New Year’s habits

Though Jan. 1 has come and gone, it’s never too late to start a habit that will benefit you in upcoming months.

By Amara Rozgus, Editor-in-Chief February 9, 2018

The start of the year is often seen as a time of renewal. New Year’s resolutions—frequently tossed aside in just a few weeks—remind us of ways to improve, things to change, or other ways to “start anew” an idea that was tossed aside for some reason.

Each January, we’re reminded that it’s time to save more money for the future, eat fewer “bad” foods and more good ones, and improve ourselves by learning something new. All of these ideas are great; however, we often resolve to add or subtract something substantial in our daily lives. That’s hard to do, as we’re all creatures of habit. So how do we keep these promises and challenges going for more than just a few weeks?

The average person cannot maintain their resolution much past a month. But according to experts and a host of online resources, there are a few ways to make and keep changes going well into 2018 and beyond.

My favorite suggestions include:

  • Make the resolution something that you can incorporate into your life somewhat seamlessly. In other words, don’t tell yourself on Jan. 1 that you’re going to write 12 articles for technical publications by July 1. While improving your resume and sharing your knowledge with the industry is laudable, authoring that many articles while working 40+ hours a week is a big commitment. So instead of planning to write late into the night for many weeks, commit to authoring one short item each month for a couple of months. Then, work at contributing two items each month. The resolution then becomes a habit, not a daunting goal.
  • Share your goals with others. You are more likely to gain the support of colleagues and co-workers when you share your aspirations with them. Be clear with yourself and others on what you plan to do, and use the motivation of mentors, colleagues, and others to get closer to your goal. (In addition, building upon the article-contribution example above, forming relationships with your firm’s communications team and respected publications will help you work your way up to becoming a trusted resource.)
  • Don’t give up—if you don’t immediately achieve your goals, try again. A different perspective or a slight shift in the goal might enhance your willingness to achieve it. Also, working with someone who motivates you, such as a published colleague or senior member of the team, can be a big help if you hit a brick wall.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably already set some yearly objectives on Jan. 1. Here’s an easy resolution to add to your list: Share your knowledge with others by authoring an article or two. Drop me a note about what you’d like to cover.