I’m a firm believer in the power of a positive start. New weeks, months and years are like clean slates. Use them to erase the negativity of the past to begin on a high note. I’m not saying to be someone different, but everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has a skeleton or two in the closet and everyone has obstacles to overcome. Push them aside, take a deep breath and make this year the best ever.
1. Remove the words “I can’t” from your vocabulary
Here’s my story. I always wanted to be a writer but told myself I wasn’t good enough. Even when others tried to convince me to give it a shot, I didn’t have the confidence. Then this Internet thing came along and I thought it might be my time. Except I didn’t do it right away. I spent two years “researching” which is my word for procrastinating. The problem is, I was watching other writers walk away with gigs that were made for me. So I went for it. I landed the first writing gig I ever applied for and the rest is history. If I continued to say I can’t, I’d be doing dull office work right now. Nowadays, I like to look at what I can do and each year, there’s a new list of “I can’s” to trump the “I can’ts.”
2. Don’t make promises you can’t keep…
Everyone likes to look good or play the hero, but we can’t be everywhere at the same time and we can’t be everything to everyone. While “I can’t” is discouraged (in this post, anyway), sometimes saying “no” is necessary. Do step up, but don’t promise something unless you’re sure you can deliver. If you find you’re in over your head, be honest and bring in help if necessary. Work to move past your limitations but don’t say you’ll do something you know you’ll never get to.
3. …But step out of your comfort zone and take a chance
I have another story for you. Several years ago I wanted to attend a blogging conference. Except I was a bit shy and never traveled by myself before. So I told myself that I had to stay home and take care of my family. Others convinced me that I needed to go to this conference and finally I took a brave, big step and traveled across country by myself. I didn’t know anyone and worried about being out of my element. But you know what? I wasn’t. And you know what else? That one conference led to jobs, friends and important contacts. Attending that conference was the single most important thing to happen to me and my career. I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to learn that I have a talent for networking.
4. Keep organized
Take it from the least organized person in the world, you need to stay organized. Keep track of your commitments, deadlines and expenses. Don’t put things off and don’t toss things aside. The first time you lose track will lead to this giant snowball effect of everything falling apart. You might laugh, but I have to log just about everything I need to do on an online calendar so I don’t forget. I have daily (and even hourly) reminders for everything. I have folders and boxes and bags. It’s OK to be a disorganized person. It’s not OK to let disorganization run your life.
5. Everyone deserves a response
I only set up one goal for the new year – and that is to have better control over my email. My main problem is that I put aside correspondence to get to “later” but when later comes along I don’t have time or I forget. As you can imagine, this leads to poor business practices and hurt feelings. Everyone deserves a response, even if it’s to say “no thank you.” I can tell you from experience that no one likes to fall through the cracks or be made to feel insignificant.
6. Do unto others
Kind of self explanatory. Treat people the way you like to be treated. Don’t know what else I can say about that except don’t be a douchebag.
7. Help without seeing dollar signs
It’s amazing how good you feel after showing a kindness. Try doing something nice…for free. Give something back, pay something forward or perform a community service. There’s nothing more positive than being nice.
8. Learn something new each day
The best teachers never stop learning. Take some time each day to read, watch or listen. Put some examples into play and practice what you learn. Step up your game.
9. Remember your health
Make sure to take some time for you. You hear it all the time, you feel good when you take care of yourself. Eat right and get some exercise for a positive mind and body. It’ll hurt at first but once you push through the burn you’ll feel so good about yourself. Besides, you’re no good to anyone when your in poor health. Think about yourself as well as your loved ones and get into shape this year. That’s what I’m going to do .
10. Get offline
There’s a whole world out beyond your laptop. Get out and meet people, travel, see the scenery. Online networking is fun, but offline networking rocks harder. If you can accomplish so much from your home office, imagine what you can achieve in the real world.