I like January. When a new year comes around, it helps me focus on the future and brings fresh energy into the workplace. Granted, feelings pass quickly and without careful resolutions and follow-through, it's easy to squander the new year's energy. So after some thought, I've made a few resolutions. I don't expect everyone to agree with them, but perhaps you'll find a useful point or two amongst them and then share some of your own goals.
Channel the Positive.
Most people have a hard time with individuals who think ord act differently than they do. As any author, artist, entrepreneur, or freelancer will tell you, there are always people who think you're making a mistake, telling you to get "real" job. It's interesting to read blogs of successful businesspeople -- only to see how many commenters tell the writer how utterly clueless he or she is. So this year, I will try not to get into pointless negativity with people who think I'm foolish or insensible. Furthermore, I will not dismiss people who have their own ideas and ambitions, but instead encourage them along the way. Because as cliché as it sounds, a positive attitude does matter, and it can make a difference in productivity and successful behavior.
Reach the Finish.
Few young designers or developers say say they want to work 8 to 5 for the rest of their life. Everyone seems to have some idea of what or where they want to be years down the road. I could name dozens of friends who've had "great ideas" in the last 3 years -- but maybe 5% of them have actually followed through. Ideas, as long as they stay undone, are useless. Taking some intial steps is better (registering a domain name, creating a rudimentary business plan, etc.), but that falls short as well (and can waste more time than simple daydreadming). So I plan to finish what I start this year, knowing that to complete something and fail is better than to have never started.
Stay on Target.
I'm the sort of person who is easily distacted (maybe that's just a Generation X/Y thing). This is problematic because the internet has Wikipedia, ESPN, Reddit, and a thousand other distractions. I also tend to get involved in online discussions of things that have no bearing on my family, career, or future. This year, I want to keep asking myself, "Does this matter?" and, "Will I look back at this time spent and regret it?" Sure, I'll still have downtime, but I also need to remember that there are only 24 hours a day. Those who can focus will find success.
Be a Yes-Man.
Going back to my negative tendencies, I often find myself turning down work or potential projects because they are inconvenient or go against my currently established comfort zone. Having "no" as a typical answer is not a successful attitude (although I still believe that "No" can be valid in some situations). I plan to still be discerning about projects, but I'll stay away from the habitual "No."
Remember that Money is a Good Thing.
Many people (including those in the creative industry) often categorize money as a bad thing. We point to Wall Street crooks, pop bands, and romance novelists as people who have "sold out" in search of more money. Any business that has to use cheaper parts or scale back on customer service must certainly be run by a bunch of greedy executives, we conclude. Sure, there are some who have crossed lines that we wouldn't to make a buck, but many people have not. It's completely honorable and worthwhile to make as much money as you ethically can. If you have the talent to generate services and products people want, do it.
So there they are, for better or for worse. Go ahead and throw some of your own out...