For so many people, myself included, it’s important to seek and find fulfillment both at work and at home. That’s why so many people emphasize the importance of work/life balance — the idea that if only we can perfect the ratio, separating “work” and “life” in a functional way, satisfaction will be ours.
But as I’ve written about before, work/life balance as a concept is a bit misleading. After all, work is part of life, not separate from it. Any peace that we may find has to stem from a healthy integration between the two.
So when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, which are just around the corner, I take a similar approach. Your professional resolutions don’t live in a vacuum — they are, in a sense, personal, and will have impact at home as well as in the office. Your personal resolutions, likewise, will impact your life at work.
So, why categorize your resolutions at all? There aren’t personal resolutions or professional resolutions. There are only resolutions, and we must think about how they will play out holistically in our multi-faceted lives.
Here are a few ways to think of resolutions this New Year that may help turn the balancing act of work and life into a seamless journey with interconnected parts.
Look at your weaknesses from new angles
What are some of your weaknesses? Say, at work, you’re often late. This is a shortcoming that may inconvenience your associates, or stress you out in the mornings, but if you really dig in you might find its impacts go further than that. Likewise, fixing the problem will benefit all areas of your life, but it will mean thinking of this tendency as more than a “work” issue.
How does your morning or nighttime routine at home play into this bad habit? You might take a multi-pronged approach to your resolution: go to bed earlier, limit screen-time at night, and get out on time in the morning. Think of how it will benefit your family, your productivity, and your stress levels. Now, make it happen!
Consider your strengths and apply generously
Aside from analyzing your weaknesses, knowing your strengths can play into creating holistic resolutions for the New Year. If organization is your strength, but finance is your weakness, you can use your organization to plan out time to improve your financial skills.
Applying this strength generously, both at home and at work and the time in between, can help you set and meet goals that will help you with personal finance and budgeting at work, and any other situation being good with numbers will provide useful.
Be both general and specific
You might think that lumping together personal and professional resolutions could make actually following your resolutions difficult. That’s fair — if you’re too vague in goal-setting, it’s easy to fall off the wagon or fail to get onto begin with. That’s why you should be specific about your goals, but think about their impact more broadly as a means of motivation.
Go to the gym twice a week is a specific goal. But what, exactly, is the why? Well, exercise gives you energy, and can make you more productive at work. It can help you achieve health goals like weight loss, or even philanthropic self-improvement goals like the ability to do a 5K run for charity. It could allow you to be more active with your family, and add years to your life. As long as the “what” is specific, the “why” can be all over the place — and for once that’s not a bad thing.
Now, go forth and resolve
There’s no one way to make or follow resolutions, but in my mind, a holistic approach that considers the root causes of weaknesses and the benefits of fixing them is great motivation. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2020, at home, at work, and the many intersections in between.