It’s the close of another year, and it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past 365 days, and look ahead to our hopes for 2017. Whether or not you tend to make a New Year’s Resolution, the 1st January provides a great springboard into new choices and directions. Here are our tips for simple changes you can make to start 2017 off on the right foot, and power toward your goals.
Making healthy choices
The most obvious route to a healthier working lifestyle isn’t always the easiest to commit too. But rather than making drastic changes to your diet, try focusing on making healthy choices, consistently. Opt for the whole grain breads over processed white breads, choose sweet potato fries over regular fries, and lean meats over red meats. When the workplace orders in, make sure that there are salads and wraps on the menu.
Get the blood flowing
It can be tricky to get your recommended 30 minutes of exercise in a day, especially if you work long hours. A pedometer or exercise tracker is a great way to identify areas of your day where you could walk a little further or the times of day when you’re most sedentary. If you drive to work, try parking further away from the office to get more of a walk and the beginning and end of each day. If you get public transport, get off a stop early, or take every flight of stairs rather than the elevator or escalator. And once you’re at your desk, complete some simple stretching exercised to keep your circulation flowing. An exercise ball can replace your office chair to help exercise your core and stability, and the stretches will help you stay more focused and energized.
Tidy up your inbox
If you’d prefer a more emotionally focused resolution for 2017, turn your focus to your inbox. An overflowing, badly organized email inbox can create extra, unnecessary stress, and cause you to miss important communications and deadlines. Set aside an afternoon in January to clean up your inbox. If the email is dealt with, delete it. File everything that needs to be kept in project-based folders, and add a red flag to any emails that still need to be dealt with. Only emails with red flags should remain in your inbox – and as soon as they’ve been answered, they should be filed away with everything else.
Take better breaks
When you’re rushing to hit a deadline, it can be easy to stay at your desk, working at your computer, for hours at a time. But health regulatory boards recommend taking a 5-10 minute break every hour or so. Short, frequent breaks are much better for you than longer breaks – for example, taking a 20-minute break every three hours. Set an alarm at your desk to sound every hour, and make sure that you step away from your screen. A 10-minute break doesn’t mean you have to wander around or stare aimlessly into space. Turn the time into something productive – try nurturing a plant, completing a jigsaw bit-by-bit, drawing, or writing a letter by hand. It doesn’t just rest your eyes; it exercises your brain, too.
Reach your potential
New Year’s Resolutions don’t have to have a one-year expiry date. Use the end of the year as an excuse to set out your career goals, and identify ways to help move one step forward on your career path. Try to organize lunch or coffee with a senior team member who can act as a mentor, or ask if you can shadow somebody who already works in the role you aspire to be in. Identify training courses and conferences that you can go to, to learn more about your industry and develop the skills you need to advance. Update your resume and professional social media profiles to ensure you look appealing to would-be recruiters and attend networking events to broaden your horizons and help reach the next rung of the career ladder.