There are New Year's resolutions--the majority of which are rendered lifeless before February's double-digit days. And then there are New Year's commitments. These are enduring, potentially game-changing commitments that truly move the needle in unleashing your potential. How are you going to ring in the new year? Are you going to cling to flimsy promises or arm yourself with ironclad pacts? You get to decide.
Many of us forget that New Year's commitments aren't just applicable to our personal lives--our professional lives are just as worthy. Here are four workplace commitments that are astonishingly simple, yet unabashedly powerful in propelling you to new heights in 2020.
Make your office space yours.
Organizations have been likened to "psychic prisons" that all but deplete workers' autonomy. Your office space shouldn't constrain you--it should liberate you.
In his book, Tight Spaces: Hard Architecture and how to Humanize It, psychologist Robert Sommer delineates two types of spaces: hard spaces and soft spaces. Whereas hard spaces are immutable, soft spaces are amenable to human imprint. Sommer discovered that when people are empowered to define their own space, they are happier and more productive.
Your office space is a soft space. Embrace 2020 by turning the tables on your workspace. Adorn it with pictures. Embellish it with personal trinkets. Ornament it with productivity-fueling technology. Make it your own.
Say "no" to desktop dining.
Your desk should not double as a dining room table. Unfortunately, desktop dining is an all-too-common practice. As reported by the New York Times, a staggering 62 percent of professionals eat lunch at their desks.
The average worker takes only two breaks during their working day, according to a recent Asana study (full disclosure: I work for Asana) based on a 2019 qualitative survey among 10,223 global knowledge workers. Lunchtime is a prime time for a break. It packs a one-two punch, nourishing both your mind and belly. Indeed, research by Tork, as part of a 2019 study, found that workers who take a daily lunch break exhibit higher levels of job satisfaction and are more likely to be engaged in their organization.
In 2020, say "no" to desktop dining. Put simply, desktop dining is all sizzle and little steak.
Bring your pet to work.
Many forward-thinking companies have recognized the value of implementing a pet-friendly office. A large body of research has found that animals trigger the release of mood-boosting and stress-quelling hormones such as serotonin and oxytocin.
But the benefits don't stop there. Research spearheaded by Central Michigan University's Christopher Honts and colleagues, as reported by the Economist, found that pets promote collaboration. Workers who worked alongside a dog rated their team members more highly on a series of measures, including trust and team cohesion.
Don't work at a pet-friendly office? Allergic to fur? Fear not. Research suggests that you can still get a lion's share of benefit by bringing an inanimate pet--a teddy bear--to work. A study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science found that the simple act of touching a teddy bear may increase pro-social behavior--behaviors such as helping, sharing, and volunteering, all of which make for a more supportive and enjoyable work environment.
Put clarity on a pedestal.
Too many workers chug along day after day without looking at the bigger picture. As you enter the new year, set yourself up for success by getting crystal clear on what I call the 3Ws of clarity:
What is my organization's mission in 2020?
What are my company's objectives for 2020?
What will I do to contribute to these objectives in 2020?
These questions are deceptively simple--the majority of workers can't answer them. The Asana study revealed that today's workplace is imbued with a lack of clarity. Only 48 percent of workers are clear on their organization's mission. Just 43 percent are clear on their organization's objectives for the year. And a mere 46 percent know how their work contributes to their organization's mission.
Start 2020 with clear answers to these questions. If you struggle to answer the 3Ws of clarity, take action. Set up meetings with your manager, peers, and team members. Ask tough questions. It's not worth it to go through the motions of your work like a puppet. Cut the strings, stand on your own two feet, and arm yourself with clarity of purpose.
New Year's workplace commitments should top your to-do list this holiday season. In 2020, cast aside wishful promises in favor of staunch commitments and you'll bring in the new year walking on very thick ice.