23 December 2020 – I have a problem with New Year’s Resolutions. They sound great, in theory. Make a list of things in your life you’d like to change? Pledge to make improvements? All very positive, surely?
But there’s a problem. If you know you need to make some changes, why wait until New Year to act? Why presume that you’ll have a greater chance of success just because it’s January? What’s stopping you from making your life better right now?
I have realised that there are some things that I have been putting off for a while now. It’s hard to make big lifestyle changes at the best of times but, in 2020, a year of crisis, where days seem to roll together and whole weeks are a blur, it has sometimes felt impossible to prioritise self improvement.
This week, I finally decided to take back control. I’m not waiting till 2021 to make the resolutions that will improve my quality of life, and the lives of those around me. I’m starting today.
Here are my NNYRs (Non-New-Years Resolutions)
Throughout my life, I have always been extremely driven. I think you have to be that way if you are going to start and grow your own business. That determination to succeed hasn’t waned over time; if anything I am more ambitious now than ever. But the world has changed. We now know that it’s unhealthy to fuel your body with caffeine. We know that sleeping five hours a night isn’t the best way to maintain your energy levels. I want to make some changes to my lifestyle that will help me maintain my get-up-and-go without compromising a healthy lifestyle. That might mean I try some new things that the old me would have turned his nose up at. Yoga, perhaps? Mindfulness? Supplements? Earlier bedtimes? I’m up for giving anything a go if it helps me maintain my velocity and effectiveness for many years to come.
I’m not going to talk for long about my weight. I know I have told you all that I want to get into shape many times. Like many busy people, I struggle to eat healthily. I make up my mind to get fit, do well for a while, then bad habits start creeping back in. I’m being brutally honest here because I think it’s important to show other people who are struggling to manage their weight that I am on the same journey. It’s an ongoing battle. But as most of the UK breaks out the chocolate, cheese, port and mince pies, I’m going to practice moderation over the festive period. I’m not kicking this can down the road any longer. I’m going to prioritise my fitness today. I’m now exercising regularly – and not just the occasional 10-minute walk. By 2021, I will be well on the way to a healthier mind and body, with some established good habits, and positive progress under my belt.
Rest isn’t just about sleep – it ‘s about downtime. I want to start taking more time off to recharge. Human beings need at least a day a week when they take a break from work. I observe the Sabbath but have noticed work still preoccupies my thoughts – even though I’m not physically sending emails or having meetings. I want to get better at switching off. It’s something I have always struggled with. As an entrepreneur, you are always on – that’s what makes you successful. But I have an incredible team around me. I don’t have to be on hyper alert 24/7. This change won’t just affect me and my family; it’s about being a role model to my colleagues at BigChange. We introduced our Flexi Friday scheme to encourage people to take extra time to spend with their families but I need to set the example. This is going to be an interesting evolution for me: having some evenings during the week when I’m not poring over my laptop, strategising for the coming quarter, or obsessing over customer service improvements. I want to work smarter, not more.
I always want everything done yesterday. I don’t like to wait. I want to accelerate, never slow down. This is just my nature. But people must learn new skills if they want to evolve as people. I want to prioritise patience and reap all the rewards that come with a calmer approach to problem solving. I’m already learning that by slowing down, explaining exactly what I’m thinking, or outlining the precise outcome I want to achieve, progress is actually much faster and communication is vastly improved. Patience is undervalued in business; we all want instant results. But when you have a long-term outlook, and your business is out of the start-up phase, you can afford to slow down, take a little more time over big decisions, and give people the room they need to develop and find solutions.
These are my NNYRs for 2020. I hope that I will be able to maintain momentum with all of these resolutions. And if I can’t, you know I’ll always be honest with you about it! If you have any advice or suggestions about how I can achieve these four big changes, please do leave a comment. I’m always open to ideas. And please share your own NNYRs with me. Don’t wait till January 1 – start now!