The start of a new year is a great opportunity to better yourself --and your company. And the road to improvement is easier than you think.

As the year goes on, and you start to get bogged down by seemingly endless new projects, it's easy to sacrifice your long-term betterment for short-term wins for both you and your team.

But not this year.

While you're still in New Year's resolution mode, here are five habits to think about as you enter 2018.

Lead by listening.

Office environments where things are questioned and challenged tend to produce better results--sometimes slower results, but better ones nonetheless. A diversity of opinions and viewpoints makes for better products, and the best way to foster that is simple: just listen.

Resist the urge to give snap judgments toward anybody's input--even if you don't initially agree. It only takes one quick rejection for an employee to fear that they aren't being heard.

The best office dynamics are ones where employees don't just feel compelled to offer opinions, they know that management is listening. And creating that atmosphere isn't as difficult as you may believe.

Know the weight of your words.

Google's Eric Schmidt has sound advice for CEOs and other influential executives: Choose your comments wisely.

In a meeting environment, if you comment on each and every topic mentioned, your employees won't be able to tell what's most important to you. Likewise, while meeting with your employees, avoid coming to the table with an overload of ideas. If you mention five different objectives, you risk employees taking on too much in an effort to complete them all.

Instead, think of the most important thing--and just say that. Understand that you have an obligation to be clear, and you'll be rewarded with productivity.

Schedule a lunch with all your employees.

Depending on your company's size, it may be easy for your employees to feel overlooked by management. To begin the year, take time to ensure that doesn't happen.

If possible, schedule a lunch meeting with each of your employees. If that's not feasible, go for groups of five or 10. A little facetime can go a long way, and you might be surprised at the conversations that sprout from a simple lunch.

Each time I visit my company's office in Russia, I have a sign-up sheet sent to all our employees for a one-hour small group lunch each day.

I request that each person come with three questions and two pieces of feedback for me. These lunches have sparked great ideas and conversation, and also present an opportunity to be transparent about recent management decisions.

While you're at it, schedule a few meetings with yourself. It may sound crazy, but as I've written in the past, scheduling a pair of 90-minute "meetings" every week are a great opportunity to organize and prioritize your goals.

Give yourself permission to value you.

Nine out of 10 people would probably tell you they prioritize their family first. But how many of those are consistently home in time for dinner with their spouse and kids?

This year, get in the habit of disconnecting and leaving the office when your business day is over.

Similarly, dedicate time to your personal health. Start with just one sixty-minute time block each week for a workout, a meditation session or anything that can improve your physical or mental health.

Things like proper nutrition, exercise and getting enough sleep may seem elusive, but granting yourself enough time to satisfy your wellness will pay long-term dividends--both in and out of the office.

Read a new book every month.

There's one thread that almost all great leaders and executives have in common: They're all voracious readers.

Growing and diversifying your bookshelf will help you think about innovative approaches and could open your eyes to viewpoints or strategies you hadn't ever considered.

I'm constantly putting my own twist on ideas I read when applying them to my company, Arkadium. A book that I recently read, called Learn or Die by Ed Hess, gave me some great ideas on how to revamp our learning and development program.

Don't limit yourself to how-to guides or philosophy reads, either. Elon Musk credits a science-fiction novel as one of the books that helped shape his outlook. Oprah Winfrey calls Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird one of her favorites.

Open 12 new books in 2018, and this year might be your most eye-opening one yet.