How to develop realistic work goals

IOL pic aug17 office coffee sxc SXC.HU File picture

Johannesburg - As we enter the new year, many will face the daunting task of getting back into the swing of work.

After the body and mind have relaxed over the holiday season, returning to normal productivity could seem impossible.

Yet there are ways to ensure that your staff beat the post-holiday blues and achieve renewed happiness, enjoyment and fulfilment in their work.

The first step is to develop realistic and achievable personal and professional resolutions for the new year, so that you have a set of goals to work towards.

This provides direction and purpose, bolsters mental wellness and increases the employees’ career development focus.

As human beings, we thrive on positive reinforcement – and there’s nothing more encouraging than achieving an objective or realising an ambition.

Second, it is important to treat yourself as a holistic person all year around, ensuring that life does not revolve solely around work.

Make time for real relaxation and enjoyable hobbies to reset your mind and body weekly. Spend this time building positive memories, engaging in new experiences, building deeper relationships with family and friends and giving to those in need.

The third step is to avoid the pitfalls that render your downtime ineffective. Don’t dwell on negativity and worry about work while you are not at work.

Compartmentalise work, home and hobby time so that each element is enjoyed to its fullest, without blurring the lines between each separate part of your life.

Last, try not to spend your entire day off lazing about on the couch. While there certainly is a time for that, it more often than not leads to a sore body, a groggy mind and a grumpy disposition.

Rather get up, get outside and get active. Take part in community activities, laugh more, learn more and enjoy all of the wonders that nature has to offer.

To create a working environment that is conducive to happiness this year, explore fun new ways to communicate with co-workers and get to know each other better.

Work on eliminating silos so that the company pulls together towards unified goals of happiness at work, productivity and excellent teamwork.

Don’t shy away from speaking to management about your needs and duties – get involved, get moving and ask! Most importantly, make a conscious decision to be happy daily, while striving to evoke happiness in others too.

As American musician, singer, songwriter, author, poet, actor and activist Willie Nelson once said: “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones you’ll start having positive results.”

How can this be achieved? Through consistent forms of positive change – embrace creativity, strategic thinking and development.

* Liane McGowan is founder of Happy Monday, a wellness campaign that focuses on mental health and happiness at work. For more information visit www.happymonday.co.za or contact Liane McGowan at liane@happymonday.co.za.

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