18 Ways to Get 2018 in Gear


Happy New Year, everyone!

You can come up with a new goal anytime. But there’s something about the start of a new year that inspires you to set new marks for yourself. That fresh calendar is a clean slate just asking to be filled out.

I’ve always been big on setting goals. You know our organization runs on them. But since I was a young adult, I’ve come up with my own goals each year. Some have been professional, others personal. It’s important to have a mix.

I feel strongly that everyone can benefit from having a few goals. So I wanted to share some ideas that may help you create your own. I’ve borrowed a lot of these from a few sources. Everyone is unique, and you’ll come up with whatever version of these works for you.

1. Commit to fitness. This is a perennial on resolution lists, for good reason. Getting exercise and eating right can affect your mood, your energy level and basically every aspect of your life. A lot of you take advantage of the many activities offered in our Employee Wellness Program. 2018 again has a full roster of ways to get involved.    

2. Reorganize your living or work space. Making the physical space around you different puts you in the mindset for change. It opens you up to other possibilities of rearranging your life.

3. Volunteer. The possibilities are pretty much endless with this. There are worthy causes for almost any area of interest you might have, and commitment could go anywhere from one-time events to ongoing work. Just within the County are numerous opportunitiesLive Well San Diego lists more with partners and has several databases to find opportunities that fit you. One suggestion: the Point-In-Time Count coming up later this month.

4. Schedule family time. Many of us constantly tell ourselves we need to spend more time with family, but then day-to-day concerns get in the way. Like so many things, scheduling greatly increases chances of making it happen. Maybe it’s planned activities, or just blocks of time with no set plan. Whatever it is, get it on your calendar!

5. Unplug. Email, social media, news, funny videos – our lives seem to revolve around one screen or another. As much as they inform and entertain, the constant flood of information can make you anxious and absorb all your attention. Put some limits around the screen time and don’t lose focus of the world – and people – around you. (This would be a good one to combine with Family Time.)

6. Take stock then move forward. Look back over the last year and ask yourself what you enjoyed most. How can you keep it up or do even more in the coming year? What battles did you fight and not win? Should you keep trying? If so, what can you do to change the outcome this year?

7. Keep friends close. And I mean closer than keeping up with them on Facebook. As recommended for family, schedule regular times to get together. Make phone calls or write to those farther away. True friendships take regular tending, and you reap the rewards in laughter, support and all-around enjoyment of life.

8. Get uncomfortable. Find a way to stretch yourself. This could be anything under the sun: take a public speaking class, try a new recipe, learn a dance, take on a new assignment, give yourself a physical challenge, etc. Growth won’t come to you. You have to make it happen. 

9. Be a student of what you do. In whatever field you are, there’s always more to learn. Read up, follow blogs, sign up for webinars, ask questions of peers and supervisors.

10. Create the environment you need to succeed. Pay close attention to what people and experiences leave you emotionally charged or drained. Then accentuate the positive and do what you can to reduce your exposure to the negative. 

11. Have gratitude. Simply taking note of things and people you’re grateful for can totally transform you. It makes you more aware of the world around you, more positive, more trusting – all things that make more people like you, which makes you happier, more energetic, etc. The positive feedback loop never ends.

12. Visit a place you have always wanted to go. This doesn’t have to be something exotic. Maybe there’s some place around the county you’ve been meaning to check out and haven’t gotten around to. Take advantage of the amazing variety right here in San Diego. Whether you go near or far, seeing new places always opens your eyes.

13. Stop smoking. Look at your health plan options for help, and don’t forget about the Employee Assistance Program. 

14. Write a not-to-do list. One expert recommends keeping a rough log of your activities for a while. Then look at how your time spent matches up with the other goals you’re working on. If a lot of hours are going to things that are not a priority for you, put those on your “not-to-do” list and make a conscious point to limit or stay away from them.

15. Review expenses as a couple. For those of you in relationships, being on the same page here can head off a lot of frustration. The new year is a great time to plot out short-term and long-term plans.  

16. Schedule all regular doctor and dentist appointments for the year. Things will come up you can’t schedule, but getting all the routine visits on the calendar keeps them from slipping later. Doing it far in advance, and you’re more likely to get times that are more convenient for you, not just when the doctor can fit you in.

17. Lower your blood pressure. I won’t get into too many specific health recommendations, but this one ties into our Love Your Heart event next month. Among the steps you can take: get regular exercise. Eat a healthy diet. Check sodium content in products. Ask restaurant servers for low-sodium options.

And a final important one.

18. Write your top goals for this year and post them where you can see them. A constant reminder helps keep you on track and accountable to yourself. Here’s a quote I’ve shared before:

“Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.” -Brian Tracy

Writing something down makes it real. Adding deadlines keeps them a priority. Setting goals is great, but reaching them is what it’s all about. Take the steps you need to keep your promises to yourself.

I wish you success in all your plans for this new year as we all work together to make San Diego healthy, safe and thriving!

P.S. Here’s something that may fit with a few of the goals I mentioned. We’re mixing up how we do the TED Talks viewings we’ve had in recent years. My general managers are going to take turns hosting. First up will be Ron Lane, from the Public Safety Group, on the topic “Great Leaders are Great Decision-Makers: Leading Without Fear of Being Wrong.” That will be January 12 from noon to 1 p.m. at the COC, Bldg. 5500, Room 120.