Happy Monday, people! For many of you today is the first day back at work and may be accompanied by that sinking feeling known as the back-to-work blues, traditional in these parts late January each year. Fear not good people, I have a top technique for you to get back into the swing of things.
There are two questions I recommend you ask yourself on day 1, when you have the benefit of full energy and perspective having stepped away from the coal face for several weeks. When we are stuck on the hamster wheel of doing, doing, doing, it can be hard to get the bigger picture we need to see what's truly working for us and what's not. When we are stressed and in the thick of it we tend to get caught up in the detail and just add more and more things to the To Do list. On day 1 of a fresh new working year, with the benefit of a fresh and elevated perspective about what's important, it's a great time to consider these two questions:
What's one thing I am going to START doing in 2017?
What's one thing I am going to STOP doing in 2017?
Deceptively simple questions. Rather than creating an exhaustive and overwhelming To Do list of goals, resolutions and projects that makes your heart sink, try making a simple commitment on Day 1: just one thing to START doing, and one thing to STOP doing that will refocus your energy on what you can control and kick your year off with focus.
You might want to START leaving on time on Tuesdays, or start filing emails as they come in rather than letting your inbox get out of control, or have one day a week that is designated meeting-free so you can get bigger project work done. You might want to START making a regular lunch date with a mentor, or START afresh with a difficult client relationship or START speaking up for yourself more confidently.
You might want to STOP getting sucked into complaining conversations with Bob from Accounts, or STOP repeatedly submitting your expenses late, or STOP bitching about the inventory system because it doesn't actually change anything. You might want to STOP buying stuff from the vending machine, or STOP being taken advantage of by a certain person who does not reciprocate. Or STOP habitually apologising when you haven't done anything wrong.
Look at where your energy goes. Who and what GIVES you energy and enthusiasm, and who and what DEPLETES it? There is a well-known quote that is variously attributed to Tony Robbins, Henry Ford and others that says "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." So if you want a little more from 2017, and are ready for more - maybe more fun, more responsibility, more growth - you need to change something up. It can be as simple as stopping something that doesn't serve you (even though you may have habitually been carrying it out for years, decades even) and starting a life- or work-affirming attitude or behaviour that will have positive ripple effects through the year. Start something where you have no idea what the outcome will be, but start anyway.
If it's your Day 1 today, welcome back. Commit to something to start, and something to stop and get set for a great year. And for those of you who still have a week or more to go, enjoy.