Ideas to get you moving in the right direction

Where did this year go? Are you thinking about some New Year’s resolutions? Here are some little ideas that will get you moving in the right direction this year.

Learn something new.
Do you have a degree? If you do, that’s great…it only means you used to know a lot. What have you learned lately? What is the name of the last business book you read? What publications are you reading (besides catalogues)? The new economy is moving so fast, you need to step up your daily learning to keep pace.

But, if you’re like most people, you’re swamped. So instead of setting an unrealistic goal, be reasonable. For example, next year, why not read at least two business books and subscribe to at least one weekly or monthly magazine that will expose you to new ideas. For example, I’ve found a gem of a magazine, Discovery Magazine, from the folks at the Discovery Channel. It’s filled with fascinating information about new and exciting discoveries that are changing our lives. I can use the information in my work and I’m a lot more interesting at cocktail parties.

Face your fear.
What are you afraid of? Public speaking? Computers? Going back to school? Leaving a job you hate? Confident people aren’t born that way. They become stronger by facing the things that stand in their way and overcoming them one at a time. After knowing someone for a short time, I can almost guess if they’ve had any adversity in their lives. Somehow they seem more resilient. They have an inner strength they know will get them through the next tough time.

Manufacture some adversity for yourself. If you’ve been doing the same job, hanging out with the same people and doing the same things for years, chances are you are too complacent. Push yourself this year to face something that has been holding you back.

Be a better friend.
Friends are the first to go during busy times. Yet, they are the people we need most desperately when things go wrong and we need support. Do you have a small group of 4-in-the-morning friends? These are the people you could call at 4 a.m. and they would be there for you. You don’t need many…just a few will do.

Can you name two or three people you really want to keep in your life? What are you doing about it? A few years ago I was so consumed with work I rarely called anyone. I relied on them to seek me out. I decided to be a better friend. Since then, I’ve called more often and scheduled lunch or dinner and occasional activities. I found it doesn’t take that much extra energy or time. After all, they’re busy too.

Be a better spouse and parent.
The year my book was published, I was rarely home. Book signings and speaking engagements filled every waking hour. Whenever we had something good to eat my son would say, "Mmmm mmm, just like mom used to open." It was also around that time that my husband took me out for dinner and told me, "Joan, I love you but I don’t like you much lately". He went on to explain that I was never home, and was so preoccupied with work that I had stopped being "present" in other parts of my life.

A lot has changed since then. I decided to start with small steps such as taking my son out to dinner each Wednesday night. ("Okay mom, but not where my friends will see me. And we’re not going to talk about school, okay?") My husband and I started our Friday night dates, just the two of us. Those first two steps led me down a healthier path that has made me a better person, with the support of a loving family. What can you do this year to add value to your family?

Be nicer to yourself.
During a workshop I was giving for managers on how to reduce stress for employees, I asked, "What do you do just for yourself?" There was a long silence as people searched their recent past to come up with one thing they had done to be nice to themselves. Finally, a woman raised her hand and said that she had gone to a spa. Then she quickly added that it had made her feel guilty.

This year, do something just for you. Take a little time here and there to browse antique shops or bookstores, read a chapter a night in a good book, take more walks in the woods, go fishing or get your nails done. If you fill up your emotional bank account, it will be easier to make deposits into the accounts of others.

Tackle a nagging problem or act on a looming opportunity.
Do you have something that never seems to come off of your To Do List? Does it drive you nuts to think about it, knowing that you’re putting it off and it must get done? It’s time to take a bite out of it. That’s how I felt about my website before we built it. It seemed too huge to begin. But after taking a small step it became easier to take the next and before long it was healthy and evolving. It will make you feel so much better about yourself next year when you assess the progress you’ve made.

Have a happy, healthy and proactive New Year!

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616,, or 
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