The beginning of a new year often brings about the promise of a fresh start and a chance to recalibrate our goals (and assess the effectiveness of the ways we go about achieving them). But why wait until January 1st to make the shift? Whether you’re looking to reignite your career, build better relationships, or simply want to work and live to a higher standard, here are five ways to get started.
Create your mission statement
The first step in creating a meaningful career and life starts with having a strong understanding of who you are, what you want, and why you want it. What is it that motivates you to get up in the morning? What would you do all day if you didn’t have to worry about money or judgment? That’s your passion. Why would you choose to do that over anything else? Those are your values. What would you like to achieve with the work you would do? Now you have uncovered your mission. Write it all down and look at it daily. When an idea or opportunity pops up, cross-reference it against the list. Is the idea in sync? Is the opportunity aligned? If yes, move forward. If not, move on.
Remember that everyone feels like an imposter at one time or another.
Though it might seem as though everyone else has it together on social media, the truth is that we all have moments where we doubt our abilities, are bullied by imposter syndrome, and worry we have lost our mojo. The goal is not to waste time trying to eliminate those feelings but to use them as a sign to dive a bit deeper and do a proper self assessment to figure out what is at the source of your concerns. For example, if you’re feeling you have lost your edge professionally, look at ways to upskill. If you’re not feeling as creative as you once were, get outside and take a walk in nature. The key is to avoid going down the rabbit hole of self doubt and reminding yourself that you’re in control and capable of learning new things and making changes.
Stop personalizing everything
Whether it’s your colleague ignoring your suggestion or a friend not inviting you to an event, moments of devaluation can feel hurtful and deeply personal. While it might be tempting to lash out or allow your inner critic to start listing all of the things that are ‘wrong’ with you, neither lead to successful outcomes. Instead, remind yourself that everyone has their own set of experiences, expectations, values, and desires and those all play a role in their everyday decision-making. Most of the time they are focused on satisfying those needs and not even thinking about you. That said, if you do feel that something is happening a lot (a colleague constantly steals your ideas or a sibling repeatedly puts you down) speak up! Pull them aside and let them know that you have noticed their behavior and would like it to stop immediately. You’ll not only feel better speaking your mind, you’ll likely gain more respect (from others and yourself) as a result.
Value Everyone’s Time
How infuriating is it when you have moved meetings around to make a lunch only to have your companion cancel at the last minute? Have you ever felt disappointed someone led you to believe they were interested in you, your product, or joining you for something only to string you along and blow you off at the eleventh hour? Of all of the things we have in life, time is the most valuable and no one appreciates having theirs wasted. Make a conscious effort to show others that you respect them by showing up when you’re supposed to, answering questions in a timely manner, not flaking at the last minute, and never leading anyone on.
Get comfortable with self-advocacy
Though it would be wonderful if bosses valued (or even remembered) every win at your end-of-year assessment and dream partnership opportunities just fell into your inbox, that’s not how life works. Most of the time, getting what you want starts with asking for it and giving clear, indisputable evidence that you have earned it (notice I didn’t use the word ‘deserve’). Keep a journal where you can see it and write down every win, accomplishment, and accolade with names, dates, and supporting information. You will not only have a quick reference when it is time to make the big ask but you’ll also have a reminder of your success when you hit a slump.