Career SkillsLessons on Leadership

Three Tips for Finishing the Year Strong

By Jacquelyn Adams

Happy first day of fall! Can you just feel the change in the air? The temperature is dropping. Leaves are changing. We are shifting from summer clothes to fall/winter gear. As we are surrounded by all of these changes, why not use it as inspiration to take a moment (or more) to consider what changes we might want to make in our own lives?

1. Get a head start on New Year’s

We usually talk about evaluating our lives and making changes in late December/early January… and those resolutions often crash and burn shortly after. However, we can try to break that cycle by starting now. January first is 101 days away. Pick a habit and start a countdown. See how you can grow and change in these 101 days. We get more structure by keeping our eyes on that goal line that is 101 days away. I’m not going to lie; I love a good paperchain. It makes a countdown more tangible for me. The same is true for tearing off a page on a daily calendar. Regardless of your countdown method, when New Year’s day does come, you can celebrate the new you instead of starting a halfhearted attempt. Then these 101 days can be a springboard for even more significant progress in the new year.

2. Hone in on a single habit

When it comes to improvement, we often want to flip a switch and see results overnight. For example, let’s say I haven’t exercised in 5 years, but starting today, I am going to exercise at the gym for an hour every day… oh, and I think I will give up junk food while I’m at it. Hahahahaha… good one. Are we actively trying to fail and murder our self-esteem while at it? The key to success is to start small and maintainable. Want to eat healthier? Commit to eating one or two servings of vegetables every day. Keep baby carrots, snap peas, or some other snackable vegetable in your fridge so that if your day gets away from you, then you can quickly and easily have vegetables before dinner. It is about finding ways to set yourself up for success so that you can have success even on the hard days. Then after two or three weeks, you can assess your progress and either keep working to be more consistent or possibly expand it from there.

3. Choose wisely

When we start talking about change, it can be so easy to automatically think of those “go-to” topics — diet and exercise. I even did so myself in the previous paragraph, but I would still encourage you to think about what area of your life you most want to change. If you have any ongoing health concerns, diet and exercise would be worth considering. If I want a cleaner house, I might start with making my bed every morning. Or, if I want to cut back on stress, maybe five minutes of meditation or doing a gratitude journal while I drink my coffee. Do your relationships need work? Would you be more balanced if you had a hobby? Should you reassess your relationship with technology and/or social media? Or is it your professional life that could use some attention, perhaps learning a new skill set over the next 101 days? There are so many options! Still, it is best to choose just one habit, so focus on the one habit that is the most important to you in this season of life. You can continue to grow in other areas, and I hope you do. Just have one as your primary goal and be true to it. Again, start with those small, maintainable habits.

I hope you will really take some time to consider what area of your life could most use some attention. As I said before, choose wisely. These 101 days can serve as a springboard to something beautiful and meaningful. But for now, have a happy fall and an even better new year!

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Jacquelyn Adams

Jacquelyn Adams, founder and CEO of Ristole, uses her column to delve into the wild world of leadership. Whether the article is about her days as a Peace Corp volunteer, exploring corporate training, or even grabbing lunch at Chipotle — she will come out with a story and her “top tips.” As she passionately believes in leveraging her platform to share others’ voices, her column welcomes guest bloggers to create a fuller and more diverse pool of experiences for her readership. So, welcome to “Lessons on Leadership” where you never know what the next article will hold: online networking advice, guidelines for creating a joyful workplace, or even puppies. Just keep reading to discover what’s next!

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