Depending on your current mental state, the amount of sleep you had last night or how the past 12 months went, your opinion of “resolutions” and their effectiveness will waiver. Though not everyone believes in setting some overarching goal to set up expectations for the seasons ahead, there is a benefit in brainstorming the areas of your life where you’ve like to improve.
And while the wildly successful among us definitely have a few ideas on where their company can prosper, those who are the most accomplished are often the most self-reflective. They’re able to foster a sense of awareness, understanding and admitting parts of their lives where they could be stronger, calmer or more focused.
That’s why instead of professional resolutions, it is sometimes smarter (and frankly, more inspiring and interesting) to learn about an executive’s personal resolutions.
From learning a new language to shifting a negative mental habit, leaders across several industries give you a glimpse into how they’re approaching the arrival of 2019:
“I want to recognize more humanity in my day-to-day life.”
“It’s easy for us to become disconnected from people in an always-on world. One reason we disconnect from people is to protect our sanity, but this can come at the cost of meaningful interactions with people. I’m working hard to recognize that everyone is going through something in their lives and reacting accordingly. Showing some compassion and remembering that people are people, not only makes for kinder interactions but also makes me feel better about myself,” — Thomas MacNeil, chief technology officer at eSalon.
“I want to speak better Chinese.”
“Half our team lives in Shenzhen, and our CTO is fluent, so the main plan is to have them speak more Chinese with me. From my past experience, immersion is the best way to pick up a language. I’m a big believer in aiming as high as possible, so I’m going on record saying my goal is to become fluent in Mandarin in 2019. At the very least, that will set me up for becoming proficient. One day in the not-so-distant future, I think everyone will need to know how to speak Chinese,” — Maximus Yaney, CEO and founder of Kangaroo.
“I want to stop comparing myself to others. “
“The art of contentment and pride are two practices that I do not conduct well in my own life. I will strive in 2019 to quit comparing myself to others, and look back on the accomplishments I have made in this thing called life with happiness and peace. Many times, we often fail to see where we’ve come and only focus on the failures of the here and now. I will make an effort to breathe, reflect and consider my many blessings,” — Katie Fussenegger, executive director of Shelby, KY Tourism.
“I want to set guidelines for balance.”
“When your work is your passion, it is easy to fall out of work/life balance. My 2019 goals are to set some guidelines for creating and maintaining that balance, and work to manage or eliminate some of the metaphorical clutter. I intend to spend quality in-person time with the friends who fill my energetic cup and inspire me by example. I plan to schedule time for social media, removing it from my devices so I’m not constantly distracted. I will spend intentional, un-distracted time outside (no earbuds or music), just observing and re-connecting with nature.” — Ella Cressman, vice president of education and sales of Color Up Therapeutics.
“I won’t be so hard on myself.”
“I am a person driven by lists and goals, so when I make a list of things to accomplish or change, I push myself to achieve them. This resolution doesn’t mean I’m planning to become a slacker. I simply want to make time to enjoy things more and not be in such a hurry to move from task to task. If I skip a workout so I can have dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in a few months, I will survive. If my house isn’t immaculately clean, nobody will be mad at me.” — Liz Toombs, C.I.D., president and owner of PDR Interiors.
“I’ll travel more — not for work.”
“One of my most favorite activities in life is exploring new parts of the world, but it can be hard as an entrepreneur. My plan of attack is to schedule out my year in advance and block off at least one vacation spot dedicated to either a friends/family trip and book the travel details by the end of February. I have set reminders for deadlines to schedule flight/hotel and all travel arrangements through the month. I would also love to start an annual tradition with my close group of girlfriends to do a moms weekend getaway and coordinate with each family. This is something that we talk about, but often won’t happen so this will also go into my Google Calendar for a January deadline.” — Maya Crothers, founder of CIRCCELL Skincare.
“I want to walk up Mount Everest every week … ”
“ … ok, not really! Anyone who knows me will know I won’t willingly make the cold hike up Mount Everest, but I’d still like to take the 58,070 steps summiting the peak every week. That translates to less than 10,000 steps a day and would be a great way to making 2019 a year of remarkable health and wellness. For me, achieving physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness becomes easier when I think of it in this goal format. Perhaps I even take enough steps to walk from New York City to California in 2019? That’s just a bit over 15,000 steps a day, so let’s get moving.” — Swapna Sathyan, director of workplace strategy consulting at CannonDesign.
“I’m going to try to let go of control.”
“I’ve been reading a lot about Stoicism lately––especially the techniques that can help you ‘bucket’ thoughts and worries into things you can and cannot control. I’m not quite ready to ‘Stoic-ify’ everything in my life but in the new year I’d like to incorporate small things (like following TheDailyStoic on Instagram and nerding out on a little Marcus Aurelius!) to constantly remind me that living a good life means being mindful, in the moment––even when there’s chaos.” —Carly Leahy, co-founder and CCO of Modern Fertility.
“I want to read more.”
“One of my resolutions for 2019 is to carve out time to be able to read more, meditate, and focus more on learning, growing, and maintaining optimal mental health. I really want to make sure I’m finding the time to do activities that will make me sharper, more objective, and have the ability to think clearly—which I feel will position myself to make better decisions. I plan on holding myself accountable by scheduling meetings on my calendar for these activities and treating them with the same urgency and importance as a board meeting—otherwise, they won’t happen. But I truly believe taking time for yourself is just as important, so I’m excited to see how this will help improve my performance,” — Ilir Sela, founder and CEO of Slice.
“I’m going to limit my ‘to-do’ list to five things per day.”
“It’s not that I plan on being less busy — it’s that I want to be even more productive. And forcing myself to focus on only 5 things in a day—even at home on a weekend—means the most important things will get done. I will write them into the notes section of my phone each morning, so that I have access to my list at all times (because my phone is with me, well, always…). Then if I am asked to add something to my list, I will see which of the existing tasks it can replace vs. simply adding it. If none of the tasks can be replaced, I will have to say no — barring an extreme emergency,” — Denise Blasevick, CEO of The S3 Agency.
“I want to connect more with the LGBTQ community.”
“My first resolution is to be more involved on a personal level with the LGBTQ community, as I am an openly gay member myself. I plan to use my platform and social media following to inspire LGBTQ people with my own stories and share the amazing stories of people within this community. I would also like to identify novel ways to improve tech and LGBTQ relations in 2019. There’s a ‘straight bro’ tech culture in Silicon Valley, which can sometimes feel a little discouraging for an LGBTQ person,” — Alfonso Cobo, CEO of Unfold
“I want to learn algebra … again.”
“I’m making this resolution because my oldest son is now in middle school, and I’m starting to struggle with being able to help him on his homework. Growing up, my dad was always my greatest/ only tutor…and, now it’s time for me to honor that great example and pay-it-forward with my own son. So, yes, as painful as it will be, I’m going to force myself to re-learn algebra. My plan for success here is to carve out a set time each week on my calendar where I’ll jump into Khan Academy or my son’s online textbooks,” — Chris Chuang, co-founder and CEO of Republic Wireless.
“I want to find ways to spend less time staring at screens.”
“I spend a lot of time in front of screens. I work in e-commerce so I’m always at my computer. At home, I’m a total Netflix junkie. Even the machines at my gym have giant displays telling me how fast I’m going or how hard I’m working. My resolution for 2019 is to find ways to spend less time staring at screens. To kick-start that resolution I’ve signed up for a 10-week baking course at a culinary school in Los Angeles. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I get to produce a physical, not virtual thing, and having a specific time and place to show up to will keep me accountable. Plus, I should end up with some awesome treats—an added bonus!” — Sarah Baum, VP of Product and UX at eSalon.