12/26/2016

Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet

By Sarah Shuda
Posted in Business

It's the end of another wonderful year. That time when we look back and reflect on what we've enjoyed and our plans for the coming year. What will 2017 bring?

When I look forward to a new year I like to think about what I can do more of, as well as less–and what I will try that I haven't tried before. The choices we make in our personal lives often have a big impact on our business. The two collide more than we think they might.

Below are 7 areas you could look to focus on to make 2017 your best year yet.

1. Multitasking

You might assume I am going to say you should learn how to multitask more effectively, but quite the opposite actually. Multitasking does more harm than good in reality. You may think you are accomplishing more, but by the end of the day you're 40% less productive. Switching your focus from one task to another wastes more time and energy than it saves. It can also lead you to burnout more quickly than if you were focusing on one task for a longer period of time. 

Multitasking while eating can even make your food taste bland. So if you're a foodie like me, that task can wait while you enjoy a snack without doing something else in the process. It can wait.

2. Your Body

New years resolutions often include something about eating better and exercising more. I like to think instead about the habits I want to form in the coming year, instead of calling them resolutions. It makes the goals I have for the year feel within reach and less daunting.

They say it takes 60 days to form a habit. But unfortunately this number is different for everyone. For me personally, I need at least three months.

One of the habits I would like to form this year is to practice yoga three times a week. I've been doing yoga on and off for years now, but I have yet to make it a weekly habit. I think the trick is focusing on building one habit at a time. And don't get too greedy. Start small.

In past years I have tracked most of the times I've had a yoga session. Typically it has worked out to be twice a week or less. For me, moving up to three days a week isn't a big leap. It's within reach.

What habit are you hoping to form this year when it comes to a healthy body?

3. Kindness

I avoid watching the news on television as it's often very negative and depressing and I have no choice on what news I hear and see. Reading online gives me the chance to stop at any point and read news that is uplifting instead.

After the big election, there is one thing I think everyone can be better at in 2017–showing kindness to others.

I don't mean you should go donate a slew of money. It's the small moments of our lives where kindness can have the greatest impact on others.

Let's talk about my husband as an example. He's taught me a lot about kindness over the years. When we go to the library in town he always puts more money in the parking meter than we need. He always says it might help out the next person who needs to park here who doesn't have spare change or is in a hurry.

Showing kindness could be as small as smiling at a stranger, holding a door open for someone, or putting a little extra money in the parking meter.

4. Judgement

We're often the hardest on ourselves when it comes to making judgements. Social media has made it more difficult than ever to get a strong grasp on the reality of the lives of those around us.

We only see what others want us to see.

This year, try not to judge yourself too harshly. The grass isn't always greener elsewhere. Those people you envy aren't perfect either. When you make assumptions about others you end up beating yourself down in the process.

We need to find the things in our own lives that bring us happiness and joy every day. No amount of money or achievements can make you truly happy.

5. Mistakes

I'm human. I make mistakes. I say the wrong thing. Hell, I even beat myself up over the smallest of things that a lot of people wouldn't even worry about.

Writing down the mistakes you make can help you move past them. Just as you are reflecting on 2016, reflecting on your daily mistakes can help you grow and become a better person.

Try writing down the things you did today that were great too. Reflecting back on your day can help you move forward to the next and live in the present.

6. Happiness

New years resolutions are often written with achieving happiness in mind. If I do this…then I'll be happy. If I "lose the weight" then I'll be happy. If I "sell 500 more thingamajigs this year" I'll be happier. 

What about right now? In this very moment. 

What are you happy about?

The coffee you're drinking? The fact that you aren't out in the cold or extreme heat and in the comfort of your home or office?

Happiness is all about perspective. This year remind yourself what you can be happy about now.

7. Growth

As business owners, we are wired to think about how we will grow our business each year. But, I'm not talking about growth as it relates to business. I'm referring to growth as an individual.

I've always believed that to grow we need to keep learning. As the years go by it becomes more difficult to learn new things. We become complacent. Things are good enough as they are right?

I remember back when I first started my career in design. A co-worker with two teenaged boys made a comment about how she's done learning and trying to keep up with technology. She's paid her dues and is looking forward to retirement.

I think about what she said nearly every week. Especially when I find it hard myself to keep up and still enjoy life beyond work.

I don't want to ever be at the point in my life where I stop learning new things. We may slow down as we grow older, but that doesn't mean we should stop altogether.

How will you grow in 2017?

Conclusion

To make 2017 the best year yet we have to first look at ourselves before we can help others or grow our business. Try to focus on one thing at a time, even if it feels like you aren't getting anything done. Be kind to yourself and to others, no gesture is too small. Form new habits and start small. Treat your body well, even if it's only by drinking one more glass of water a day. 

Remember the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Reflect on your mistakes and daily victories. Find happiness now, not tomorrow, not next year. And seek growth from within, aside from your business.

Happy New Year!

Sarah Shuda

Meet Sarah Shuda

Designer. Writer. Wife. Enjoys blueberry coffee, pinot noir, traveling & bicycling.

Twitter @sarahshuda