Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association | 1121 Chatham Road Springfield, IL 62704

My New Year’s Resolutions

20161128_102819Most people make a point of making New Year’s resolutions every January.  Statistically, the majority of these resolutions are never fulfilled.  My martial arts instructor often reminds students that it takes weeks to learn a new good habit, and months to unlearn old bad habits. That probably explains a lot! It can be difficult enough to do something consistently for 3 weeks to make it a new habit; taking months to forget or unlearn a bad habit is beyond many a person’s willpower.

Historically, I make one or two personal resolutions, and usually make some forward progress.  However, this year I am making a list of resolutions related to both work and personal life—we’ll see how that goes! I will update you next winter…Anyway, I think that these goals may be ones that many people could work on improving.

a Don’t interrupt!

              -This makes my list almost every year, which may not be a good personal statement.  In the exam room, I need to let clients finish their sentences so I can more clearly understand my patient’s problems, as well as grasp what the owner feels is important.  At home, family members would probably feel more respected if I allowed them to complete their thoughts when having a conversation.

a Separate work time and personal time

              -Part of my job involves telecommuting, which allows a tremendous amount of flexibility with my schedule.  However, it is easy make a habit of regularly typing on my laptop or checking up on emails after dinner, or on weekends. The quality of my work, as well as my enjoyment of family events, would probably both improve with more distinct boundaries.

a Make family time quality time

              -I should put more effort into encouraging the family to interact more meaningfully when we do have the opportunity.  Sure, we still need to do laundry, vacuum, and straighten up messes, but down time can be more fun and constructive than watching TV together!

a Set a good example at work

              -I always try to put effort into my work time, but could I be more productive? Yes.  Could I gossip less, and be more positive? Yes. And if I make these improvements, maybe co-workers who relax a little too much, or complain a little too often, will follow suit.

a Don’t presume

           -Both with work and family, it is easy to slip up and make assumptions regarding what someone else may be thinking or feeling. These assumptions can lead to arguments and hurt feelings at home, and to frustrated clients and substandard patient care at work.

All of these resolutions are doable—what about yours? Use 2017 to turn over a new leaf, whether at home or at work; watch for the benefits, both for yourself and those around you. The world could be a better place if we all could think beyond ourselves to see the impact of our actions on others, so start now!