This column includes my 10 Commandments for 2021.
Also, I’m happy to report I am on the road to recovery. Thanks
for your good wishes and prayers. From your lips to G-d’s ears……
Commandment # 1. Clean your desk.
It may sound simple but it will force you to get a handle on where
you&'ve been lately. Fruitcake stupor or too much shopping, December
takes its toll. Rather than feeling like you&'ve been dumped onto
concrete, take some control of your re-entry. Buried under the seasons
greetings and the cookie crumbs are important things you need to
remember, things you once thought you wanted to do, things that
other people expect you to do. Get yourself off to a rolling start. Clean
through email, assemble files, make stacks, and make lists. Get out
your calendar and set priorities for the next few weeks, even if they
seem routine. Once you’re back in the saddle, you&'ll already start to
feel better and have some energy.
Commandment # 2. Update your resume.
Think about how other people will see you as you look for a new job:
your resume is the two-dimensional window they look through. It&'s a
reminder of what you’ve done in your current job, what you&'re good at
that you, your current and any prospective new employer should
value. Update your accomplishments, list new skills and current
references who&'ll sing your praises. Your updated resume will boost
your confidence for the here and now as well as for the future
possible. It&'ll help you be ready to apply for internal promotions as well
as identify areas in which you should seek additional experience or
Commandment # 3. Do a reality check of your career.
Survey your work life. Be honest and realistic. See what&'s fulfilling and
what&'s lacking. Make two lists: on the left side of the page write
everything you like about your current situation; on the right side
identify what you want different by next December. Step two: see
where your commitment and motivation intersect. On the right list,
highlight the words that are most important to accomplish. On the left
list, circle what you’d be willing to sacrifice some of in order to make
those changes happen. You don&'t need to start on all of them
tomorrow. But getting your brain wrapped around the trade-offs will
help make them real. Open your mind first; your body will follow.
Commandment # 4. Set some specific goals.
Your goals may be around those pesky 20 pounds and a new job.
Don’t be shy. Name them and plant them in the center of your psychic
bulls-eye. Believing you&'re worth the upgrade is the first step to
achieving it. Visualize yourself in the new situation. Imagine yourself
vibrant and strong. Then start every day with a mantra. Repeat
several times to yourself: I deserve to [your personal goals here].
[Note: it helps do to this quietly so people don&'t think you’re a
muttering loon, but it really does help to say them out loud. It&'s been
documented that speaking the words has an actual impact on the
value you give them and the motivation they give you.] Action follows
intention. Decide where you want to go and you&'ll start taking steps to
Commandment #5. Take good care of your body.
Feeling sick, tired, or just plain uncomfortable in your body is lousy.
And an unreliable and insufficient platform for accomplishing change.
Meet with your doctor. Get a full blood panel. Review any and all
medications, pending elective interventions, and possible danger
spots. Set up a program of healthy eating and exercise that’s
appropriate for your health and age. Enlist a friend as an exercise
buddy. Keep a journal of what you eat, when you eat it, and how you
feel before and after. Pay attention to how your clothes fit. Pat yourself
on the back when you make progress. Kick yourself in the butt when
you slack off. If you want to be around a long time, you’re going to
need this fragile human vessel.
Commandment #6. Do for others.
Not much in life beats feeling like you&'ve helped. Acts of kindness and
usefulness enhance any day. They&'ll make you feel good as well as
productive. If you have a chance to help someone, from a neighbor to
a co-worker, take it. That can mean anything from running an errand
to using your brain. Don&'t worry about getting credit for what you do,
or the time it takes from your own life. You&'ll be more efficient with
those commitments later. The same goes for assisting people who
might help you in your life change search. But do it because it feels
good and is the right thing, not just in hopes of a future reward.
Volunteer early and often. Network with a smile. It&'ll help your
reputation and how you&'re perceived and valued.
Commandment #7. Let others do for you.
You don&'t always have to be the hero. When you&'re offered helping
hands, take them, assuming they&'re competent and caring about your
welfare. As good as helping makes you feel, it feels as good to others.
There are times when you simply cannot get everything done that you
need to if you try to do it on your own. If it’s a choice between trying
to do it all on your own or graciously saying yes, don&'t waste more
than a few minutes wondering if it&'s okay to ask for help. There&'s no
shame in cashing in some reciprocal buddy chits and in building a
team of reliable folks for mutual crisis support, whether that’s for
times of illness or vacation pet sitting. Ask for help when you need it,
and take it when it&'s offered. Say thank you often, graciously, and
maybe even with chocolate.
Commandment # 8. Balance work and life.
Work effectively when you&'re at your job. But also think about what
makes you happy, what you want from life, what you like about how
you&'ve done it so far and what you want to change. This doesn&'t have
to be a heavy exercise in deep psychology. But it&'s healthy to balance
out stress and the daily grind with some intentionally non-productive
time. Give your energy sincerely and with focus wherever you are. If
you’re at work, then work. If you&'re off-duty, then allow yourself the
freedom of mind to be with the ones you&'re with. Without people who
care about you, money and success can feel emptier than you expect.
Nourish your heart as well as your wallet.
Commandment # 9. Make time for taking care of you.
You give at work, give to family, and give to friends. Give yourself the
best gift of all, the gift of time. For at least 30 minutes a day, let
yourself do whatever you most want in that moment, without guilt.
Pick up your book or pet the cat. Let your blood pressure drop and
remember how to relax. Make time to walk, to breath fresh air, to look
at the moon, to watch grass grow. Use your body as more than
transport from Point A to Point B. Taking good care of your physical
self will boost your resilience, your immune system, and give you a
greater sense of happiness. The glow will show and people will be
more drawn to you. People, btw, include bosses and interviewers, as
well as friends and family.
Commandment # 10. Choose happiness.
Remember that the more often you choose to be happy, the more
likely you will be. Make yourself a priority this year by lightening up.
Play more often. Sing in the shower or the car. Let yourself indulge in
people and experiences. Play can mean time with yourself or any
significant other, one on one, or with groups from your sports team to
your choir. It can mean learning something new or practicing
something old. It can even mean shopping. Whatever makes you feel
like you&'re having fun, give yourself a little more of it each week.
You&'ve earned it.