With the changing seasons, holiday decorations, and cheery music flowing from seemingly every storefront, one thing is clear -- the end of the year is upon us, and 2020 is not far away.
The end of the year can be a great time to recollect, reflect on the last 12 months, and find areas where you can improve in the new year.
Improvement doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong to begin with; but everybody can be constantly improving.
Focusing on ways to improve yourself will lead to improvement at work, helping you achieve more in the coming year.
Here are some ways that you can stay constantly improving once 2020 arrives:
1. Read Books -- Fiction and Nonfiction
Reading is a great way to learn new things and relax.
Reading is a calming activity that helps you wind down, meditate, and gain knowledge that you might not have had before.
That's why reading is probably the easiest way that you can stay improving in the new year.
Of course, it's important to read things that will benefit you at work; read books to help you gain knowledge about your job, your industry, and best practices to do better work in 2020.
Some of the top entrepreneurs in the world -- Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, for example -- are insatiable readers.
However, you also want to take time to read for pleasure.
Reading has a number of benefits, including:
Lowering the risk of Alzheimer's
These benefits will improve your personal life and also increase your productivity and keep you always improving at work.
2. Listen to Podcasts Related to Your Industry
Reading has a close relative for people that are on the go -- podcasts.
Podcasts have grown in popularity significantly over the last several years, and now there are thousands of podcasts, about anything you can imagine.
I guarantee there are a multitude of podcasts to choose from in your industry.
Podcasts are a great way to learn about industry news, events, and best practices.
They're a great way to brush up on your skills and learn new ones.
They're also a good way to gain new perspectives from other industry professionals or people passionate about the subject.
Check out some podcasts related to your industry and use them to stay improving (on the go) in the new year.
3. Take a Course to Improve Your Skills
What better way to improve than actively learning?
Even if you've graduated and gotten a degree, there is nothing wrong with continuing to improve your skills by taking courses.
Local communities often offer courses for adults in a number of different subjects, from cooking classes to high-level computer software.
You could also enroll in classes at a local college, consider getting a graduate certificate, or, if you haven't already, even consider a professional degree.
Learning is the best way to improve your skills and become a better industry professional, and taking a course is like a fast track to gaining new skills.
4. Practice an Old Passion to Boost Your Creativity
Sometimes, when we're busy with work, we forget about our personal lives -- and our personal selves.
But we all have hobbies and passions, and it's best not to let them be put on the back burner.
Revisiting an old passion will boost your creativity which will help you at work.
Having something to yourself in your free time to give attention to reduces your stress levels and takes your mind off of work.
And to improve at work, sometimes we need to get our minds off of the job.
Having passions and hobbies that you regularly practice also will help boost your creativity which improves your work, as it gives you a new perspective to view projects and problems as they arise.
5. Get Feedback and Critique
One great method to find ways to improve is by asking for critique and feedback from those that can provide it.
Give those around you the opportunity to provide feedback about your work style, your management style, whatever you might want to improve as the year goes on.
This allows everyone to reflect and consider how they can improve.
Working to be a better business owner, boss, supervisor, or employee is a great way to stay improving in the new year -- it just requires a little help from others.
6. Work Towards A Goal
Every year, people make New Year's Resolutions; and while many people don't keep up with theirs, it's not a bad practice to get into.
Especially for business.
If you come up with some personal and professional goals at the beginning of the new year, it will give you a reason to stay improving as the year goes on.
Goals require improvement to be met.
You can't set a goal at the beginning of the year, do and change nothing, and still meet that goal by the end of it.
Set lofty goals to push yourself; push yourself personally, and push yourself to grow your business.
My goal for the new year is for MobileMonkey to become internationally recognized by marketers as the world's best integrated Web chat, SMS, and Facebook Messenger chatbot platform for marketing and customer service.
7. Be Open to Change
There's no possible way to improve yourself at home or at work without being open to change.
Improvement begets change; one cannot improve and stay exactly the same.
In the new year, consider implementing ways that change can be accessible and ongoing at the workplace.
Small and large company meetings that give employees the opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions without fear is a great first step towards implementing a constantly improving work life.
The people around you likely have their own thoughts, feelings, and suggestions about how things currently are.
If you're seeking to stay improving in the new year, it's important to reach out to those people and hear their opinions.
8. Get Around the Community
What better way to improve yourself than working to understand and help others?
Exploring your community, both for leisure and to learn and help, is a great way to improve your knowledge and skills in the new year.
It can be tough to work at a business in a community that you don't know or understand.
Start by simply exploring your community.
Learn the restaurants, the shops, the entertainment; this benefits you personally and it also benefits your business, as you will be able to know local businesses that you can work with in the future for various reasons.
Then, begin finding ways to help the community as well.
Volunteering, donating, etc.: these are all great ways to help your community while building connections and improving yourself along the way.
The more you know your community, the more your community will know you and your business; which is great for business in the long run.
Improve Yourself to Improve Your Work
Improvement comes in stages.
You can't improve your work without first improving yourself.
While a number of these suggestions are to help you make improvements in your work life, several are to help you make improvements in your personal life, as well.
Learning new things, revisiting your creativity, helping others, and envisioning goals are great ways to set yourself up for success in the new year.
You'll improve yourself which will lead to improvements at work, allowing you to be the best you -- in and out of the office -- that you can be.