Coach’s Challenge for January 5, 2008

Good day, team,

Next to champagne and fireworks on New Year’s Eve, one of the most revered rituals of the turn of the year is to set new goals. Maybe it’s the time off around the holidays that gives us a chance to stop, reflect and resolve to improve the things we ignore when we get too busy and stressed out.

Many people resolve to improve their physical health. If you already belong to a health club, you know the irritation that can result from the sudden on-rush of newly signed-up members hogging your favorite treadmill. (By April, they are usually gone, and you and the other regulars can get back to your old routines.)

But while hordes of people will resolve to improve themselves physically, most don’t give their emotional health a moment’s notice. And in setting new goals for our physical health, we can disturb our emotional well-being greatly. We all know what happens to us when we get too hungry—we become short-tempered and irritable. As of Jan. 1, how many of your co-workers are on a new diet? (Be careful in the break room—you may find someone salivating at the vending machine who snarls at you when you try to put a coin in). In our attempt to lose 10 pounds, we may also alienate a few friends, family members and co-workers.

Your challenge this week is to try improving your emotional health and well-being this year. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Try to create a positive attitude each morning. One of the managers I work with says that, as she reaches for the door handle to go into her building each morning, she stops for a brief moment and resolves, "Today is a new day, and I’m going to try to make it as good as I can for myself and others. I’m leaving all my troubles and negative thoughts right here and not taking them into work with me."
  2. Resolve to reach out to someone you are either avoiding or ignoring. Having direct, sincere conversations with others is never easy. However, when we avoid them, we only make initiating them more and more difficult. Be courageous and reach out to the other person.
  3. Don’t engage in negative conversations with or about others. Gossip is destructive. And you’ll often find that the people you gossip with gossip about you when you’re not around.
  4. Respect the people around you. Be willing to see someone in a new way through a different lens. The roots of the word re-spect actually mean "to look again" and when we spend alot of time around others it becomes harder to see them differently.
  5. Breathe. When we’re under stress, our bodies tend to hold our energy in our upper chest and throat. Don’t forget to breathe, go for a walk, feel your feet, get up out of your chair, anything to move the energy around and distribute it more evenly through your body.
  6. Be honest with yourself and stop making excuses. When you work as part of a team and make excuses about why you haven’t done your part, your fellow team members become resentful. Say what you’ll do and do what you say.
  7. Become a good listener. Giving others your full attention is not only respectful but gives you the greatest benefit in your experience of them. Try reining yourself in when you notice you’re talking too much.
  8. Go the extra mile when you are able to. Doing small, selfless acts for others is a great way to extend yourself beyond your daily routine.
  9. Be grateful. We are surrounded by abundance each day. Tap into that wealth of gratefulness in your heart and let others know about it.
  10. Be present. Try seeing what is, rather than believing the story you or someone else made up about a situation. Realizing that the present moment is actually all we have—since the past is gone and the future isn’t here yet—is incredibly empowering. If a half hour has gone by, and you can’t remember what you’ve been doing or where you’ve been, come back to the present moment. It’s your life and your moments: Don’t miss out on them.

New Year’s resolutions are tricky. I’ve noticed that I frequently bite off more than I can chew by setting my goals too high. Remember that it’s through small increments that we often get to the finish line.

Whatever resolutions you’ve made for 2008, don’t forget that physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health are all connected. Ignore one, and the others suffer as well. Try improving one of them and they all benefit.

Have a great week!


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