Five Smarter Ways To Manage Others

Today, many employers say they’re having trouble retaining their younger employees—specifically, Millennials. At 82 million strong, Millennials are the workforce of the future. Studies have shown they want to work where they can make a difference and contribute to something bigger than themselves.

It’s imperative to realize that the people in your organization—especially young people—are the fuel to your long-term success, and the one person who affects that outcome more than any other is the frontline manager.

Today,we’re sharing five defined pillars of success for managers from business coach Jan Makala.

1. Engage employees with a compelling vision of what is expected, and provide the mission to achieve that vision. People respond when they are doing or contributing to something bigger than themselves. When national crises such as earthquakes or hurricanes occur, people are driven to volunteer not because they have to, but because they want to. As a manager, you need to create and share the vision and the culture that gives employees a reason to care, to show up and to do their jobs with a sense of purpose and excellence. Let them know that without them doing what they do, you wouldn’t achieve the results that you desire.

2. Make decisions based on productivity. By keeping your eye on the goal and having your people similarly focused, everyone will understand why certain decisions are made and can buy in. If disagreements occur, these discussions and opinions are welcomed because they are relevant to achieving a better outcome toward the end objective.

3. Motivate every team member to take action. People are more likely to take action if they know what is expected of them. When expectations are clearly defined, employees are less likely to disappoint their manager or their peers. Employees will work together without your direction or approval when they all know their roles and have bought into achieving the desired results. If your people don’t know what is expected, don’t be surprised by what you get

4. Have the assertiveness to drive outcomes. Are you more concerned with the process or the outcome? Managers are in place to strive for positive results. Employees may find ways to produce an outcome that the manager never thought of. Give employees the freedom to experiment and try new ways of doing things. Keep your team apprised of progress to keep them motivated If you neglect to provide appropriate feedback on your employees’ progress, you’ll immediate notice a decline in the contributions of team members. Remember, feedback is the breakfast of champions—be generous with your thoughts and expectations.

5. Create a culture that you want. Culture impacts every aspect of how you get things done, from hiring and developing the talents of the employees to customer service. Define your desired culture and then take it from words to actions. If you don’t like the culture you currently have or the results that you are currently obtaining, you are the only person who can change it. Your actions have to mirror what you desire. Do you allow negative behavior to go unchallenged? Realize negative behavior brings everyone down. Your employees are watching, and if they see you doing nothing, your lack of action will send a powerful message.

When employees believe that their manager truly cares about them as individuals, they will walk through fire for that manager. This connection gets to the heart of employee engagement.

Create an environment where people want to come to work, and your business will reap the rewards.

Source: Jan Makela is an executive coach, highly-sought after speaker, and best-selling author of Cracking the Code to Success and Be the Manager People Won’t Leave. Makela has a long and successful history of working with companies to ensure quality hiring and training practices. His specialty revolves around strength-based leadership development, with a particular focus on working with senior and mid-level executives, business owners and professionals.

Tapping The Power Of Outside Experts

We are not all expert communicators, especially when it comes to business. At times, we have to bring in the outside experts—copywriters and marketing or branding consultants. In preparing to work with them, it’s important to provide context and preparation. This will help these professionals to provide the right message to the right audience, and save time and money in having to develop multiple drafts.

Try these tips from Elena Langdon to help you tap into some extra power.

Know thy contractors. Before selecting an outside communications consultant, ask about expertise in your specific setting or field, not just years of experience. For example, if you hire a copywriter for a newsletter or website, look at her portfolio to see if she’s worked in your line of business before. Working directly with the contractor makes this easier, but if you are getting proposals through an agency, many will also provide information on the individual’s credentials and past work.

Explain your audience. Clue the contractor in about whom they’ll be working with. For example, if you’re looking for a consultant to deliver a workshop on employee engagement, let them know what your corporate structure looks like. Names and roles are especially helpful, as are division, unit and project names. This will help make the workshop relevant and personalized, even though an outsider is presenting it.

State your purpose. Your team and your counterparts across the table might know why you are discussing a contract, but an external expert brought in for the day won’t. What are the team’s goals? Are the

stakes high and the situation tense? Think of communication experts as extensions of your team and brief them accordingly. If they know your objectives, they can better understand you and transmit your message accurately.

Get it in writing. Perhaps this is obvious, but make sure you draw up a contract when working with an external contractor. Some important sections to include are confidentiality, deliverables and duration of work. Consider licenses, certification and insurance, too, if there is any risk involved in the work being supplied.

Provide context. Clear communication depends on contextual knowledge, so provide as much background information as possible. Let’s say you need an interpreter to help you sort out an HR problem with an employee who is more comfortable in another language. Inform the interpreter about any previous meetings, the main issues to be discussed, the type of work the employee does and anything else you think is relevant.

Explain specific jargon and acronyms. Your internal jargon or acronyms might be second nature to you at this point, but they probably sound like alphabet soup to an outsider. A short list or glossary can be helpful so that time isn’t wasted trying to decipher “the BPO merger” or the “quarterly up-queue.”

Consider your space. If you will be working with someone who will need to speak to your employees or visitors, let them know w

hat the physical space looks like. Will you be sitting, standing or touring a facility? How many people need to hear the external contractor? Will you play a video or will participants join via Skype or speakerphone? Knowing this information will allow the external expert to better prepare for the situation or even suggest things you haven’t thought about.

Make the most of their time. Whether it’s an hourly rate or a monthly quota of deliverables, you are paying for the contractor’s time. Think of ways to shorten meetings, including agenda items and committee work that does not involve the contractor. The more focused you are while the external consultant is on the clock, the better.

Send files ahead of time. Always send any documentation that will be discussed a few days in advance. Agendas, contracts, previous meeting minutes, presentation slides—anything that provides context and terminology will greatly enhance communication and save time during the actual meeting or event.

Source: Elena Langdon is a certified Portuguese-to-English translator and interpreter, and an active member of the American Translators Association. The American Translators Association represents more than 10,000 translators and interpreters across 91 countries. Along with advancing the translation and interpreting professions, ATA promotes the education and development of language services providers and consumers alike.

Images courtesy of Google Image Search.

Work-From-Home Tips To Stay Motivated

I recently began a job where I had the opportunity to work from home. I was hesitant at first, worried about how I was going to connect with my new colleagues, stay focused and engage in my new job. Well, I surprised myself in discovering that I loved working from home. I was focused, got a lot of work done, and even had time to walk my dog every day. We were both happy … until the new teammate came along.

Suddenly, I found myself having to work in an office every day. I was wasting two hours a day commuting, dealing with office politics and yes … the dog was missing her daily walks.

Why the change? It turned out that another co-worker, who also worked remotely, was not successful in that environment. He wasn’t achieving his work goals and needed others around to keep him focused and accountable—so suddenly we were both back in the office.

It takes some important strategies to stay motivated and successfully work at home.Promotional Consultant Today shares these tips from author Alison Buckholtz’s Harvard Business Review article, “How to Work Remotely Without Losing Motivation.”

Use the time you save on commuting to read a good book. Choose a time of day that you would normally be commuting to work to read. Maybe you read the first half-hour before you start your work, or you take a short break mid-afternoon. Pick a book that inspires you. It will give you something to look forward to as well as a short escape from the day’s routine. Plus, it might clear your mind and give you a fresh perspective on your job.

Get out of the house at least once a day. This is a very important rule. You need to step outside at least once a day. When I worked from home, I would leave my house every morning at 7:30 am to grab a coffee. When I came back inside, it signaled the start of my work day.

Whatever you choose—a walk around the block, an errand, exercise—spend the same amount of time on it every day or based on what your schedule dictates. For example, if you have a busy day filled with calls, give yourself at least 10 minutes of non-work related activity.

Don’t make a work-together “date” just because someone else also works remotely. This is the rule that I wish I knew about when I worked remotely. Just because your two neighbors also work from home doesn’t mean you should “keep each other company.” Everyone has different work demands and a different pace at which they achieve their work. Your friendship might be better off if you don’t work together.

Make someone else happy. We all hit a rut in our daily routine. For me, it’s usually at 3 pm. It never fails. If I’m working and don’t have meetings scheduled at that time, I feel the boredom and lack of focus kicking in. I could easily waste an hour just trying to get myself “back in the game.” Buckholtz suggests not to fight it, just re-direct. When you are at the point where you are tempted to start trolling Facebook, instead do something to make someone happy. She said she uses this point in the day to call her grandmother because it makes her grandma happy and it’s productive. So step away for 15 minutes and do something to make someone else in your life happy. Then get back to work.

Repeat “That’s what the money is for!” When you get in a slump, remember that your goal is to get a paycheck. The disadvantage of working from home sometimes is that others don’t see the depths of how hard you are working. You don’t get a chance to toot your own horn. As Buckholz says, “No one will appreciate you, but someone sure will be glad to get your finished work in hand. And you’ll get a paycheck delivered to the same home where you’re still unshowered and wearing pajamas.”

Exercise. Working from home makes it easier to have a regular exercise schedule. Exercise clears your mind and allows you to be more productive. Those endorphins go a long way to solving work problems in a fresh way and create a sense of positivity to get you through the rest of your solitary work day.

When all else fails, remember Maverick. Buckholtz refers to the story of Maverick, a Navy pilot who preferred the terrifying experience of landing his plane on an aircraft carrier at night over having to face his power-hungry boss every day.

While this might be an extreme example, remember you’re the lucky one. You have the freedom, the independence and the trust to work from home. In your sweats. At your pace. Don’t do anything to derail this opportunity. Instead, use the time to achieve work goals and strive for a work-balance that others wish they had.

Source: Alison Buckholtz is a writer and editor living in the Washington, DC area. She is the author of the memoir Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War.

How To Lead Innovation

There may be a time when you need to take the lead on innovation in your organization. The distinguishing aspect of leading a special-purpose team is that you’re not in control; you can only influence behavior. You’re tasked with figuring out how to do something new, so what you do in the formative stages will greatly impact the team’s chances of success?

1. Keep team size small, even for big projects. In Silicon Valley, the “pizza rule” has taken hold. If you can’t feed a team with two pizzas, your team is too big. Once a group gets beyond five to seven people, productivity and effectiveness begin to decline. Communication becomes cumbersome. Managing becomes a pain. Players begin to disengage, and introverts withdraw. When it comes to team size, less is more.

2. Pay attention to group chemistry and emotions. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon point to three factors that make a team highly functioning. 1) Members contributed equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate; 2) Members were better at reading complex emotional states; and 3) Teams with more women outperform teams with more men. The emotional component—how we feel when we are engaged with a team—truly matters but is all too often never discussed. Pay attention to how the people you’re inviting onto your team relate to others. Always give credit to your team rather than take credit yourself, and practice empathy at all times.

3. Don’t go overboard with diversity. Can too much diversity be a detriment to team chemistry? Researchers at Wharton think so. Too much diversity of “mental models” can be a drag on forward progress, say professors Klein and Lim. If members of a team have a shared, organized understanding and mental representation of knowledge about the nature of the challenge, it can enhance coordination and effectiveness when the task at hand is complex, unpredictable, urgent and novel. The researchers concluded that team members who share common models can save time because they share a common body of knowledge.

4. Establish a group process. A group without a process is like a ship without a rudder. It will have a harder time innovating. Establish team rules at the outset. Address how you’ll treat each other, how you’ll respect each other and articulate how much of time each member is committing to the team. Effective teams establish clear goals and rules at the outset, and hold each other accountable.

5. Pay attention to the 3R’s of innovation: Result, Reputation and Residuals. What motivates people over the long haul is not money, but intrinsic rewards. As the team leader, keep the three R’s in mind: 1) Result: If you hit your target, you’ll have another accomplishment on your track record; 2) Reputation: Your status in the organization rises. Senior management will be delighted. Colleagues will talk you up, praise your contribution, and invite you to join future projects. 3) Residuals: the lasting payout of participating in a successful collaborative team is that you get to see your “product” being used by customers, both internal and external. You know you’ve made a difference, solved a problem or created an opportunity for the organization, your team and most of all yourself.

Source: Robert B. Tucker is a renowned global futurist and innovation keynote speaker with a client list that includes more than 200 of the Fortune 500 companies. President and founder of The Innovation Resource, Tucker is an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of innovation.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

19 Crazy Easy Ways You Can Be Healthier in the Office you’re like me and spend most of your day in an office, you probably think it’s impossible to practice healthy habits on the reg. (Unless your company has an in-office gym or catered meals every day—if that’s you, you’re a lucky duck.)

Well, I’ll prove you wrong. I came up with not one, not 10, but 19 easy ways to have a stronger mind, body, and spirit in just your average workspace. By easy, I mean these are so quick and simple you wouldn’t believe you can actually improve yourself by doing them. And yet, I have proof you can!

Read on to learn my healthy little secrets!

1. Keep Healthy Snacks Nearby

As Muse writer Nina Tamburello says, “When the vending machine or leftovers from the 3 PM meeting tempt you with their ease and convenience, it’s hard to just say no to chips and cookies during that mid-afternoon slump.”

So, instead, leave a bag of almonds or kale chips next to your laptop. It’s much easier than getting up to snag something from the office kitchen.

2. Bring Your Own Lunch

When you make it, and the local sandwich shop doesn’t, you get to control what kinds of foods you choose to eat. Yes, this takes work, but it’s so worth it for your health and your bank account.

3. Hang Out With the “Health Nuts”

Science says you eat what your friends eat, so try surrounding yourself with people who’ll unintentionally help you kick your bad habits.

4. Stand Up and Stretch Often

Even if it’s just to tackle some emails or short to-dos, spend 30 minutes a day standing at your desk—we bet it’ll boost your energy. Oh, and if your office doesn’t have any place where you can work standing up, then just literally make sure you’re physically standing up and stretching at least once an hour.

There’s also nothing worse than leaving work at the end of the day with a kink in your neck or sore muscles, so avoid the pain with these 17 exercises that you can do right at your desk!

5. Practice Smart Computer Habits

Staring at a computer all day is exhausting, and hard on the eyes, neck, back, and head.

So, remember to take short breaks between tasks, turn the brightness down on your computer, sit up straight, use eye drops, and shift positions occasionally.

6. Schedule Walking Meetings

Take your meetings on a stroll, where you can enjoy some sunshine, stretch your muscles, and maybe get those creative juices flowing.

7. Take the Stairs

It’s a quick way to get your heart rate up when there’s no time for a workout. (If you work on the 20th floor or higher like I do, maybe try taking the stairs halfway and catching an elevator when you’ve exhausted yourself.)

Tiring idea? Yes, but science says it’ll make you smarter!

8. Work Out in the Middle of the Day

If you can, try taking an hour off work to head to a nearby yoga studio or go for a run. Muse Senior Editor Stacey Gawronski found that after doing so, her day flew by and she still got a lot done, despite losing an hour: “I [felt] so productive from my exercise boost that I barely noticed what time it was.”

9. Try a Quick Nap

It can be hard to just conk out on your desk without concerning your boss, but if you’re able to—and desperately need it—let him or her know you could use a bit of shut-eye to refocus and excuse yourself to a couch or private room for a quick nap. You’ll be more productive for the rest of the day. (Just don’t do it every day.)

10. Work Outside

“Believe it or not, your natural habitat is not a room filled with fluorescent lights and computer screens,” says Muse Career Coach Lea McLeod.

Grab your laptop, or an old-fashioned notebook, and get some work done (even if it’s just for a bit) at a park nearby, on a bench outside your office, or in an outdoor restaurant. It’ll reduce your stress, and give you a healthy dose of vitamin D. (And, if you’re not sure how this will work, try using these 16 items to help you shift your desk to a new space.)

11. Carve Out Personal Time

You can’t work all the time, it’s just not good for you. As Muse Writer Lily Hermanrealized, “My constant desire to work came to a head when I start showing signs of ‘brownout’—it’s the notion that while I was performing fine from the outside, I was slowly becoming exhausted, unmotivated, and uninspired.”

So, literally set aside a slot on your calendar for “you” time—whether that means getting yourself a coffee, scrolling through social media, or chatting with a co-worker.

12. Drink Lots of Water

It goes without saying, really. Water equals a happy body (and less mid-day headaches).

My secret for success? A fun water bottle. Try out one with a straw, or a button, or a flippy lid.

13. Buy a Stress-Relief Toy

Take your frustrations out on something else besides your co-workers or boss—it’ll salvage your relationships and ease your stress. For some great ideas, check out these 18 options that’ll fit right on your desk.

14. Start an Office Workout Tradition

Here at The Muse, we’re big fans of the 3 PM “judgment-free” push-ups—it’s when members of our team stop what they’re doing to do a round of push-ups together. Besides getting in a quick workout, it’s a great way to bond as co-workers.

Did I inspire you? Get a group together and start your own healthy tradition! It can be as simple as swapping tea for coffee in the afternoons or taking a 10-minute mid-day walk.

15. Stare Out the Window

Science says that just looking at a tree can reduce stress and make you feel better overall. This is probably the easiest health tip I’ve given you all day. (Unless you live in a city, then maybe try purchasing a plant?)

16. Replace That Second (or Third, or Fourth) Cup of Coffee

Rather than shoving more caffeine into your body, try replacing an afternoon coffee with de-caffeinated tea or sugar-free gum.

17. Turn the Music Down

Loud music is harsh on the eardrums, so if you’re constantly blasting it through your headphones, turn the volume down a notch. And this way, you’ll be able to hear if your boss is calling for you.

18. Give Your Hands a Break

They’re doing the legwork all day (unlike your legs), so give them a rest by stretching them out or taking a second to relax them in your lap. You don’t want to get carpel tunnel, do you?

19. Breathe

Cheesy, I know, but if you just take one minute (or more!) of your time a day to stop, look away from your work, and just breathe, you’ll feel a heck of a lot better. If you’re feelingreally ambitious, you might even practice mindfulness or meditation.

My final tip for you: Everything in moderation. Healthy habits are about balancing work and pleasure, cookies and vegetables, sitting and standing. You don’t have to stop having fun or enjoying a beer with co-workers, but be mindful of how much and how often you choose one thing over another possibly better option.

Did I miss anything? Got any secrets to smart office living? Tweet me!

Photo of woman smiling courtesy of Caiaimage/Sam Edwards/Getty Images.

Five Ways To Create An Office Oasis

My office is in the prime traffic flow area. It’s located near the break room, across the aisle from the call center and just down the hall from the C-suite. There are definite advantages to this prime location. It’s easy to catch my boss when I have a question that needs to be answered right away. It’s good visibility to other teams, but it’s a revolving door. I have people coming and going all the time. Between the “stop-bys,” emails and plethora of conference calls and meetings, it’s difficult to have a quiet environment where I can reflect and think strategically about my role, my goals and my deliverables.

Here, we pass along these five resources to create a more mindful atmosphere that’s conducive to productive work.

1. Use Noisli to forget your surroundings. Noisli is a website that provides background ambient noise. You can choose sounds such as blowing wind, a busy cafe, a forest with birds singing—just to name a few. The best part is that you can mix multiple sounds to set the perfect mood for concentrated work. You can use Noisli everywhere—it has a website and Chrome extension for desktop use, and apps for both iOS and Android.

2. Try Bose noise-cancelling headphones to eliminate sound altogether. The technology behind noise-canceling headphones involves microphones that analyze outside noise and create counter-signals that isolate you completely from the surrounding sounds. A pair of quality headphones can be pricey, but it’s a long-term investment that has a huge ROI on productivity.

3. Take a few minutes to meditate with Calm. The app offers free relaxing soundtracks and mindfulness meditation exercises without any payment obligations. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, fall back in your chair and let the sound of sea breezes carry you away for 10 minutes. Calm also has a timer that helpfully notifies you when it’s time to get back to work.

4. Use Evernote to manage your colleagues’ requests. Evernote is a tool that allows you to batch all of your colleagues’ requests and questions, and forward these in one bundle at the end of day. Evernote’s Chrome extension is particularly useful for writing down stray ideas that pop into your mind while you’re working on other tasks. When you deal with many prospects every day, it’s challenging to remember everything you need to know. Whenever there’s a need to take and save screenshots, Evernote Web Clipper can help with this.

5. Buy a silent mouse. I have to say I didn’t know this existed until I ran across these tips. There are two types of people in the world: Those who love the sounds of mouse clicks and typing on a keyboard, and those who would like nothing more than to get rid of them for good. You can now buy a silent mouse to eliminate the rat-tat-tat of the keyboard.

A quiet personal haven compared to the noisiness of a busy office boosts our ability to focus, and you’ll be surprised by how much more you can accomplish by the end of the week.

Source: Karola Karlson is a freelance copywriter and the content marketing manager at Scoro.

Do You Want A Staff Of Perfectionists?

Everything must have its place. Every meeting must be run in a specific way. Every project detail must be exact. You know who I’m talking about … the perfectionist who sits two cubes down from you. Or, perhaps you are the perfectionist.

Do you want perfectionists in the workplace? Some managers say “yes,” whereas others respond with a resounding “no.” The informed answer is, “it all depends.”

Perfectionists possess many traits that provide great value in the workplace.

  • Produce quality work: Perfectionists tend to produce high-quality work. They take pleasure in excellence and find satisfaction in a job well done.
  • Exceed expectations: If the boss expects a short summary, the perfectionist will submit a report. If achieving a 99 percent rating is admirable, the purist will aim for 99.9 percent and then 100. Being above average is not good enough; being the best is a self-imposed requirement.
  • Go the extra mile: Perfectionists often give more than asked. If a report needs to be five pages long, they will turn in six. If a product needs to have three new features, they will add a fourth and maybe a fifth. If they set a record last month, they will strive to better it this month. In sports, this results in shooting free throws while the rest of the team showers or taking 30 minutes of extra batting practice—every day.
  • Set high standards: Another trait is that perfectionists set high standards, both for themselves and others. As long as the standards are reasonably attainable, it is acceptable, and even admirable, for perfectionists to set a bar high—for themselves. (However, foisting faultlessness on others does little more than establish the groundwork for future frustration, disappointment and conflict between the precision-minded and the rest of the world.)

Of course, there are counterparts to these traits. One is procrastination. It is said that perfectionists subconsciously reason that the results of their work will never be just right, no matter how much time is invested, so why start? In fact, the project is often delayed until the last possible moment, so there is a plausible excuse as to why it’s not perfect: “I didn’t have much time to work on it!” Taking this to an extreme, some perfectionists miss deadlines and blow past due dates, often agonizing over some trivial or irrelevant detail.

Another side effect associated with perfectionism is a problem in making quick decisions. Sometimes, they need to “sleep on it” to be assured of the correctness of their judgment. Other times decisions can be agonizingly difficult for them to reach. They fear coming to the wrong conclusion; that is, a less than perfect one. They delay a decision while awaiting more information so they can conduct an informed analysis. Unfortunately, this mental paralysis is seldom cured by amassing more data.

So if you work with a perfectionist, be assured this individual will deliver an outstanding product, even thought it might be a day late!

Source: Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Sign up to receive his newsletter, read his blog or connect on social media.

Are You Making The Right Decision?

There are times when we all face tough decisions in our lives. Sometimes we have to make these decisions on the spur of the moment, sometimes we have to go with our gut and sometimes we resort to the cold, hard facts. No matter the case, you may question your own rationale and worry that your final decision may not be wise.

Today we share these key questions you can ask yourself to help guide you in making those tough decisions.

1. If I don’t do this now, will I regret it? It is sensible to consider the long-term implications of any decisions you make because you don’t want to end up doing something you will regret in the future. But it is equally important to consider what might happen if you don’t do something. You should not let important opportunities pass you by because they involve making big decisions. Ask yourself what you may gain, or lose, in the long term by making certain choices.

2. What am I afraid of? People often get stuck with decisions because they are scared of what will happen if they make a choice. Some people are afraid of failure, but others are scared of success. When facing a tough decision in life, ask yourself whether fear is going to make this decision, or you are.

3. What does my heart say? Your gut instincts are often the right ones, and you should never make a decision that doesn’t resonate with you deep inside. Put aside convention, unwanted advice and judgments from others, and ask yourself if this is something that you really want; something that speaks to you as only a heartfelt desire does.

4. What am I really doing this for? The wisest decisions you can make are those that keep the end in mind. If your end goal is stability and raising a family, then making the big decision to buy a house, for example, might be a step closer to that. However, if you have goals such as seeing as much of the world as possible, purchasing a home might not fit in with your aims. Have your goals clearly in mind when making big decisions.

5. Who am I really doing this for? Don’t let others’ agendas or advice sway you from making the right decision. It is always important to have others’ interests at heart when making a decision, but you shouldn’t always sacrifice your own needs and desires to please another person. Take a balanced look at how your choices will benefit you as well as others when facing tough decisions.

6. Will I like myself after this decision? Anyone can make a difficult decision that ticks all the boxes in terms of a solution without taking into account how that decision may make them feel about themselves. If you make a decision that is callous or uncaring, you might not end up liking yourself very much. If you make one that is unassertive, your self-esteem is likely to drop. Consider how you will feel about yourself for making this choice whenever you have to make a tough decision in life.

7. Can I cope with the fall-out? When you make one decision, it paves the way for other situations to occur, which you will then have to deal with. Making a tough decision can have many ramifications. Taking certain paths can affect your finances, your relationships, your friendships and your career. Think things through, and decide whether you will be able to cope with the consequences of your decision, and how you will deal with the fallout.

Source: Beth Burgess is a solution-focused therapist, coach and writer specializing in addiction, anxiety disorders, stress and mental wellbeing. She is the author of The Recovery Formula andThe Happy Addict. Burgess is also a speaker and trainer, and runs employee development workshops.

She is a bit of a walking miracle, having recovered from alcoholism, social anxiety disorder, bulimia, self-harm and borderline personality disorder.

20 Tips for a Positive New Year

1. Stay positive.
You can listen to the cynics and doubters and believe that success is impossible or you can know that with faith and an optimistic attitude all things are possible.

2. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement:
My purpose is_______________________.

3. Take a morning walk of gratitude.
I call it a “thank you walk.” It will create a fertile mind ready for success.

4. Instead of being disappointed about where you are…
…think optimistically about where you are going.

5. Eat…
…breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

6. Remember that…
…adversity is not a dead-end but a detour to a better outcome.

7. Focus on…
…learning, loving, growing and serving.

8. Believe that everything happens for a reason.
Expect good things to come out of challenging experiences.

9. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control.
Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

10. Mentor someone…
…and be mentored by someone.

11. Live with the 3 E’s.
Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy.

12. Remember…
…there’s no substitute for hard work.

13. Zoom focus.
Each day when you wake up in the morning ask: “What are the three most important things I need to do today that will help me create the success I desire?” Then tune out all the distractions and focus on these actions.

14. Implement the NoComplainingRule.
Complaining is like vomiting. Afterwards you feel better but everyone around you feels sick.

15. Read more books than you did in 2010.
I happen to know of a few good ones!

16. Get more sleep.
You can’t replace sleep with a double latte.

17. Focus on “Get to” vs “Have to.
Each day focus on what you get to do, not what you have to do. Life is a gift not an obligation.

18. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:
I am thankful for __________.

Today I accomplished____________.

19. Smile and laugh more.
They are natural anti-depressants.

20. Enjoy the ride.
You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy it.