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C-Suite Challengers

A New Year’s Resolution: An Opportunity

Robin Landa

Every January, the gym I belong to becomes crowded with new members. During a Zumba class, I remarked to a friend, “Wow, there are so many new people!”

She replied,” By February, most of them will no longer be attending.”

Sure enough, by Valentine’s Day, there was one newbie remaining among the regulars in our dance class.

The New Year offers a fresh start. That’s why so many people make New Year’s resolutions, promises to themselves that they absolutely-definitely-no-doubt-about-it intend to keep. New Year’s resolutions often are personal ones, such as losing weight, exercising more, or drinking less alcohol. Some of us make professional career-based resolutions, too, for example, working towards a graduate degree or a promotion, or seeking a new job.

Here’s my advice, based on the one newbie left dancing at the gym, very successful colleagues, and all the resolutions I’ve made and kept over these many years.

Progress is incremental, more often than not. No one is going to hand a graduate degree to you without years of study and passing grades. And no one is going to hand a promotion to you for doing what’s expected of you and no more, unless you’re the company president’s kid or you’re just unbelievably lucky. 

No matter what the weight-loss advertisements state, I suppose it’s possible (yeah, right), however it’s highly unlikely anyone is going to lose ten pounds in one week. 

If you’re impatient and don’t chart a timeline and plan of attack, you’re doing your resolution a disservice.

Resolutions work best in sync with the demands of your life and work. Many resolutions require self-control, focus, determination, dedication, and time management. Resolutions and your work/life balance are kind of like a slot machine–to win, all have to come-up as cherries. If you resolve to enroll in a graduate program, will the time and energy demands be congruent with your current job and family? 

Last August, my friend became a first-time father; he told me that he resolved to chair his university department beginning in September. Now, I’m all in favor of taking on important responsibilities however it seemed like very poor timing all around.

Make sure it’s a resolution you truly desire and not a “should be doing” resolution. Others, as well as ourselves, pressure us to conform with norms or with what would be beneficial for us in the short- or long-term. Don’t get me wrong–I think everyone should sit less and move more and eat lots of vegetables. And I think everyone should keep studying and learning. But that’s what I believe which makes it much easier for me to eat healthier, exercise more, and seek knowledge because I’m already a convert. If I were to make a New Year’s resolution to learn a new language because it’s good for my brain and all my friends are on Duolingo, well…not so much. (Though Duolingo is a fantastic idea and service to society.)

Make one only. As I mentioned earlier, a resolution makes demands on you, in terms of mental energy, time, and work/life balance. 

The New Year offers a fresh start, which is an opportunity. I love opportunities and hope you recognize and appreciate them when they appear. 

When I asked the newbie in my dance class if she had ever taken Zumba classes before or had other dance experience, she replied, “No but I’ll stick it out. I know it will take time to learn.” Seize the fresh start, one dance step at a time.

Written by Robin Landa.
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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - C-Suite Challengers - A New Year’s Resolution: An Opportunity
Robin Landa
Robin Landa is a distinguished professor at Kean University and a globally recognized ideation expert. She is a well-known creativity expert and a best-selling author of books on ideation, creativity, branding, advertising, and design. She has won numerous awards and The Carnegie Foundation counts her among the “Great Teachers of Our Time.”

She is the author of twenty-five books including Graphic Design Solutions, 6th ed. (Cengage, 2019), Strategic Creativity: A Business Field Guide to Advertising, Branding, and Design (Routledge, 2022) and The New Art of Ideas: Unlock Your Creative Potential (Berrett-Koehler, 2022). Now she is co-authoring a book for Columbia University Press titled Shareworthy: Storytelling for Advertising.

Robin Landa is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with her through LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website CLICK HERE.