The 10 Resolutions You SHOULD Be Making for 2021
I know, I know. Everybody is telling you about New Year's resolutions. Everybody is saying how terrible 2020 was and how 2021 is going to Your Year. Every commercial on TV is for a gym or a diet program. Everybody's talking about Dry January as they sober up from their living room-based New Year's Eve celebrations.
I'm not here to talk to you about any of that. I'm just here with some modest proposals for New Year's resolutions that are maybe a little more real, a little more sustainable, and a little easier to do than usual.
In addition, I'm not here to dump on 2020. I think a lot of us learned a lot of things last year. In the words of the immortal Kylie Jenner, it was the year of realizing stuff.
So here are some thoughts to take you into the new year. Maybe they'll be helpful. Maybe they won't. Your mileage may vary, so feel free to use what works for you and leave the rest on the side of the road.
Start saying YES, even when you don't think you're ready.
I talk to a lot of people in the course of my work -- clients, colleagues, industry leaders, experts and influencers of various kinds. I often offer them opportunities to be featured in something that I'm working on -- an article, a profile, a roundup -- and you'd be surprised at the people who refuse to take advantage of that opportunity.
Often, it's women who say no because they don't think that they're ready or they don't think they're important enough or smart enough. I get that. My first impulse is often to hang back because I am afraid I won't come across well or I'm too wrinkled and fat for that interview or not smart enough to be a guest on that podcast.
The difference is that I completely ignore that impulse and say Yes anyway. Even when I don't feel ready. Even when I'm not sure. And here's the truth: I have never regretted saying Yes to an opportunity and many times I have been rewarded with lots of positive attention, new clients, and invitations to return again.
In her book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg talks about how women will turn down great professional opportunities because they've "never done that job/project/task" before and they don't feel confident in their abilities. Here's the tea, SIs -- you're never going to do it until you say Yes. You're getting the opportunity because someone sees something in you. Say Yes, do your best, and if nothing else you'll learn something in the process.
Let go of people who don't respect you or treat you well.
You know that I'm a fan of cutting people loose when things are not working out. One of the big things that has come out of 2020 is that a lot of us have figured out that there are people we are relieved to be socially distant from. They may be clients, colleagues, the overbearing mom at your kid's school or, and here's where you're going to have to hang in there with me, they may be members of your own family or close friend group.
Now, what I mean by this is that there are toxic people who we continue to deal with because we feel that we have no choice. If you secretly enjoyed the holidays more this year because you didn't have to deal with certain family members, that is information you need to take on and process. If you loved not having to socialize with that friend who constantly demeans you, you need to onboard that as well.
Sometimes we fall into destructive patterns of excusing the behavior of others because we don't want to rock the boat. Well, guess what. The boat has been rocked. You've made it through the holidays without seeing some of those people. By the time things are back to normal, you may have made it through more or less a full calendar year without seeing them.
Maybe you should rethink whether you want to go back to the way things used to be. Maybe you want to continue to let that relationship drift. Maybe some of your traditions and get-togethers were ready for disruption, and maybe you don't need to start them up again once life returns to business-as-usual.
Figure out one change that would make a major difference in your life.
Resolutions are often about a laundry list of habits and changes which eventually fall by the wayside as January wears on. That's why I don't believe in doing a lot of different things, but choosing just one change and committing to it.
This shouldn't be small and it shouldn't be trivial. It should be so rewarding that it becomes self-sustaining. Maybe you need to set aside 30 minutes each day just to work on stuff that matters to you. If you spend all of your time only working on client needs, you are doing nothing to develop yourself, your business, and your interests. Thirty minutes each day of the year adds up to 7.604 days or more than a week dedicated to building forward momentum in your life and business.
Maybe you should take up a new hobby or go back to school. The time is going to pass anyway. Wouldn't you like to come out of the next 365 days with new skills, new interests, and maybe even a whole new perspective?
Maybe you need to make a change in your personal life. Maybe you need to go to therapy. Maybe you need to get a handle on some addictive behavior that you are experiencing. Maybe you need to have some serious discussions with your significant other. I don't know, but I do know that one big change can make a huge and positive difference in the trajectory of your life.
Outsource one task that you hate doing.
I love talking to clients about property descriptions. For many of them, it is the one writing task that they hate above all others and it is the thing they dread most about taking a new listing. By outsourcing the task to me, they are able to instantly feel better about each listing while simplifying their life and feeling more confident in their marketing strategy. A big win.
However, the task you hate doing may have nothing to do with running your business. Maybe you hate going to the grocery store. Maybe you hate cleaning your house. Maybe you hate cooking. There are plenty of people who are happy to do all of those tasks in exchange for modest compensation.
It can feel indulgent to spend money on something that you are able to do yourself. It's not. You are buying freedom for yourself and you are helping someone else make a living. Both of those things are positive and worthy.
With the time and energy -- both physical and mental -- that you save when you outsource something that is associated with negativity or tedium or frustration, you can turn your time and attention to other things that matter more. You can make your days more pleasant and your family time more focused. You can nag less and stress less and enjoy more.
Pay attention to your internal monologue to find your biggest pain point, then address it.
You know that internal chatter that goes on all of the time, especially when you're not distracted? We sometimes struggle to silence it, but I'm going to tell you that you need to start taking some time to listen to it as well. When one thought keeps rising to the surface, it needs to go to the top of your to-do list.
I am bad about putting off what I consider tedious tasks like filling out a form or making an appointment. As a result, I often end up with a huge list of things to do that I can't stop thinking about. When I sit down to do these tasks, they often take just a minute or two. The aggregate time I have spent thinking about them, dreading them, putting them off, panicking over them probably adds up to hours while the task itself took no time.
If you find that something is popping up again and again in your thoughts and you know that it will not take long, I encourage you to get up and go take care of that one task, even if it interrupts your flow on a larger, seemingly more important task. The energy you will save and the relief of checking off that one little item will allow you to be more efficient and more focused once you return.
Make time to take care of yourself every single day because you are worth it.
This is one that I am learning late in life. I have spent much of my adult life taking care of others -- family members, children, pets, clients -- and very little time taking care of myself. I am not talking here about self-care in the sense of facials and spa days and mani-pedis. I'm talking about basic skin care, meditation, a little stretching in the morning. Things that cost nothing and take no time, but which I convinced myself I didn't have time or money for.
You may feel that it is indulgent to spend a little extra time getting ready in the morning or to take a little extra time in the evening to sit quietly and read for pleasure or meditate. I'm here to tell you that that little bit of time is essential in helping you reconnect with yourself.
We often think of self-care in terms of looking better or being healthier or anti-aging. It's not about that. It's about spending a few minutes prioritizing yourself. If you're someone who does everything for everyone, you may find that no one is doing anything for you. You are nobody's priority. That sucks and it's not fair. You need to become your own priority every day. You deserve it.
Build time leverage into your business.
If every dollar you make in your business requires you to be doing something, you need to build leverage into your business. If you don't get clients without doing all of the lead gen yourself, you need to build leverage into your business. If every task requires your 100% attention in order to be completed, you need to build leverage into your business.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may know that I am launching a property description course. My hope is that this will be the first of many courses designed to teach the writing skills that real estate agents need when marketing themselves and their listings. On the one hand, I am doing this because I want to help more people, especially those who are new to real estate or who may be struggling in some area of their professional life.
On the other hand, I am motivated in part by a desire to build more leverage into my business. Right now, I get paid for the things I write and for my time spent coaching and consulting. That's it. By creating a course that is useful and meaningful for a lot of people, I can do the work of creating the product once, then sell it for years to come.
There is nothing wrong or shameful about this. It's basic supply and demand -- there's one of me, I can't write property descriptions for everyone, but there are enough people who would write property descriptions if they knew how. They buy my course, they learn how, they experience more success.
As a real estate agent, you are building leverage when you create content and build a wider audience for your services. You are building leverage when you take on a buyer agent or start a team. You are building leverage when you take on an assistant or outsource to a freelancer who frees you up from small tasks so that you can concentrate on the tasks that really make money for your business. You are building leverage when you cultivate a robust referral network.
Eradicate energy vampires.
You know that person in your office who makes small talk that goes on and on and on? Or that colleague who is always negative, always angry, or always freaking out about something? How about that family member who always needs something from you but never gives anything back? All of these folks are energy vampires.
An energy vampire doesn't live on blood. He or she lives on the energy, positivity, and attention of others. Maybe your energy vampires really are sad or needy. That doesn't mean that you must allow them to drain you of your time and energy. You need to set boundaries that are firm and consistent.
There's something flattering about being the favorite target for an energy vampire. You may feel that you are the only one who can help them or the only one who understands. You may feel that they are reaching out to you because they truly enjoy your company and insights. Put that theory to the test. Withdraw your energy and your time and your focus and see how fast they will flee to another victim.
Often energy vampires focus on people who are friendly, energetic, and empathetic. Those are, after all, the only people who won't shut them down or avoid them altogether. Don't get played by an energy vampire and don't let them take anything else from you.
Use rituals to improve your daily life.
We often think of rituals as religious practices or esoteric observances. In reality, however, rituals can be very simple. For some people, a nightly skincare routine is a ritual. For others, a morning cup of coffee enjoyed in silence on the screened-in porch is a ritual.
I start every morning the same way. I wake up, brush my teeth, open the blinds in my bedroom, and turn on something lighthearted on the television. Soon enough my English Bulldog lumbers into my room and I let him out to go to the bathroom. Then, I give him fresh food and water and make my coffee. This all happens more or less the same way and at the same time each morning.
That's not a ritual, I hear you saying. That's just normal getting up in the morning stuff. What makes it a ritual is the time and attention I put on it. I think about the day ahead. I think about how lucky I am to have a life and a home I enjoy, not to mention the devotion of a great dog. I mentally review my calendar for the day and set priorities.
By infusing our daily tasks with meaning and making them into rituals, we are more present and more aware. Most of all, we stop resenting these everyday tasks when we infuse them with meaning and purpose and even a little bit of holiness.
Let your space reflect your highest and best self.
Finally, you can improve your life this year by really looking around at your space and determining what works and what doesn't there. Maybe you have a lot of clutter. It's time to get a handle on it. Maybe you're holding on to items that you don't really like but that were given to you as gifts or bought on sale. It's time to let it go.
By this time we've all heard of the KonMari method and its focus on only including those things that "Spark Joy." That is one way to pare down your space to the essentials. If you're not ready to KonMari your whole house, start with your desk or a bookcase. Start with your bedroom or just your bedside table. Make one spot in your house ideal, then branch out from there to create little pockets of perfection throughout your space.
Looking for a great place to start bringing order to your home? Make your bed every morning. Leave the kitchen spotless every evening. If nothing else, sweep off your front stoop each day. Add order and beauty in whatever way you can every day.
Enhancing your space doesn't have to cost a thing except for a few seconds of your time and attention. You deserve a space that is worthy of you. Give that gift to yourself.
I hope this year brings you everything you want and more. I hope that you enter into 2021 willing to be open to its lessons and eager to take better care of yourself. If we learned nothing else from 2020, we learned this: we can't control what happens. We can only control our response to what happens. By caring for yourself, your home, and your business, you can create more control over your response and your outcomes. Cheers!