By any stretch, Mark Zuckerberg is one successful guy. He has more money than most of us can even conceive of, he spends a lot of that money and time on philanthropic efforts, and—oh yeah—he runs the biggest social networking company in the world. Yet even from his vantage point at the top of the world, there’s room for self-improvement.
Zuckerberg has made some strong New Year’s resolutions in the past. And although they may be a little extreme for someone with more modest means and less time available, we can learn a lot from his approach.
Here are some of his past years’ resolutions (or “challenges”), and what we can take from them.
1. “Learning to speak Mandarin.”
Becoming fluent in a challenging language may not be super-accessible to someone juggling a job, a family, and daily obligations without a full-time language tutor. But you can certainly find time to learn a new skill this year.
2. “Writing a thank you note each day to someone who made the world better.”
If you have time to write a flowery thank you note to Gandhi or Elvis every day this year, great. If you don’t, just saying “thank you” to someone each day is great, too. You could make a coworker’s day by thanking him for something that might ordinarily go unnoticed. Being thankful for the smaller things (even when bigger things are going wrong) might also help you feel less stressed at work.
3. “Being a vegetarian (or only eating meat if I killed the animal myself).”
Again, this one could be a very large commitment, depending on how much you love bacon. But really, it could be any healthy habit that makes you more mindful. Maybe it’s 10 minutes of yoga at lunch. Maybe it’s going to a spin class after work to decompress. This one could also be about self-accountability and embracing the choices you make in the workplace, instead of looking for the nearest coworker to throw under the bus.
4. “Wearing a tie every day.”
When I saw this one, I thought of the old adage, “dress for the job you want.” Even as society and workplaces have gotten more casual, there’s some merit in this one. Taking an extra step to look good for work can make you feel sharper and more ready for the day.
5. “Meeting one new person who doesn’t work at Facebook every day.”
This challenge is about building your network, social and professional. Getting out there and making connections is one of the best things you can do to make your year brighter. Best case, you’ve created relationships that could take your career to the next level. Worst case, you’ve widened your world a little bit.
So what do you think? Are you up for these challenges, or ones like them?
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