by Heather Barrow
Today is my first day back to work at High Risk Hope after 2 weeks off for the holidays and the kids’ first day back to school. I feel both excited and overwhelmed as the craziness has already started with an endless work to-do list, holiday cleanup, school lunchroom duty, after school activities, birthday parties and Gasparilla. I don’t believe in setting unrealistic and unattainable New Year’s resolutions. However, a little planning and thoughtful goal setting will ensure this year is my best yet, and yours too. Whether your work is in the office or at home, here are 5 steps to realize your full potential in 2015:
- Set three attainable goals for every family member. Three goals is a manageable number, which can be slowly implemented and combined with work and home. One example for me is a no technology goal for our family from 4 – 7 pm. Rather than going cold turkey, we have started the first week from 4 – 5 pm., and will increase that time by 30 minutes each week. Bennett may have to hide the computers, iPads and iPhones for a while but we will get there! If your children are old enough, help them set age-appropriate goals as well. Their goals will depend on their strengths and weaknesses, and should be driven by the child (not the parent). They do not have to be stressful goals and can be anything from riding a bike to loading the dishwasher to reading. If you have overachievers, once they check off the first three, set three more!
- Hold weekly ‘planning’ meetings. The home vs. work agenda will be vastly different, but beneficial for both. Our family has implemented 10-minute Sunday family meetings, where we discuss our schedule, meals and obligations for the upcoming week along with any other ‘new business’. One example of Barrow ‘new business’ is Claire has added to the agenda the need for a tree house. The meetings are not without politics; yesterday’s meeting was postponed because Claire is trying to oust Bennett as family President. We hope to have it resolved by Sunday. These meetings will not only help you organize your family and work life, but will encourage your children to assume responsibilities and learn to respect others’ opinions.
- Take calculated risks. There is a direct correlation to the size of the risk and the ultimate reward. If you go through the next 12 months without taking one true risk, you may not move backward but I can guarantee you won’t move forward either. The number one question I am asked when meeting someone new who learns about HRH, is how were we able to start from nothing and reach 3,000 families in four years. The answer is simple; I took a risk. I put all of my time and energy into the idea that our community could fulfill the needs of a population that includes our tiniest and most vulnerable residents. Other people have taken risks for HRH as well and our combined efforts have paid off. This year we will face new and bigger risks but our past helps me recognize those risks are also enormous opportunities. While failure is always in the back of my mind, I don’t let that turn into a fear that may paralyze our progress. Whatever your dream is, make 2015 the year it comes to fruition.
- Surround yourself with the right people. We all have friends, co-workers and family members that bring out the worst in us. Whether it is negativity, jealousy, neediness or lack of ambition, when you spend your valuable time with those people, their bad attitude and habits mold with yours. Make a conscious effort to only surround yourself with positive people who appreciate your strengths and compliment your weaknesses. You will be pleasantly surprised how quickly this easy change impacts your attitude, work ethic and accomplishments.
- Say yes more. Everywhere I look, some self-proclaimed ‘expert’ is telling me to say no to this obligation, lunch, committee or friendship. I challenge you (and myself) to say yes more instead. I don’t mean say yes to the things you dread, but yes to things you want to learn to do, new friendships or relationships you have neglected. The new person who invites you to lunch may turn out to be one of your closest friends and biggest supporters. When you wrap yourself completely in your family and children and don’t allow time for new experiences or the old things you love, it is impossible to be your best. Only when your bucket is full, can you fill another’s. Stop running on empty and ensure your bucket runneth over in 2015!