10 Key Principles for 2024
I try to begin each new year with two basic questions. First, what lessons did you learn in 2023 based on your experiences? Second, what are your top three priorities as we begin 2024? The new year is a time to start over, wipe the slate clean, leave the past behind, and reaffirm our priorities in life. Socrates once reminded us that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Here are a few key principles as we begin 2024.
1) Name your top priorities and align your time and resources with them. Don’t spread yourself too thin. In life, we cannot do everything so we must do the things that matter the most. Many people quickly find themselves “an inch deep and a mile wide.” That is not a healthy way to live.
2) Seek to be a steady, non-anxious presence in the midst of a chaotic world. Anxiety is contagious. Strong leaders are able to remain courageous when everybody else is afraid. Edwin Friedman said that managing emotion (self-differentiation) is the most important component of leadership. We have too much fear and anxiety in our culture.
3) Practice kindness every day which can be defined this way: “Evidence of impenetrable strength. Kindness is the willingness to stay soft in a world that tries to harden you at every corner. It is the ability to absorb your own emotions and diffuse them, to decide what you want to act on and what you want to put back out into the world, regardless of what the world has put you through. Kind people are not just good, they are heroes in their own way. Their ability to not reciprocate unkindness to a world that often deserves it makes them catalysts for the deepest healing to occur.” Kindness remains a choice we make, even when we are under stress.
4) Surround yourself with people who tell you the truth and make you a better person. Invest in the most important relationships that you have. Some people make you better. Others criticize and tear you down. Some share your values. Others do not. Choose your company wisely.
5) Avoid negativity, cynicism, and people who only complain. Life is too short to spend large amounts of time with people who suck the joy and magic out of living. People want to be around positive energy.
6) Recognize your blessings. Don’t take them for granted. When we fail to be grateful, we become entitled. We also spend our time focusing on what we wish we had. Gratitude is the key to finding contentment.
7) Practice self-care which is never selfish. It must be a top priority. Nobody else can do your self-care. We all have physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs that are interconnected. We cannot neglect them. If our cup is empty, we have nothing to pour out.
8) Reduce time on social media and be with people face to face. Social media is an addiction that seems to have no limits. We all need face-to-face interaction as human beings. Also, body language and eye contact matters.
9) Pray, meditate, and reflect on a regular basis. Life has a rhythm and downtime is essential. This allows us to remain grounded. We must learn to slow down the mind and block out all the noise.
10) Choose your battles wisely. You cannot fight them all. Live humbly and civilly. Howard Baker always said, “Remember that the other guy might be right.” Our culture needs more agents of peace, healing, and reconciliation. We should listen more and do our best to reduce conflict, tension, and drama.
Most importantly in the new year, remember that the greatest joy in life always comes from relationships. The happiest and most fulfilled people recognize this and win the relationship lottery. And most people “don’t care what you know until they know your care.” Here’s to a great 2024!
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