MY wife Susanna and I usually use the period between Christmas and New Year to take time off from work to rejuvenate and re-calibrate for the challenges of the year ahead.
However, it has been hectic the last few weeks. I have been busy working on my restaurant. We open on Sunday.
So, I haven’t had the luxury of taking any time off.
But even through the frenzied pace of work over the past week, I had managed to set time aside to organise my thoughts, which I could then translate into action plans for the new year.
When Susanna and I do this, we always examine our businesses to see how we can progress. We also evaluate our marriage to see how we can be more connected and supportive of each other.
What are you doing this year end?
Have you fallen into the “New Year’s resolution” trap or are you doing something more meaningful? There is a big difference between deciding on an action plan and creating a random list of New Year’s resolutions.
The customary list of resolutions is arguably the most useless one you can make for yourself. Stuff like “I will lose weight”, “will exercise more”, “will save money” and “will learn how to cook”, are very fragile. These are simply your dreams for yourself.
I recommend that you start with a proper evaluation of the past year.
For example, in business stock-takes, owners will start by looking at their purchases versus sales. Then, they will examine their current stock balances to see if they match.
If their stock in-hand does not match the sales figures, then the owner knows that there is an issue.
And, ultimately, it can only be one of three things — theft, seepage or bad inventory management. They will then institute remedial actions.
If they are happy, they feel good and will perhaps look at how to get better.
This sounds like a simplistic view of managing a business, but in essence, this is how it is done.
I reckon this method works even on a personal level.
If you are dissatisfied with your results, you need do some personal stock-taking. Only, this will help you decide on areas that must be improved on and can help you figure out plans for turning things around.
How best to do this personal stock-take? Start by reviewing the results and deciding if the efforts you had put in had yielded satisfactory outcomes.
Apply this to your work-life, family life, friendships, relationships, financial life, community connections, personal growth, and even your spiritual life.
If you are satisfied with the results, reward yourself with a nice year end treat and think about what you can do to make next year as good, if not better.
However, if you are not completely satisfied with your results, think about what your role is in everything, and decide what needs to change next year.
Some wise person is attributed to saying “…insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results”.
So, don’t be “insane”!
You must really think deeply about what you have to do to get a better yield.
Think about how you can improve your efforts next year to get the results that you will be satisfied with.
And, just like a business, think about marketing — which is the way you present yourself
Think about your capacity for innovation — which is how much you learn to expand your skills.
And finally, examine your customer service — which is your relationship with other people.
There are some useful questions you can ask yourself while doing this stock-take.
Examine what “hard-skills” you have picked up this year. These are the technical and operational skills that have helped you at work.
At the same time, look at your “soft-skills”. These are things like communication skills, relationship management, time-keeping and stress management.
Next, ask yourself if there are additional skills that will help or offer results that will help to increase your growth.
Then ask yourself this: “Is this where I want to be or am I on the right track?”
Answering this should trigger some thoughts on where you are in relation to where you want to be.
Finally, be honest with yourself about whether you are truly happy. I know many people who work very hard but are so unhappy. Be sure that the job you are doing suits your temperament because at the end of the day, you are in pursuit of happiness.
You have to understand how you have behaved this year, and you have to change accordingly to get more satisfying personal results. That does not happen by simply writing a list of New Year’s resolutions.
Best wishes for a great 2020, filled with success, laughter and joy.
Shankar R. Santhiram is managing consultant and executive leadership coach at EQTD Consulting. He is also the author of the national bestseller “So, You Want To Get Promoted?”
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times