So… It’s the end of another year. We’re at that time of the year when people give (unsolicited) opinions on what you should or shouldn’t do, habits you should pick up, etc. and here I am with another article about that, but this is different I promise. There’s just something about the end of the year that makes people reflect on the past and plan for the future. Around this time of the year, some people are making a dedicated list of New Year’s resolutions, some are doing this too without the structure of a list, and others are simply avoiding any such commitments. Whichever group you fall into, here are a few things to consider as we step into a new year.
We unfortunately experienced a lot of loss in 2020 & 2021. When it was the tragic loss of a public figure to a terminal illness which they didn’t disclose to the public (because it’s really nobody’s business), social media was awash with statements like: “Be kind to people, you don’t know what they’re going through.” Fair enough, but should we only be kind to people because they might be going through a terrible situation or just because being kind shouldn’t be conditional? Being kind does not mean that you have to be best friends with everyone. It simply means that you treat everyone with respect, no matter their status in life. Being kind means treating people the way we would want to be treated and having a little more patience for people who fall short of our standards.
Equally as important, please be kind to yourself even when you fall short or something doesn’t work out the way you plan. You are human and no one expects perfection from you.
BE A GIVER
Unfortunately, when people think of giving, they mostly equate it to monetary gifts. Being a giver is much more than that. Give your time to friends and family – check on the people you love, go on a coffee date with a friend, let your people know that you love them. Give junior colleagues some tips to help them in their career or mentor them, chances are someone did this for you. Give back to your community by volunteering; give to charity and help the less privileged. Give encouragement and kind words to someone in need of those. If you’re a person of faith, pray for someone. Give appreciation to those that have helped you in any way. Give passion to whatever you set out to do, give it you best.
My plans for 2022 involve a lot of mentorship and volunteering for causes that encourage more women to join STEM fields. I also want to give more time and attention to loved ones because life is too short.
GUARD YOUR HEART
Isn’t it amazing how one conversation can suddenly change your mind about something or someone you once loved? “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
As you move into a new year, please question why you feel the way you feel about people and things – were you influenced by someone else’s opinions or did you make up your mind about it? Whenever I notice that I have negative feelings about anyone or anything, I do a “heart check” to examine the root cause of those feelings. I do this because it is important to me that I do not make decisions based on someone else’s battles.
You can’t always guard your ears, but you can protect yourself from making negative life altering decisions by guarding and examining your heart. Schedule regular heart checks.
DO NOT SET BIG GOALS
Yes I said it but let me explain myself. I’m not saying you shouldn’t aspire to do great things in the new year, please do that. But don’t set big goals without breaking them into smaller actionable goals spread out in different periods in the year. My philosophy in life is that little drops make a mighty ocean. It is much easier to psych yourself to conquer a series of small molehills than one giant mountain. Set SMART goals that you can track per quarter or month (or whatever small time scale you choose) and find a system to keep you accountable through it. Use these smaller goals and milestones to then keep track of your progress towards the bigger goal.
There you have it. You’ve read through this article without being asked to start working out or reading one book per month (feel free to do this though). In all you do in the coming year, please be kind to yourself and others, be a giver, guard your heart, and take one step at a time towards reaching your goals.
Wishing you a wonderful new year!