Independent Thinking Blog

Six for 2016

It’s a new year (happy new year!), and I’m not going to start by talking about trends. Instead, I’m going to talk about goals and expectations.

This isn’t about deep thoughts — or trite inspirational quotes.

I’m not a maker of new year’s resolutions.

That said, a fresh calendar can be a blank slate to toss out bad habits and get started on something new. In that vein, here are my six for 2016 to start the work year.

Break a (bad) habit.

Bad Habit (graffiti)

Maybe it’s procrastination, or not returning phone calls, or forgetting to eat lunch. (Okay, that last one’s on me.) We all have one. Mine is getting wrapped up in work and putting off taking a break. And, sitting at our desks may not be killing us, but it’s sure not great for my posture or my back. I bought a Garmin Vivofit a few months ago because it nags me after an hour of inactivity. Is it a blunt instrument? Of course, but it also works. I resolve to move more during the work day in 2016.

Spend money.

I’m not talking about going on a shopping spree, but businesses of all sizes are often stupid when it comes to spending money wisely. Sure, every dollar counts, but so does the cost of your time. Before email, I had a courier service to deliver documents to clients and a FedEx account to pick things up at my home. These days, I have a Buffer Awesome plan so I can find and schedule content ahead of time, a WiseStamp premium account for the logo-free templates, and Backup Buddy for painless Web site peace of mind. And did I mention that most premium services have better customer service? That’s also worth spending money.

Widen your circle.

Wood Pedestrian Bridge Over a Gorge

We’re creatures of habit, which means you probably have your tried-and-true networks and networking events that you attend. It’s all good, but when was the last time you left your comfort zone and forayed into a new community? Find a group, a conference, or even a meeting that is outside your core scope and make new connections. It’s good for business — and our brains.

Deepen your network.

I’ve talked before about having a network that’s both wide and deep, and we all have people in our networks that we talk to more or less often. Identify a few people you haven’t talked to in a while and reconnect. At a minimum, it will make you once again top of mind.

Identify one new project.

The problem with being busy is that we either make a giant aspirational list or we just keep on trucking and try nothing new. The key is to pick one, hopefully achievable, goal. Do you want to redo your Web site in 2016? Launch a new product? Hit the speaking circuit? My one new project involves  Medium, a platform that is generating a lot of attention. I’m in the very early stages of formulating my plan, so stay tuned.

Learn something new.

Red heart, hanging outdoors

You are always learning something new, right? I purchased two-year online access to Rosetta Stone with the goal of regaining some basic Spanish and taking my conversational skills up a notch. It’s gratifying to realize what I do remember from years of high school Spanish (and stunning how little everyday vocabulary you are actual taught in school). At least I know how to say “a fork” in French.

That’s my six for 2016. What would you add?

Feature photo by MENI from ASO! & Soothe.
Bad habit by bixentro (Flickr); Bridge by ellenm1 (Flickr); Heart by Rachel Samanyi (Flickr).

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