When it comes to developing a list of resolutions that will help you fine-tune your attitude for improving your chances of success in business (or other aspects of life), a great place to start is with the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 co-authored by Travis Bradberry, the president of TalentSmart, an emotional intelligence testing firm. In January, 2016, Bradberry synthesized several of his principles into an essay on LinkedIn. In his book and essay, Bradberry includes examples and research to go with his principles. Here is our condensed version of some of those principles that we’ve formatted as new year’s resolutions, any of which will be a solid addition to your small business New Year’s resolutions for 2017.
1 | I resolve to believe in myself.
Our expectations, more than anything else in life, determine our reality. When it comes to achieving our goals, if we don’t believe we’ll succeed, we won’t. Research reveals that people who believe in themselves use more of their brains and have more brainpower to solve problems.
2 | I resolve to believe in others.
We get the most out of other people when we believe in them. Research shows that this happens because when we believe in someone:
- We treat them better than people we think will fail
- We give them more opportunities to succeed than we give those we think will fail
- We give them more accurate, helpful feedback than we give others
- We do more teaching them because we believe it’s time well spent
3 | I resolve to stop believing that life is fair.
Life isn’t fair but many people subconsciously expect it to be. People believe that any unfairness that they experience will somehow be balanced out, even if we don’t do anything about it. It won’t. When something “unfair” happens, don’t rely on outside forces to get you back on your feet. Sometimes there isn’t any consolation prize and the sooner you stop expecting there to be the sooner you can take actions that will actually make a difference.
4 | I resolve to stop believing opportunities will just fall into my lap.
Just because you deserve something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. If we limit ourselves to what’s given to us, we are at the mercy of other people. We have to put in the hard work, then take action and get what’s yours.
Here’s what “taking action” means:
- Knowing exactly what steps we need to take
- Knowing exactly the obstacles in our way and what we’ll need to do to remove them
- Knowing exactly what mistakes we are making
- Knowing the steps we’ll need to take so that we’ll move toward our goals rather than away from them
5 | I resolve to stop thinking everyone should like me.
When we assume that everyone is going to like us, we take shortcuts — we start making requests and demands before we’ve laid the groundwork to really understand what the other person is thinking and feeling. Instead of expecting that people will like you, focus on earning their trust and respect.
6 | I resolve to stop thinking everyone should agree with me.
Sure, you know what you’re talking about and for that reason people should take you seriously. But expecting people to agree with you because your ideas are so incredibly smart is another story. Something that’s obvious to you might not be so to someone with different experiences and a different context, so stop being offended when people disagree with you and stop assuming that there is only one right answer (yours). Instead, focus on how you can find solutions that give others what they need, not just you.
7 | I resolve to stop thinking people know what I’m trying to say.
Communication fails for all sorts of reasons. People can’t read your mind, and what you’re trying to say is rarely what other people hear. Communication won’t be clear until you take the time to understand the other person’s perspective.
8 | I resolve to stop thinking I’m going to fail.
If you expect to fail, you stand a higher chance of creating the very outcome you’re worried about. If you fail, accept that sometimes you’ll fail and sometimes you’ll succeed. If you pursue an endeavor, believe with all your being that you’re going to succeed in that endeavor. Otherwise, you’ll limit the chances of that happening.
9 | I resolve to stop believing that material things will make me happy.
Sure, things can make life more fun and comfortable in the short run, but they can’t make you happy in the long run. Too many of us expect a future event (“I’ll be happy when I grow my business to a certain size”) to make us happy. Instead, we should be trying to understand more deeply what are the causes of our unhappiness. If you don’t fix what’s going on inside, no external event or possessions are going to make you happy, no matter how much you want it to.
10 | I resolve to stop believing I can change another person.
There’s only one person in this world you can truly change — yourself. And even that takes a tremendous amount of effort. The only way that people change is through the desire and wherewithal to change themselves. Still, it’s tempting to try. Let go of this faulty expectation. Build your life around genuine, positive people, and avoid problematic people that bring you down.