We hope that your holidays were peaceful and joyous. Time moves on (much too quickly) and here it is one day away from 2004. May we suggest 10 ideas for initiating the renewal process in 2004
You’ve heard it from us before, and we’ll say it again: take time for self-renewal in all areas of your life — physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual. Make it a healthful habit. “7-Habits” author, Stephen R. Covey, tells us: “Renewal is the principle — and the process — that empowers us to move on an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement. Moving along the upward spiral requires us to learn, commit and do on increasingly higher planes.
Tip 1: Determine your “Circles of Life.”
Before you get too far into January, take an hour or so to reflect on your life. To what are you dedicating your time? If we draw our life as interlocking circles, for most of us, work is the biggest circle. How are you finding time for the other important areas of your life? How do the many parts of your life (work, family, physical health, hobbies, spiritual development, learning, etc.) interrelate? Or do they at all?
Here’s a simple exercise that will help you develop a high-level snapshot of your life currently. It only takes a few minutes and can be remarkably insightful. Then you can redraw the circles for the life you desire and begin initiating changes to get there! Click on circles_of_life.pdf to learn how to draw your “Circles of Life.”
Tip 2: Develop one new habit for life.
Sometimes at the New Year, we are tempted to take on ambitious, comprehensive (and frequently unsuccessful) resolutions. This year, instead, find one small new habit you want to develop. Listed below are a number of books chock-full of ideas and possibilities. Many of these books are ones that we re-read this time of year just to remind ourselves about the habits and practices that make for a rewarding life.
- How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life, by Alan Lakein.
- Live the Life You Love, by Barbara Sher.
- Living the 7 Habits, by Stephen R. Covey.
- What Color is Your Parachute?, by Richard Nelson Bolles.
- The Road Less Travelled, by M. Scott Peck, M.D.
Tip 3: Move more.
Did you know that if you walk 10,000 steps a day, you will burn between 2000 and 3500 extra calories per week? You don’t have to spend all day counting your steps — invest in a digital pedometer. It’s a great way to track your daily activity and inspire you to move more on days you have been sedentary. Just put your pedometer on when you dress in the morning and don’t take it off until bedtime. Whether your goal is to achieve good health or to lose weight, get moving and you’ll feel the difference. Below are links to several sites that provide more information about how to get started, and how to buy a pedometer.
Tip 4: Exercise your brain – try something new.
Exercise your brain and expand your world just a bit by trying something new. The latest scientific research shows that you can fight the effects of mental aging by using your five physical senses and your emotional sense in unexpected ways. It’s called “neurobics” and the idea is to give your brain a workout by shaking up your everyday routine. So how about:
- Taking a completely new route to work.
- Trying sushi for dinner.
- Going camping for the weekend.
- Writing with your opposite hand for the day.
For more ideas, check out: https://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/mental-fitness/brain-exercises-for-memory.aspx
Tip 5: Get organized.
If you are feeling less than organized these days, it may be time to try a new system. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail! So, if writing a to-do list on the back of an envelope isn’t working for you, try moving to a daily planning system. If you’ve tried that and you aren’t feeling organized enough, bump up to Microsoft’s Outlook and learn how to use the task and calendar functions. Or maybe it’s high time you invested in a PDA to track your schedule and contacts.
Then, most importantly:
Tip 6: Schedule time with your organizing system every day.
Whether it’s 15 minutes at the end of the day or with your morning coffee, developing the habit of reviewing your calendar for the upcoming day, updating your to-do list and doing a bit of planning for the day are pro-active actions you can take to stay on top of your life instead of vice versa!
Tip 7: Schedule your personal time just like a business appointment.
Now that your planning system is revitalized, begin scheduling personal time on your calendar. Block out time to exercise, take vacations, and spend time with your friends, spouse, children, or grandchildren. Give the important parts in your life a fighting chance against the urgent!
Tip 8: Say “thank you” better and more often.
French philosopher Jacques Maritain said, “Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.” We all know the benefits that come from saying “thanks,” yet so often don’t get around to it. Whether it is to your assistant, a retail clerk, a customer, or your spouse, begin in 2004 making a habit of extending thanks each and every day for the large and small things people do for you. It can be a pat on the back, a quick email or a beautifully hand-written note — the form doesn’t matter as much as the content and the sincerity. They will feel better and you will too!
Tip 9: Improve your technological savvy.
Four years ago, we devoted an entire issue of our “Changing Times” newsletter to “riding the new wave” of technology. Love it or hate it, our work can be improved by the appropriate use of technology. The world of technology has accelerated at an astounding pace in four years and the examples we presented then now sound absolutely arcane. (For example, we suggested that you might want to consider getting an email account and learn to send email attachments!)
The challenge is still relevant: figure out a way that technology can make your life easier and more effective and then give it a whirl. For example, we have recently started using intranets to manage complicated projects. (Karen’s far-flung family recently set one up as well!). There are a number of offerings on the web. All of them offer a common calendar, places to post documents, discussion forums, and contact files.
Tip 10: Upgrade your professional skills.
We encourage all our clients to participate in some form of professional development and January is a great month to figure out what that might look like for you in 2004. Is there a skill that you have always wanted to develop? Is there something that you know you need to advance in your career? Are there opportunities within your company for professional development? Or do you need to find an outside resource?
As you may know, one of The Wunderlin Company’s core values is capacity building — creating in our clients the skills needed to sustain change. As such we have developed several workshops that we offer both in-house and by subscription. See if one of them is right for you in 2004:
The Wunderlin Company wishes you a new year filled with renewal and growth, both personally and for your organization!
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