How relevant have our New Year’s Resolutions remained in the COVID era?

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Who can believe it’s already October AKA just a few months away from Christmas and the year’s end? We most certainly are struggling with that fact! There is no doubt that 2020 has thrown us a curveball none of us could have anticipated. As such, we thought it may be interesting for colleagues, and productive for us as a company, to look back at the resolutions we made pre-COVID and consider how relevant they remain in the new climate.

Psychologists generally agree that New Year’s Resolutions can have a positive impact on a persons’ year ahead – that is, if you set realistic goals and identify clear ways to achieve them. For that reason, the ROI (ή) team decided to do something a little different with its resolution-setting at the beginning of the year and instead opted for ‘themes’ that would guide its decision-making throughout 2020. We were interested in setting more thematic goals, as these can be taken on board by not just us as a business but by our associates too, on a personal level. Bonus – they are less likely to be broken!

These were our 2020 themes and our interpretation, eight months later, on how relevant that remain in the new COVID-19 era.

1. Authenticity

Being authentic is something we usually relate to ourselves personally. However, we believe that authenticity is equally crucial to our business and work lives. We spoke about how we were inspired by Greta Thunberg’s approach, for instance.

We resolved to take a more authentic approach to our business life by, for example:

  • Ensuring all comms – whether that’s formally throughout our marketing campaigns or internally with staff members – are clear, honest and ‘human’. Ask yourself: is this grounded in reality? Am I thinking like my audience would? It’s easy to become absorbed in your work life bubble. Pop it!
  • Considering the authenticity of your project boards and boards of directors. Is there diversity; do they reflect the real world? Do less senior members of the team feel confident to speak their minds and are they listened to? Clear lines of communication and a strong sense of mutual respect is crucial to the successful operation of any board or team.
  • Being upfront about project delivery costs and timeframes and striving to make best use of every moment of your client or employers’ time, always.

How relevant is ‘authenticity’ in the COVID-19 era?

More than ever. The terrible international crisis that has been the Coronavirus outbreak has forced not just individuals to reconsider their key values and main priorities but corporates as well. What really matters to you as a business? What do your customers truly care about? Going forward, this will be your driving force.

Authenticity on a more personal level is also increasingly important. As more of us work from home, your employees must trust you. Equally, you must have trust in your team members. Productivity will depend on it.

2. Accountability

Every single person out there has been tempted to let’s say, frame the project results in an overly optimistic-toned manner. This gets us, and those we are reporting to, nowhere. Not to mention it directly violates our above theme – authenticity!

When it comes to reporting the analytics and results, honesty and accountability is crucial. Praise your success sure, but be hard on yourself too. If something didn’t quite work or you

can identify methods to make it work better going forward, name it. Your future projects – and the respect you earn as an employee or contractor – will depend on it.

How relevant is ‘accountability’ in the COVID-19 era?

For most of us, budgets are additionally tight right now. Every penny counts. As such, it’s absolutely crucial that our reporting is accurate and truthful so that every measure can be taken to learn from past inefficiencies to ensure future success. The future of your business could well depend on that.

3. Mindfulness

No, we’re not talking about taking more yoga classes or meditating at lunchtime (although both these practices probably are a great idea – just ask Arianna Huffington!). When we talk about mindfulness, we mean being truly mindful of all our actions, as a business, as team members, as consultants. Throughout 2020, we aimed to continually ask ourselves:

  • How can we be fully prepared for the task at hand? Taking the time necessary to adequately research, strategise and plan for every project we take on is very important to us. As such, we will aim to always be upfront with our clients about what can be achieved within a certain timeframe and price point.
  • Are we doing too much? We believe in slowing down where necessary. While there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of healthy pressure and competition, it’s important to work within our limits. A rush job is never a job well done. Working more is not necessarily working better. And we could go on… Taking a slower (but nonetheless proactive) approach to all aspects of our lives including work can result in: more informed decision making, improved clarity, better control of emotions (surprisingly important at work!) and overall greater productivity. As entrepreneur Andrew Thomas writes in his article 4 reasons why slowing down will actually make you more successful, “it sounds backwards, but slowing down is actually a faster way to succeed.”

How relevant is ‘mindfulness’ in the COVID-19 era?

This one really is a no-brainer. Mindfulness, in all things, couldn’t be more important right now. Everyone is going to be experiencing a range of different, often difficult emotions as this global situation continues.

Be sure to practice mindful listening with your team. Give them space to be open and honest about how they feel. Encourage them to look after themselves through mindfulness. Provide them with mental health support and resources.

We really like the suggestion of Headspace.com to implement stress surveys, as a way to measure and track stress levels across your organisation. This will allow you to get a read on stress so you can adapt your workplace mental health programs accordingly. You may find that specific demographic groups are more affected than others and target resources to them in particular.

4. Joy

We can’t help but laugh a little at the following we penned with such carelessness in January:

“We don’t mean to get too Marie Kondo here, but we really believe that our work should “spark joy” in our lives. In the New Year, we will continue to urge all our associates to constantly operate with energy and enthusiasm in everything they do. There is no such thing as ‘boring’ project. It’s all about how you frame it.

But don’t fret, if things get a little tough, we won’t head towards the rubbish bin like Ms Kondo might have us do! Bring on the challenges. It’s a new year and we’re ready for it all.”

Well, clearly things didn’t quite go to plan in 2020 and, in many ways, our definition of joy has been reframed. Now, more than ever, we are reminded to find joy in the simple things, in the company of our friends, colleagues and, most crucially, families. That’s what really matters in the grand scheme of things.