The start of the year. For me, it is always a bittersweet time. One additional chapter of my life’s book closed, another opened, and plenty of narrative — drama! comedy! adventure! — to carry me forward. For better. For worse.
Towards the better (and to answer the worse), I, like so many others, craft a set of New Year’s resolutions. Sure, sure, there are plenty of items that quickly find themselves to the bottom of the file drawer. The ones that haunt every year’s list since I piled on the famous Freshman 10 and resolved the following year (and every year thereafter) to take it off, for example. But there are other resolutions that are truly about meeting the goals of this year with enthusiasm for work and personal success.
While focusing on the work front, I am nevertheless mindful that many successful work days are driven by strong and positive personal relationships. Indeed, if the rise of social media has shown us anything, it’s that personal networks have more than just personal value. Far more. With that in mind, here are my top resolution tips for your 2014 success.
Love yourself first
While the scientific data is still in dispute (as good science often is), there is nevertheless evidence that high self esteem brings happiness. Positive emotions, in turn, have been strongly associated with everything from good physical health to strong academic performance to increased innovation in the workplace.
In a study published last year in Psychological Science, researchers showed that those people who were trained in loving-kindness meditation techniques — which starts with positive self affirmation — were more likely to feel positive emotions and to express a greater sense of social connection.
You will find that high self esteem — and practices that move it along generous rather than narcissistic lines — generates a happy buzz that is good for you, your colleagues, and your clients.
Bring happiness to work
Of course, happy people make for good workplaces. This may be no surprise, right?! I mean, who can imagine a good and productive workplace that is filled only with Negative Nellies? Indeed, workplace research has actually proven that employee happiness matters to the successful business. In a pro/con debate published by Bloomberg Businessweek, Teresa Amabile, the director of research at Harvard Business School, had this to say:
Gallup quantified the link between employee feelings and corporate outcomes, reporting that lost productivity due to employee disengagement costs more than $300 billion in the U.S. annually. A separate Gallup study by researcher James Harter and his colleagues found that business unit sales and profits at one point in time are predicted by employees’ feelings about the organization at earlier points in time.
While much is said about the role of business leaders in this, we should each see our role in the story too.
Be a motivator
More than just acknowledging your own strengths and seeing yourself as a positive workplace influence, this resolution is about actively encouraging others to reach their own best year goals. Take some time to discover what others may be already undertaking personally.
If you’re a boss, recognize and reward those who would like to challenge themselves with personal and workplace goal-setting. If you’re a colleague, do your part in creating an environment that fosters team goals — one that reinforces those positive social connections between colleagues, clients, and customers and cares about each of your successes in it.
And, with that, may you all have a happy and motivational Monday!