Women in Business

2020 New Year Resolutions for work & life

Yes, it’s that time of year again where you know you the clock ticks differently into a whole new year. Only this time, it’s slightly different. It’s a new decade. A new clean slate, if you will. The best part is you can pretend that you’re setting a new clock, to have a chance at a do-over with New Year Resolutions.

It’s also the time of year where gym inscriptions peak, an analogy for setting goals that are we’re not always consistent in keeping. So we thought of a way to put realistic resolutions for the career women at work.

Realign objectives, why do you need new year resolutions ?

It’s easy to make a list of things we’d like to do differently. Yet often we might miss out on the root cause of why things are the way they are to begin with. So you can list for example “I will finally ask for that raise”, but to really align your new self for the upcoming decade, think of why didn’t you ask for that raise much earlier ? What kept you ? And realign everything based on honest realignment, you will move forward!

Listen more than talk

A cool piece of advice, though tough in practice. We are often eager in speaking our minds, or reacting to a situation, that sometimes we miss out on half the message. In listening, you are able to actively absorb not only what is being said, but also observe the context, the surroundings, the physical paralanguage, indirect messages, and so much more. If you are in business, sales or negotiations, it is absolutely paramount that you listen with all your five senses. Your relationships will be better, at work and outside of course !

Practice professional discomfort

This is a personal favourite. You know when you get too comfortable, it’s a sign that you should probably seek a new professional challenge. Learn a new skill, change a few things ! There is nothing worse to the human intellect and spirit than mental stagnation. This translates in exactly the same way at work. For example, we’re happy with the graphic design levels so far for Bag Affair, but we’re taking on a new challenge of learning all about amateur video content creation and editing. A whole new set of useful skills, to upgrade our content but also upgrading our professional capacity when we can.

The pleasure and satisfaction to see your output from your own self-taught efforts is priceless. To be honest though, it could be overwhelming, and a bit time consuming in the beginning, but this is simply the effect of a) stepping out of your comfort zone, and b) just the first time till you get the hang of things. As you go and keep learning, it’ll be just like riding a bike ! Also do not shy away from asking for advice for a quick tip if you’re in a hurry.

Shop local

Yes, every purchase is a vote. Going to the city to support your local retailers could be the best way to enhance the local economy. If everyone does that more often, the positive impact on the economy could really be huge. This also applies on our company purchasing policy as well. We go as local as possible, even though we know there are countless of cheaper alternatives on the other side of the planet.

We know it is easier to purchase in large supermarkets, or on Amazon, but nothing beats the human spirit of interacting with local producers, young spirited brands who are trying to make a difference with sustainable products in your local city shops. So go out there and support them !

On this note, we go even further to create a link between local shopping and a profound change in consumption that can result in detoxifying your home from the all-powerful plastic grip, in the last part of this blog.

Drop the work-life balance myth

Work-Life balance, that billion dollar question, How do we balance everything? We say it’s a total myth. Balancing life with all its tides in a constant equilibrium is just totally unrealistic. And while we know this is a myth, we still fall into its vicious, oh so vicious, circle by convincing ourselves that we should bend backwards to get it all evened out, because other women or other working moms somehow have figured out how to balance their lives. And so when we juggle all balls into the air, if we get ever so slightly off beat, oh dear, are we harsh with ourselves ! Knocking yourself down because you mistakenly got your baby vanilla yoghurt instead of her favourite banana yoghurt because you were running late to do the groceries, does not make you the worst mom in the world (yes, Taiseer really did think she was !). While seeking that constant balance is a huge fallacy, do note that the scale can, and will, slide back & forth, because – that’s life !

Give myself a break

Performing at 200% at work, being there for your family, filling your calendar with too many obligations, over committing, then falling into another cycle of guilt trip for not keeping up the superwoman track of self-imposed bottleneck schedules.

Stop

Inhale

Deeper breath

We are so used to jumping head first into new obligations, but isn’t it better to practice saying a two letter word from time to time… just a simple “no” to commitments that affect your core priorities. Slow down to decompress. Do one small thing you love everyday, that’s just yours. Reading the Economist at 6 am when the world is asleep is my little gift to myself, that with hot chocolate or coffee. No need for an expensive getaway, it’s all about the daily little pleasures you offer to yourself – do more of that !

Give back to others

Why is this on the list? Because giving back is also good for business. And humanity. There’s a great sense of reward from performing acts of kindness. From charity to the causes that are closest to your heart, to the best gift all, your time, in helping those in need the best you can. The real creativity would then come from resourcefulness in getting your things done so giving back to others doesn’t burden your productivity. Getting friends or family involved. This year for example Bag Affair wanted to use the Black Friday mania to help give back to local refugee associations that do tremendous work to house economic and political refugees in Brest.

Giving back is good for business as it also provides a grounding sense of purpose to your teams. Giving back in business can have different forms, generous advice to young entrepreneurs, city efforts in encouraging company creation in disadvantaged districts to learn from previous experiences. The thing about giving, in any form, is the ripple effect it has to spread kindness, and reap rewards ten folds. A good investment, and good part of your new year resolutions list !

Get real

Eight weeks through the new year, and we already fail to keep up those new year resolutions. Starting by language, if we use simple “non-commital” words as “should”, we are giving ourselves a window to escape from that commitment ! “I should exercise more” doesn’t sound the same as “I will exercise more”, there’s a clear absence of decision. Get Real with yourself. Be honest with what you know you can’t overcommit. Another way to get real is to also be realistic.

For example you can’t cheat your way to a “better diet” if you’re only adding supplements to an unhealthy diet. A different way to get real, is also to believe in yourself. Self doubt is that constant nagging voice at the back of your head that will resist your personal growth with all its power. Caving in to insecurities and that nagging voice can cripple your REAL potential. There is no other way to defeat this invisible monster than believing in yourself. In 2020, let’s try harder !

Stop plastic consumption

Best of new year resolutions for last. And hardest too. When you consciously start taking a look at how plastic is used in almost e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g, then coming to the challenge to go cold turkey from every single product that contains any components of plastic, or plastic wrapping, it seems like mission impossible. Vegetables are wrapped in plastic, everyday products, shampoos, everywhere you look, we are invaded by plastic. A common endocrine disruptor is phthalates that are practically everywhere in our environment affecting our health, women’s hormones, weight, reproductive systems or affecting our natural hormones.

A renewed consciousness

When reflecting on our consumption methods with a new look to what we buy, there aren’t many solutions. Either we continue this way or we take gradual consistent steps to reduce our waste. Doing so eventually would mean altering your life style. Yes, it means changing where you shop for your groceries. It means paying more attention to pack your own boxes to avoid plastic wraps. Buying fresh local produce than processed frozen food in plastic wrapping. Or going to local shops to buy in bulk than in small quantities wrapped in plastic. It means rethinking of the quality of toys for your children who are extra exposed to plastics and phthalates.

The list goes on, but what is helpful is to first examine your purchasing priorities and see what you can change without drastically affecting your time or routine. In the end with these small changes, everyone is a winner.

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