Making New Year Resolutions – a Leader’s Approach

There is something magical about this time of year. While we always have an opportunity to reflect on the past events and set goals to achieve, it is only now when the majority of us begin to reflect back and try to come up with our resolutions.

The 2021 has been another turbulent year, full of changes and uncertainties. We naturally want to prepare ourselves for the next year to come, so that we can face the future with more confidence. For leaders this becomes even more important as they are responsible not just for themselves but also for those who they lead. In the time of the rapid transformation of a work environment, they need to be able to lead their teams into hybrid working, while facing The Great Resignation along with other pressures, from geo-politics to focus on sustainability. The only way leaders can prepare themselves for such a challenge is by taking a holistic approach to setting their goals for the new year.

To make balanced new year resolutions a leader should consider all of these 4 domains, rather than focus on just one or two:

  • Your Body (both physical and mental aspects)

    • WHY? It is simple – when your body is healthy and strong you can focus on other things and nothing will distract you from achieving your goals.

    • HOW? Make sure that some of your goals support and improve your physical and mental health, like ‘stick to a sleep schedule’, ‘go to the gym 3 times a week’, ‘don’t respond to work e-mails (unless in emergency)’ etc.

  • Your Spirit (your connections to Nature, inner self, Universe, God)

    • WHY? Spiritually strong leaders usually have a strong vision, which helps them lead, inspire and motivate people through challenging times. It also helps them unlock innovative and creative thinking.

    • HOW? Try meditation. According to HBR, meditation helps leaders build resilience, develop emotional intelligence, enhance creativity, improve relationships and keep focus on important things. Another way to strengthen your spirit is to ask yourself questions like ‘Who am I?’, ‘What are my values?’, ‘What is my purpose?’ and be honest, or rather brave to answer them.

  • Your Relationships (both work and private life)

    • WHY? Relationships are at the core of leaders’ ability to drive people towards achieving set goals. Also, leaders are responsible for creating strong, highly performing teams, and need to make sure that people can work together, which is difficult without building and nurturing relationships. However, leaders must not forget about relationships in their private life – they will serve as a rearguard. It will be more difficult to achieve your professional goals as a leader if your private life is unsettled.

    • HOW? Honestly assess your relationships (and try to gather candid feedback), so you can prioritise your goals. You may need to have few difficult conversations, where our CLEAR™ approach could help. Also, beware of various unconscious biases when you engage with people and set your goals.

  • Your Profession/Career

    • WHY? According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, 50% of all employees will need re-skilling by 2025, as the adoption of new technologies increases. Soft skills like active listening, problem solving, critical thinking are becoming more and more crucial. Correspondingly, leaders need to adopt a lifelong learning approach and develop new skills to stay relevant.

    • HOW? Think beyond your current role requirements and consider what you will need to advance your professional growth. There are many ways you can expand your skills – from taking an online course to volunteering your time or resources to help another function in your organisation, or taking a lead on a new strategic initiative.

While I don’t have a detailed prescription of WHAT goals you should set in each of those domains (as that will depend on your circumstances and needs), I am confident that if you come up with your new year resolutions considering all 4 domains, that will help you develop a better strategy of becoming a better you.

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