I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. I do a lot of goal setting throughout the year, and the turning of the calendar has never felt particularly useful to me for new or bigger goals.
I do, however, enjoy the start of the year as a chance for lots of small tweaks.
These are little, relatively simple changes that make things easier, smoother, or just bring a little bit of joy.
Things like getting summer caps out of my winter hat and glove basket. There was a small layer of them living in the bottom of the basket. I also put winter hats to one side and gloves to the other. This took me two minutes, max, and it’s taken something that is a low-level frustration and turned it into a tiny pleasure. (Hats! Gloves! Separated!)
I also started my day today with overnight oatmeal, made in the fridge. A colleague suggested this to me last April and I’ve never managed to pull it off. It translates into 10 minutes less rushing in the morning, and the oatmeal tastes better to boot.
Tweaks in your physical environment are easy wins: a clean desk; a fresh notebook; better lighting for your Zoom calls; throwing away old shoes, shirts, sweaters that you’ve not worn in a year or more so you can find the things you actually wear.
You can also make tweaks in your schedule: cut all your recurring meetings to 30 minutes max, with longer ones being the exception, and see what happens to your calendar.
I’m also looking for workflow tweaks: my job involves keeping on top of a million different workstreams, and, as our company has grown, seeing all of them has gotten exponentially harder. This week I’ll be playing around with Slack / Notion hacks that put all priority workstreams at my fingertips. My goal is to eliminating the friction of getting from one topic to another.
Of course there are more subtle tweaks as well: spend this week consciously not looking at your phone when you get in an elevator; put a time limit on your social media apps; leave your headphones out of your ears for your commute to work or home; allow yourself to do nothing for 5 minutes a day.
Keep you tweaks light and easy. These are supposed to be fun, quick wins that create physical or mental space.
And while not all of them will last forever (how long into warm weather before I banish winter gloves from that basket?), if you accumulate enough small tweaks and they will add up to a different energy, a different spaciousness, in 2023 and beyond.