So, I was thinking…how might the most common New Year’s resolutions apply to leadership goals after we’ve all been immersed in a pandemic for months on end?
Resolutions don’t really change much from year to year. Our perspectives or motivations for why we want to improve areas of our lives, however, are enormously influenced by what we’ve experienced in the recent past.
I’ve opted to take a bit of liberty with the typical meanings associated with recurring resolution themes. By reframing the literal meaning of some, it’s possible to see how a fresh start with these very ordinary Groundhog’s Day-like goals can absolutely benefit leaders in the workplace.
Working out isn’t all sit-ups and running on a treadmill. Some of the best exercise is shaping and strengthening the mind. Continuous learning exercises the brain, builds flexibility and reflexes—keeps us current and relevant. Leaders worth following refuse to sit back and rely upon what they already know; those who commit to growing (and sharing) their knowledge and perspectives inspire others. Those who have spent the last several months working under very different circumstances than they’re used to have found learning and evolving has been a necessity to avoid falling behind.
That said, the literal meaning of “exercise more” is actually relevant to leaders. Did you know research shows regular physical activity improves decision making skills, improves concentration, enhances creativity and inspires confidence? And, we can’t forget endorphins and their positive impact on stress management and happiness.
Not all weight loss is about battling the Covid 15. Some of the best “weight” to shed is a direct result of consciously choosing to stop doing things that are no longer necessary (or never were.) Admit it: we all have a tendency to carry around some pretty hefty loads that may be better off going to someone else—or straight to the dumpster. Make a “not-to-do” list, which may benefit you just as much as a “to-do” list.
Learn a new skill or hobby
Believe it or not, learning how to throw pottery, play banjo, dance the tango or play volleyball (among countless other things) contributes to being a better leader. Hobbies that become passions help us detach from the everyday intensity of the office and immerse ourselves in something we love.
If you were part of the sourdough baking resurgence of 2020, keep it up. There’s enormous value in finding a way to relax the mind while creating something special that has absolutely nothing to do with spreadsheets and Zoom meetings. Trust me, your team benefits from you being less stressed.
Live life to the fullest
Most people would probably argue that 2020 wasn’t particularly conducive to living one’s best life. Business and leisure travel generally fell to the wayside. Changing how we celebrated milestone moments and cancelling adventures felt pretty hollow for many. Even maintaining everyday connections has felt daunting to some. Yet, as an adaptive and creative species, new ways of living fully and intentionally have emerged and evolved.
Living life to the fullest requires intention and energy, as does strong leadership. Investing in ourselves and the growth of others doesn’t happen by accident. When we make a conscious decision to live more abundantly, we achieve that by recognizing, appreciating and occasionally even improving what we have around us.
At Milestone Leadership, we believe excellent leaders are those who first learn to lead themselves. Whether this comes in the form of New Year’s resolutions, self-help books, continuing education, targeted coaching or something else entirely, the important thing is to actively seek to grow as an individual. As you evolve, so will everything you touch.
May your 2021 be filled with new experiences, successes and abundance!
Written by: Kelly Syer, Milestone Leadership Associate