I know that most of us are excited about the end of 2016, although somewhat nervous about what 2017 may bring. I am not one for resolutions and listing things I am going to give up, but I am drawn to the idealistic beauty of the “new year, new you” concept, so I do want to try something.I mentioned on Twitter that, for me, 2017 would be about what I can do instead of what I can’t do, so here are the major positive changes I want to make this year.
1. Say Yes to More
This isn’t about taking on more work, I have recently been working on saying no to projects that I don’t have time to take on. This is about saying yes to non-work things: going out to happy hour, impromptu trips, meals with friends. I have a tendency to reflexively say no because I think that I should be working. The end result is that I feel like I’ve missed out and usually I don’t work during that time anyway.
2. Step Out of My Comfort Zone
In many ways this is linked to my first change. I like plans and routine, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it means that I am less likely to say yes to impromptu drinks, meals, and trips. This is about choosing to do things that might make me slightly uncomfortable. This could be as trivial as a day trip that was not planned and as significant as choosing to give a big presentation. A couple of years ago I decided that the only way to deal with my fear of public speaking was to submit abstracts to conferences. So far I have presented papers at 5 conferences, and given talks at 2 different lab meetings. I hated every moment of it BUT I am getting better, and each time I am a little less nervous. Maybe one day I’ll enjoy it? Probably not, but if I don’t step out of my comfort zone I may miss out on fun and exciting opportunities so it’s worth trying.
3. Give positive feedback
We are all guilty of complaining. A lot. I know I do. If I go to a hotel and something bad happens I want to complain to somebody, but why don’t I take the time to compliment somebody if things went well? I have done this occasionally, but no where near as often as I’ve wanted to complain about things. So I want to work on giving positive feedback whether it be simply reminding my friends how much I appreciate them or emailing an employees manager to say how great my experience was. It won’t take much time away from my day, and I can’t see a downside to receiving genuinely positive feedback.
I’ll check in with another blog halfway through the year to see how I’m doing with following through. I already followed through on number 1 on Friday when I was invited out to happy hour with some classmates. At first I said no, but then I realized I was going home to do nothing so there was no reason not to go!
Let me know if you have any similar plans or if you’ve made these changes before and how they went for you.