Some traditions, like celebrating holidays with family, we eagerly anticipate, while others, like spring cleaning, we dread. But when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, many of us have a love-hate relationship with this cliched way to kick off the beginning of a new trip around the sun. We eagerly anticipate a new version of ourselves who is slimmer, wealthier, more productive, and more relaxed, but we worry we won’t be able to keep our own promises to ourselves. Should we just forget the whole idea of making resolutions, since studies show most people don’t keep them anyways?
I believe resolutions are beneficial, and I encourage all of us to think of ways we want to improve and come up with a plan to achieve those things. I support this because resolutions put us in a positive frame of mind; we are thinking and envisioning a future where our life is better than it is now. Many experts agree that discussing and imagining a new you actually makes it more likely that you will get there.
Anytime we spend effort to improve our situation — our health, our job, our family life — it is worth it, even if we don’t make it to the finish line. We’ve told ourselves these things are important, and we’ve shown ourselves we can make a change. And sometimes we get part of the way to our goal. If you want to lose 30 pounds, but you lose the motivation to keep going to the gym after you’ve lost 15 pounds, then that is cause for celebration for what you did achieve and not condemnation for not reaching your goal.
For years I made a resolution to be on time. I have a very bad habit of being late. And I felt like every year, I didn’t stick to my resolution, because I was still late for a lot of things. But over the years I got better and better about being on time, because every January I tried again to implement some new tactics. Some of them worked; some of them didn’t. But they were another tool I could use to tackle a problem that plagued me. I’m happy to report that these days I’m on time far more often than I am late, and I can attribute some of my improvement to my New Year’s resolutions. It may have taken me about 10 years longer to get here than I thought, but at least I got here!
Another issue that I’ve struggled with a long time is clutter. It’s taken me years to clear out the clutter in my home, and I’ve mostly managed to keep it under control when it starts to build up again — everywhere but in my office. Ever since we painted our home office more than a year ago, it’s been a disaster. My resolution this year is to finally get my work space organized and clean, which I know will improve my productivity. I’m in my home office many hours a day, so I know it affects my concentration when my surroundings are a mess. I recognize it doesn’t have to be perfectly clean, because I know it will make a difference to take any steps to clear the space, even if I don’t get it as clean as I would like.
While I would love to tick off 10 more ways that I’m going to improve my life this year, I’ve found that one of the keys to accomplishing resolutions is to focus on just a few main ones.
In addition to cleaning my office, I’ve made a resolution to launch a new business that I conceived more than three years ago but didn’t have the resources to pursue. I realized recently that I need guidance on this project, so I decided to find a mentor to provide that as my second resolution for 2020. Within just a few days of the kick-off of the new year, I already have a mentor who is making a tremendous difference in helping me to move forward with this project, which will help working moms find affordable on-demand childcare. My new business idea fits with the mission of my current brand, which is to produce posts and videos to inspire working moms and share stories and hacks that will help improve their lives.
My decision to find mentors to help guide this project to provide inexpensive quality child care has already resulted in connections with other people who are as excited about this as I am, within a couple days of making the resolution. These are experts who know more about this industry than I do, and that has given me a renewed sense of excitement that I’ve got a better idea of where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. I realize now it will be a team of people that help me get there, and that’s something I have to get used to.
When you work from home, it’s easy to start to feel isolated. I know I need to get out more, interact with people in person and not just on the computer, attend more meetings, do more networking, and meet more people — because when you’re in a group and you’re using the collective mind of the group, that can bring far more clarity. That’s the mastermind concept according to Napoleon Hill.
Joining groups and getting a mentor is all part of learning to reach out for help. I recognize the value of having a mentor who is invested in my success. It’s not just a coach that I’m paying, but someone who’s donating their time. They really have to care to take their time out to mentor someone else because they believe in paying it forward. That’s valuable, because we both know the only payment they’re going to receive, besides my thanks of course, is the satisfaction of knowing that they helped me to achieve something great. If you are looking to find free mentors, you can try SCORE or MicroMentor.
So my final resolution is to do something I’d like to see all moms strive to do — stop trying to solve everything in our own little world. We put all the burdens on ourselves and try to take care of everything without assistance from anyone else. We all need help, and we all have a desire to help others. Society makes progress when we team up. Think of the advancements women have achieved because of our collective voices. So share your resolutions with your friends, and they will cheer you on and give you that motivation when you start to falter. Let’s figure out how we can help each other and work together to make 2020 the year that we achieve our goals individually by tapping into the power of being part of a group of strong and successful women.