These suggestions don t require you to make a firm resolution or to develop a set of challenging goals that are impossible to complete. I usually write mine on an index card and carry them with me. You may find that this system works for you, too. When you come across the index card, you ll remember to take some time for yourself or to call up a friend and invite them to lunch. Happy New Year!