Start 2022 with a killer list of 10 goals (NOT resolutions)
I’m writing this on the first day of 2022.
All is quiet, cozy, and toasty in my Evanston, Illinois condo as a light snow falls this Saturday morning. I interpreted my 6 a.m. awakening as a clarion call that I should hop out of bed (okay, maybe I didn’t exactly hop) to write a blog post about living healthier, happier, and more productively in 2022. Note that I didn’t say I made resolutions; for me, that word evokes too much pressure, too many expectations; and too much fear of failure.
I'm taking a different approach. According to experts, you're more likely to succeed when you approach your objectives specifically— even creating "micro goals." Specificity leads to progress more often than do grand, sweeping resolutions.
Here's a trio of my "non-resolutions" that are better reframed as goals. These objectives apply to both my personal life and my professional one at Betsy Storm, Writer.
Improve my health.
Work smarter not harder.
Make a positive difference in the world.
INSTEAD OF RESOLVING TO IMPROVE MY HEALTH:
1. Seek guidance from a pro.
I'm scheduling a few visits with a personal trainer. Depending on your health-related goals, there are many options. For example, a talented holistic nutritional health coach can guide you on a journey of self discovery. You'll develop a talent for listening to your body and building a strong self-care routine. As for exercise, a fitness coach or personal trainer helps you create realistic, attainable, and even fun ways to reshape you body through exercise.
2. Drink more water.
Many of us (I'm guilty here) get so wrapped up in our work that we forget to drink an adequate amount of water. My solution: a chart on my fridge with a picture of eight glasses of water. Each time I finish one, I cross one of the glasses off my graphic. I won't always need this visual, but for now it's hugely helpful. (A lack of water can lead to dehydration that will drain your energy and make you tired.)
3. Attain (or maintain) a healthy weight.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the US adult obesity rate stood at 42.4 percent in 2020. It marked the first year that the national number passed 40 percent. Weight loss is decidedly challenging, but there are many proven options— from Weight Watchers to better meal planning. Here's a plug for intermittent fasting: I lost the amount of weight I wanted to over four months simply by abstaining from food and drink (except water) between the hours of 7 p.m. and 10 a.m.
INSTEAD OF RESOLVING TO WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER:
4. Quit multitasking.
“In many ways, multitasking seems like a good idea: by working on more than one task at a time, multitaskers are theoretically more productive," according to McGraw Hill Education. "But even though multitaskers might seem better at their jobs, several studies indicate that multitasking actually hurts productivity. Recent research led by Jeremy Marty-Dugas at the University of Waterloo suggests that constantly checking your smartphone while doing other things makes people more absentminded in their daily lives — and absentminded distraction is likelier to hinder job performance than to help it."
5. Improve communication for better outcomes.
These excellent pointers from Crimcheck, a company that offers employment screening, can help:
1. Listen actively.
2. Pay attention to nonverbal cues.
3. Be clear and precise.
4. Choose the most effective mode of communication.
5. Guard against misinterpretations.
6. Capitalize on new technology.
1. No matter your field, there’s always an array of tech enhancements around, and many of them are free or low cost. As a writer, three of my favorite (and fairly recent) acquisitions include: (1) Teux Deux, the best to-do app I’ve ever used, (2) the Hemingway Editor, which helps scribes cut the fat from their writing, and (3) Ulysses, which assists in organizing writing projects from blogs to books.
7. Focus as much time as possible on the most rewarding aspects of your work. When you do, the payoff is immense. You'll feel more creative, challenged, inspired, and productive. Along the same lines, delegate what you shouldn't do and prioritize what you must.
INSTEAD OF RESOLVING TO MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD:
If you're not already doing so, consider finding a nonprofit or similar organization with which you can share your time and talents. (You know the world needs you, right?) Besides, volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety, combats depression, and increases self-confidence. Importantly, volunteering offers a sense of purpose.
9. Become an organ donor.
About 95 percent of US adults are in favor of organ donation, but only 48 percent are registered donors. You can sign up right now without leaving your desk at organdonor.gov and potentially save eight lives — the numbers of organs you have.
10. Recognize the humanity of other people, and respect their dignity.
I’ll end with these wise and generous words from Gaiam, a provider of yoga clothing and gear: “Consciously realize that the homeless man you pass on the street every day is, in fact, a man. Through choices of his own or circumstances out of his control, he ended up in this situation, and that makes him no less human. Say hello and warmly greet him. Your greeting could bring healing to his heart, and help heal the world one person at a time. Treat people as equals, no matter how you interpret their social standing.”