New Year’s resolutions are often met with skepticism. The same targets are set year after year, despite our recurring struggles in reaching them. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
For some reason, January 1st feels like the perfect time to start going to the gym more, to read more, to pay down more of our debt. But did you know a measly eight percent of people actually achieve their new year’s resolutions? Just when we think we are gaining momentum, our goals are swept away with a sudden gust of wind, soaring out of reach.
Self-improvement should be desired all year round. However, the turn of a new year brings a fresh start, which offers new motivation. This is why it is important to ensure we are setting simple, tangible goals for the year ahead. By doing so, we are much more likely to accomplish something.
So how can you set up 2015 to be a game-changing year? Here are six resolutions millennials should consider (anytime of the year):
1. Slow down.
We live in a world that has become obsessed with the fast forward button. We are constantly aiming for the future, and the fastest way of getting there. Resolutions, in fact, are often focused on reaching a target in the distance, rather than appreciating the journey. (Perhaps this is because the ‘journey’ often includes working a dreaded retail job or living in your parents’ basement.)
The cold truth is: we’re stuck in the busy trap and we don’t know how to break free. Technology is partly to blame. Anyone reading this post will take in more information today than Shakespeare did in over a lifetime. We are overwhelmed with the amount of data coming at us. Did you know it takes an average of 25 minutes to recover from a phone call? “Yet such interruptions come every 11 minutes – which means we’re never caught up with our lives,” writes Pico Iyer, author of The Art of Stillness. (I wonder if anyone has tested the rate of recovery from a text message – or 10 texts in a row.)
We are so busy trying to make something of ourselves, we forget to simply be who we are. We’re so busy comparing our lives to others’, we forget how unique and enjoyable the day could be if we actually slowed down and took the time to live it. “It’s only by stepping farther back and standing still that we can begin to see what [the] canvas (which is our life) really means, and to take in the larger picture,” writes Iyer.
2. Add more physical activity to your day.
While our minds require stillness, our bodies need movement. Research shows sitting is the new smoking. No matter how active you are before or after work, sitting for extended periods of time is harmful to your health. For millennials who are familiar with sitting at a desk all day long, this can be a frightening statistic.
“The list of ills associated with hours of uninterrupted sitting includes elevated risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other conditions, which occur as your muscles switch into a ‘dormant’ mode that compromises their ability to break down fats and sugars,” reads The Globe and Mail.
Make an added effort to get out of your seat more often – experts suggest moving around at least every two to three hours. Make it part of your routine to go for short walks throughout the day – whether to a café nearby or even a colleague’s office or cubicle. Both your health and your productivity will improve as a result.
3. Focus on building a valuable network.
Although there is no magical key to success, your network can certainly unlock a number of doors. But only if you’re using it wisely – which means putting in the time and effort required.
As previously mentioned on The Reply, many millennials aren’t seeing results from their networking because the approach they are taking is all wrong. If you want your network to work for you, it’s time to stop networking with only your success in mind.
Think about how you can bring value to your personal and professional relationships. Be proactive in seeking out opportunities to connect with people in your industry. You’ll never know if you don’t try to reach out.
4. Be more aware of your spending habits.
We live in the era of the digital wallet, when making a purchase is as simple as a swipe of the card. But how much are you really spending on your daily visits to Starbucks? Can you really afford that new blouse? Do you really need to buy another new video game? Every little expense adds up.
Making a goal to stick to a monthly budget may feel somewhat daunting to you, but you should still be aware of how you are spending your pay cheques. There are a number of money managing apps that make tracking your spending easy, with regular reports and pie charts illustrating exactly how much you spend on Chinese takeout every week.
If, after tracking your spending, you still feel concerned about the temptations of online shopping, check out this Chrome extension that changes the price tags on items to the amount of time you’d have to work to be able to afford it. It might make you think twice before you swipe.
5. Maintain your personal brand.
When we think of the term “brand,” we often think of companies, but today the individual brand is becoming a crucial tool for all professionals. In the highly competitive job market, it is becoming increasingly difficult to set yourself apart. Your personal brand helps you stand out to colleagues, industry experts and potential employers.
Think about what qualities and skill sets you want to be recognized for, and focus on ways to build upon these strengths. This may mean pursuing additional educational and training programs.
Once you have identified these talents, you’ll need to develop a strategy for demonstrating them to your audience. Assess your online presence, and be purposeful in what you share over social media. Consider developing a personal website where you can showcase your portfolio of work and expertise, while also linking to your social media platforms.
6. Create healthy habits in work-life balance.
Technology continues to blur the lines between our professional and personal lives. Work and life are no longer two separate entities. They must co-exist. It’s up to you to establish some boundaries.
Keep in mind, the habits you are developing now will continue to guide your behaviours throughout the rest of your life. Be aware of where your values stand, and determine how you can integrate work and life in a method that works best for you.
Will you be making any resolutions for the year ahead? Share in the comments below.