The whole “new year, new you” idea can be daunting and unrealistic. Instead of resolving to do things that are difficult, time-consuming efforts that make you feel crappy when you ultimately give them up by January 21, here are a few resolutions you’ll be able to keep—because they’ll keep you sane.
1. Say “no” more often.
We all have that one lazy coworker who asks about stuff they can easily just sit there and Google for themselves. And that other coworker who deliberately takes three hours to finish a project you know can be done in 45 minutes, just so they won’t get any other assignments to do. When these people ask you for help, politely say no. You’ll be helping yourself, you’ll be helping your boss recognize incompetent team members, and if these people are worth keeping, you’ll be helping them reach their full potential.
2. When you’re off work, be off work.
Establish boundaries and keep them. If you’re not in a profession in which your contract stipulates that you have to be on call 24/7, don’t be on call 24/7. Why? Because chances are you’re getting paid for 40 hours a week in your salary. If you’re working more than that, you’re quite literally selling yourself short. Which leads me to …
3. Know your worth.
Keep track of your accomplishments at work, including any overtime hours and special projects you’ve taken on, and hold onto that for your annual review. (Don’t have many accomplishments or shining moments? Work on that.) When you get it, request that you be paid accordingly.
4. Use your time off.
Use your damn vacation days (especially if they’re not cumulative). You need time to unwind and experience places other than your office, even if that just means a staycation on your couch with your cat. Have interests and hobbies outside of your cube.
5. Unplug—if you want.
The world won’t come to a crashing halt if you wait to respond to your company email until you’re actually at your desk. Similarly, if you come up with a brilliant idea at 2 AM, feel free to email it over to your boss—but don’t expect her to answer until she’s at work, too.
6. Stay home when you’re sick.
The world won’t end, but the spread of pathogens across your office might. Everyone will thank you. Really.
7. Sleep a little bit later (or go to bed a little bit earlier).
Instead of hitting the snooze button four times, just set your alarm for 20 minutes later … and leave your alarm clock or phone across the room so you have to get up to turn it off. The quality of your sleep will improve, and once you’re up, you’re up. Not an option? Go to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier. You will wake up that much more refreshed, making you less groggy in the morning and you may even get out the door early enough to treat yourself to a latte or pastry on the way in.
8. Have something to look forward to every day.
Whether it’s a kickboxing class, grabbing lunch with your best friend, a favorite show, a bubble bath or an awesome book to read during your commute, dedicate at least some time to something you genuinely enjoy.
9. Say “good morning” when you arrive and “have a good night” when you leave.
You’ll be surprised at how few people do this and at how warm people feel whenever someone does.
In through the nose, out through the mouth, slowly. It’s going to be fine.