Lei’s Six New Year Aspirations – Trust, Try, Learn, Evolve, Laugh, Give

Lei's new year aspirationsI started this tradition last year and really liked how it influenced my decisions and actions the rest of the year.  I am doing it again this year to define my new year aspirations

1. Define ways to build new habits instead of setting goals.  I found this is helping me evolve into a better human being.

2. Post my new year aspirations on my bedroom wall.  It serves as a good reminder all year round.

Yesterday, I wrote down these six aspirations. I hope you will share yours with me and we can be mutually inspired to evolve and learn this year.

TRUST my gut: I want to relearn this.  Kids know this instinctively but somehow many of us lose a lot of it as we become more educated and also due to the worry of making the wrong decision.  I thought I was being smart by always being logical (e.g, weigh out the pros and cons, wait until I get more info).  However, this also leads to minimal risk taking and missed opportunities.   Our brain loves to think of pros/cons and all the angles.   I realized not going with my gut is a perfectionist trait that can limits my learning in life.    This year, I am working on trusting my gut, which means

  • Listening to my first gut reaction to a situation.  It’s likely to be the right one.
  • Don’t over-analyze all the angles.   Know just enough to tilt the decision one way or the other.
  • Make the decision and respect it – don’t second guess myself
  • Be okay if the decision ended up not ideal.  Learn from it and move on.

TRY – Break bad habits – Make a different decision.  None of us are perfect. We all have bad habits (e.g, procrastination, mistrust, lack of self confidence, etc…)  These things can’t change overnight.  A habit take 21 days to form.   This means we need to make a different decision and behave in the new way 21 times in a row before it becomes second nature.   The first time is the hardest.  For example,

  • How many of you want “work life balance,” but still decide to work late, cancel vacations in the name of work?  I know I did it for 5 years before I made the first decision to really honor this goal.
  • How many of you want to “raise your hand for that new exciting opportunity” but didn’t because you were not sure you will be successful?  While you hesitated, someone with less skill or experience raised their hand and got it.
  • How many of you are dissatisfied at work but don’t do anything about it?  It’s because you may not have the habit of networking or job searching any more and don’t know where to start.

The good news is all we need to do is make one different decision to change that bad habit to start the momentum (e.g., update your resume or request that linkedin recommendation).  You will be amazed how great you will feel about it afterwards.  That will give you the momentum to take another action and so on..

LEARN new things / Say Yes  – I talked a lot about this in my last article.  This is really about saying yes – when I usually say no.  For example, I have been wanting to network more broadly so I can meet more people and learn things like how they found their passion and what makes them happy.  However my life with two kids is hectic.  I have at least 10 excuses each time there is an opportunity to network….

  • It’s too far
  • There is a Gale warning maybe nobody will be there
  • I don’t really know anyone
  • What if it’s a waste of time ….

Actually 50% of networking events are probably a waste of time.  However, we will never know which ones until we go to all of them.   This serves as a reminder for me to say yes to new opportunities and don’t worry about whether I know enough about it or if I will like it.   I will learn either way.

EVOLVE – Redefine happiness – I had a big revelation last year based on a late night conversation with my husband who asked me if I was happy.  This made me more aware of my concept of happiness and when I am allowing myself to be happy.

  • Can I be sick and be happy?   Yes, as my kids showed me that.  Isabel had 103 degree fever and didn’t eat well in the last few days of our China trip. She was however happy just watching movies in Chinese.
  • Can I be dissatisfied at work and be happy? Yes, as our general happiness is a choice vs our dissatisfaction is just what’s happening at the moment.
  • Can I be in a bad situation and be graceful?  Yes, they say the test of a leader isn’t how they behave in good times but how they persevere in bad times.

I am excited to be on this quest to redefine happiness, be a better example for my kids, and become a better leader.

LAUGH – Be silly – the older I get the more important this has become.  I take myself so seriously at times.  It’s suffocating.  I admire my husband who can have a stressful day and then in the evening laughing his head off watching silly videos on youtube.  My kids also remind me how to be silly.  Kids always know how to be silly.  I love it. Sometimes, we need to just loosen up and laugh, dance, jump, shout, and be a kid to remember why we are alive.

GIVE – Have faith in others – Faith is a new terminology for me.  For many years, I thought faith was a term applicable only to those who are religious.   I only learned more recently this definition below and the power of faith in our everyday life.

“In the absence of tangible evidence, faith must supply the inspiration and courage to go ahead….Faith is the master key to great discovery, invention, and achievement… Only by believing in others do our personalities reach their fullest and highest state of development.  In all human contacts and relationships, faith is keynote of success… Success in life depends on the faith we have in others, while the goal of achievement that we have set for ourselves is anchored in the faith we have in our own ability.”

I think we can always increase our faith in others.  Just because there were previous leaders or co-workers who have back-stabbed or disappointed us, doesn’t mean we cannot have faith in the new people we meet.  It’s perhaps better to trust and have faith in others first and be proven wrong, then to start with mistrust.  Often than not, those who are given the benefit of the doubt, will reciprocate to us as well.

For now, this is what these six new year aspirations mean to me.  As we enjoy 2017, I think they will evolve for me.  Best wishes to you building new, healthy habits in 2017

Your comments:  What are your new year aspirations?  Which of these resonate with you and why?  I look forward to hearing from you.

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