New Year’s Resolutions: 2.0

It’s hard to believe it’s February. This new year arrived with a vengeance; markets dropped; Jonas appeared. All to say, I got distracted; I faltered on all of my well-intended new year’s resolutions.

One of my resolutions was to do something more productive with my downtime- so I gave up binge watching TV shows. That lasted until this weekend when I joined the legions of people who watched “The Making of a Murderer” and now I can’t stop… I think a snow storm can do that to a person

Each year, most of us begin the drill of creating our annual resolutions. Resolutions can be a good thing. They give each of us a solid chance not only to take stock of our current lives, but also to commit to something new – to do and be something different; a better version of ourselves.

However, research supports the fact that we have a hard time sticking to them. Statistic Brain Research Institute says that 45% of us make resolutions every year and 8% successfully accomplish them.

Maybe that is because, we get overly ambitious; we reach too far; we over commit to our resolutions because they’re big and bold. However, while it is hard to stick with the new behavior, it is still good to go through the process of making some commitments to yourself.

If dropping a resolution sounds familiar, I have a new approach. Instead of a complete overhaul of your resolutions, here are some simple, but powerful “refills” for the rest of 2016. They are based on some consistent complaints we hear from various leaders. My hope is that they may make you a stronger leader and partner in the short run and – depending on your resolution-keeping mojo- it may make you better in the long run.

I resolve to space out my meetings giving me at least 15 minutes in between each meeting or call.

You know the drill – you’re in the groove going from meeting-to-meeting or call-to-call; you’re knocking off things on your to-do list, yes, but you end up feeling like you’re running through a gauntlet.

By making this commitment to building in a 15 minute cushion between meetings or call, this will do a few things for you:

1. Give you time for at least one function break.

2. Allow you to prepare your thoughts purposefully for the next meeting. This is the time to think honestly about the purpose and the intentions of the upcoming conversations; to think about what needs to be accomplished; and to think about how to make this meeting a good use of your time. It may also help you determine that this is a meeting you should quit attending.

3. Help you breathe a bit.

By giving yourself time between meetings to shift and reorient yourself, you may find that you don’t dread those eight-meeting-days and that might shift how you show up in each of those meetings.

I resolve to pick up the phone and discuss an issue with someone who is getting under my skin.

That’s right.
The phone.

When you resolve to talk to someone in person or on the phone, you can actually listen to what he has to say; you can hear the tone and the cadence – all things we know ‘make up’ when we read someone’s email or text response.

Believe me, I get why we like to hide behind email and texts – managing conflict this way is efficient and allows you to reinforce your opinion; it also leaves you pretty unscathed and possibly a bit smug; and it also has the power to keep the relationship stuck and mulling in conflict.

The more you keep a conflict tangled in email or text, the longer it will take to accomplish something productive. And the longer it takes to accomplish something productive, the more energy you drain from yourself. Think about how many times you stew about the person, the issue…you get the point.

Pick. Up. The. Phone.

Tell the person that you all have different views and you really want to hear what he has to say. Acknowledge what you hear that has merit. Explain your point of view. Then, start looking for ways to come to common ground or at least decide to meet again to discuss.

You will feel better. You will accomplish a result faster. You will look like the grown up.

I resolve to do one thing to make me a better leader this year.

Maybe it is a class. Maybe it is an executive coach. Maybe it is staying on top of trends in your industry. Maybe it is reading new books, articles or blogs, then committing to trying one thing that you learned in one of those places.

The purpose? Make you better, stronger, more effective at your craft.

If you’re feeling really courageous, tell your team, co-workers partner, teenage child about what you’re trying to do with this commitment. Ask them to hold you accountable. This will also give you good insights into when you are doing well and when you aren’t doing well. (The teens will help you on the latter.)

My one big, bold resolution this year will be writing more; sharing what I am learning through my personal insights and experiences as well as my professional work with clients.

Read a few blog posts, and then tell me how I am doing, but if it is tough love – pick up the phone and call me.

Here is to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!

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