A productive and successful start to your year requires careful planning and dedicated effort. Kickstart your Q1 and set yourself up for high performance by investing in these processes:
Define Your Goals
Setting goals and determining your criteria for success will help you tackle your objectives with realistic and manageable approaches. You will be able to develop benchmarks to keep yourself accountable and on-task. In addition, clearly defining your goals allows you to better achieve work-life balance. Here, progress can seem more tangible instead of abstract aspirations. Understand why you're doing something.
Choose your perspective. Are you looking at the big picture or incremental steps? What's more important to you? Are you aiming to align both?
Break down your action plan. Ask yourself: “where do I want to be 1 year from now?” Where do you want to be 1 month from now?
Next, articulate the necessary steps to get there (the "how you do it").
What works for you?
Who can provide support?
When do you make changes?
Try identifying roadblocks and obstacles that limit or constrain you. Author Jocelyn K. Glei recommends making a list of 6-10 "anti-resolutions" that prevent you from focusing on your priorities. Once identified, work to eliminate these barriers one by one.
Prioritize Your Health
You’ll go only so far as your body allows even with superhuman willpower. Lingering sickness hampers your abilities and the quality of your output. On top of that, you may be exposing your coworkers to infection. Soon, your organization may see a domino effect and downturn.
Incorporate exercise and fitness into your routine. Schedule a physical/consultation with a doctor to understand your current health. Establish a tight-knit support network of like-minded people. Seek advice from others on what works/doesn't work for them. Find what works for you and keep at it.
Our body weight is 60% water according to the Mayo Clinic. Supremely important, water “flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.”
However, there is no one-size-fits-all number. The Mayo Clinics notes that the amount of water you need to drink varies depending on the individual, his/her surroundings, activity levels, diet, body composition, and other factors. Consult your physician to understand what intake is suitable for you.
Obviously choosing to rest can be a trade-off to other priorities (e.g. newborn infants) in your life. Consider it an investment that affects more than just you.
Improve Your Nutrition
Psychologist Ron Friedman notes that, "Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance." Friedman explains:
Just about everything we eat is converted by our body into glucose, which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert. When we’re running low on glucose, we have a tough time staying focused and our attention drifts. This explains why it’s hard to concentrate on an empty stomach [...]
Now here’s the part we rarely consider: Not all foods are processed by our bodies at the same rate. Some foods, like pasta, bread, cereal and soda, release their glucose quickly, leading to a burst of energy followed by a slump. Others, like high fat meals (think cheeseburgers and BLTs) provide more sustained energy, but require our digestive system to work harder, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and making us groggy.
Avoid drastic, "get rich quick" changes to your diet. Introduce incremental substitutions and alternatives instead. Remember, you're aiming for the long term. Overnight alterations may yield temporary improvements. However, creating health, lasting habits is your primary objective.
Think of nutrition as a base in the wellness triangle along with exercise and rest. Each pillar is complementary in maximizing your health and wellbeing. You can only go so far on just exercise or just rest. Coordinating and balancing all three is the real challenge.
Make Time for Other People
Look for opportunities where you can be valuable to other people. Of course you're maintaining connection with your family and friends. More than that, seek ways to make a meaningful impact beyond your immediate circles. Maybe that means volunteering at a local community organization. Or maybe you'll concentrate more time and effort into certain relationships that need nurturing. As you determine your purpose and the motivating forces in your life, look to see how you fit in the trajectory of others.
Read these resources to boost your productivity and performance: