Meeow Newsletter Header New Year Jan22 BLOG

new year, same you… and that’s not a bad thing

Every January our news feeds, inboxes and advertising quotas are submerged in a tidal wave of new year, new you messages.  There is so much pressure for you to change your life entirely as the calendar ticks over from one year to the next. As we come towards the end of the first month of the year, that initial enthusiasm starts to wane. And what if you don’t want to change anyway? What if your things are going pretty well for you right now? What if it’s New Year, same you?

Firstly, we’re not going to tell you that’s ok because you don’t need our permission. Secondly, if you like what you’re doing there is absolutely no incentive to change – what is throwing everything in the bin actually going to achieve?

But, however attractive it might be to maintain the status quo, is it actually going to help you reach your business or personal goals this year? Maybe rather than changing your life, you need to think about where you can build on it. A sort of Life 2.0 for the new year.

new year, time for reflection

Instead of going full steam ahead into flipping your life upside down, let’s use January to take stock of the year we’ve just had. Reflect on what’s been great and has really worked for you. What’s been terrible and has to go.

And also, what’s been mediocre and middle of the road? Not terrible enough to be tossed aside but definitely space for improvement. Some things you can build on to make 2022 even better. I’ll bet there’s more in this final category than in either of the others.

We’ve rounded up some experts from our Meeow members to give you their opinions on how you can build on your strengths and successes in 2022 to make it the best yet.

working from home

For some of us this was already the norm. For others it was a total shock to the system. Whatever your working from home experience has been like, we bet there are still ways you can improve the experience and productivity without going back to an office or co-working space.

“When working from home you still structure your workload in your day, “ says HR and employment specialist Ella Stockdale. “Even though you want flexibility when working, still block out time in the diary for when you are going to do certain tasks and then make yourself a cuppa and sit down to do them.

“Having no structure could mean that at every distraction, you put the task down, forget where you are, and then pick up something else, leaving lots of tasks half done. The risk of time blocking every moment from 8.30am to 5pm is that you work through without leaving your desk and getting burned out just as easily as the office.

“hybrid working should also be a hybrid between structure and flexible working.”

Sarah Gardner, director of 2020 HR Consultancy agrees. “Although many employers pivoted to home working very quickly, the reactionary nature of this change meant that it wasn’t very well planned in terms of ongoing support for home working. Now that it is becoming a more permanent option, a lot of employers have better thought through what they need to have in place for home-working to be effective.

“Employers need to consider how they will maintain a team approach where its required and how they will ensure that home workers are not ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Employees need to play an active part in coming up with the solutions in conjunction with their manager, considering what works for them in terms of communication.

“And both employers and employees need to think about the physical space to ensure that the workspace at home is suitable and will not result in any long-term health issues.”

So, whether you are employed or working on projects with a team, you need to take stock of your working environment – both physical and mental – to build on the successes and make sure that this continues to be the best option for you in 2022,

health and fitness – a january fad?

Who started the month armed with a vat of lentils and tofu for Veganuary, that shiny new gym membership, and a small fortune on workout clothes? Even if it’s not that extreme, we bet a fair few people have declared that 2022 is THE YEAR that they will get fit and eat right.

Problem is, with that attitude you’re already setting yourself up to fail.

Elaine Hart, Chief Banana Officer, POWER Fitness Events believes that there is a kinder way to take the next step in your journey. “Why not take a break from resolution, this year, and set an intention instead. Resolution doesn’t create space for agility or flexibility, and can so easily (and quickly) become a stick to beat ourselves with.

“Intention is more compassionate; it allows for failure as an opportunity for feedback, and information to inform next steps. Intention is rooted in direction. Growth is not a light switch, and it’s not linear; direction is what counts.

“Resolution can be overwhelming; we’re not going for the whole staircase, take it step by step; small steps lead to big changes. Consistency plus compassion equals progress.”

“toxic as heck”

In fact, resolutions can be “toxic as heck” according to Brand Designer and former boxer Jordan Allmark. A much easier and kinder approach is to break everything down into small components and then work out what, if anything, needs to shift.

“Goal-setting is important, but resolutions are a beta version of that concept. They’re unplanned. They’re an idea, backed by a few words. They’re short-term motivation-feelers.

“Instead of setting mindless goals, try this step plan. First, THINK: what do you really want to achieve this year? Second, PLAN: if you were already there, how would you have done it? ACT: set short-term milestones and micro-goals.”

Instead of running to a final outcome, Jordan puts in place processes and systems to help, skills that transfer to all areas of his life. “If I want to develop a Brand Identity that brings results, it’ll need a lot more than a half-arsed logo. It needs to be structured, planned, future-proof, researched, backed by milestones and so much more. But, as with everything in life, it needs to be achieved one micro-goal at a time.”

a hybrid approach to networking

When it comes to business networking, 2020 was the year of online connections. So many groups switched to a digital format, with varying levels of success. And the concept of meeow was born – one thing to be grateful for. 

Come 2021 and once released, we were desperate to get back to face-to-face interactions, meeting business colleagues new and old in 3D format. And while it was great in theory, cancellations were rife (thanks Covid) and many of us realised that we could no longer afford to spend whole mornings commuting to lots of different meetings.

So, for 2022, let’s build on the successes that we have made. Streamline your networking and take a hybrid approach. There are going to be the face-to-face meetings that you just don’t want to stop, and there will be online meetings that are a really efficient use of your time.

when you just don’t want to go outside

Co-founder and CEO of meeow, Chris Rabbitt says “We are never going to advocate going completely online, unless there’s another lockdown, because most of us like face-to-face interaction with other humans. 

“But, there are times when you don’t have time, or don’t really want to leave the house. On meeow you can meet up to 3 new people each time you log on, which you can every hour, on the hour, whenever you have a gap in your schedule. It’s a perfect complement to your regular networking activity.” 

So, for 2022, try to increase the number of networking events that you go to, but in a sustainable way that doesn’t take you away from your business for days at a time. Build on your successful relationships and create a hybrid approach that really works for your schedule.

staying in vs going out

During 2020/21, we also played hokey cokey with our social lives. “Eat out to help out” soon morphed into “Stay in to save lives”, and many of us suffered thwarted plans and confusion over the rules.

But, as with networking, we adapted. Some of us moved our exercise from the gym to the front room.We took to Zoom parties and online quizzes, bringing us together even virtually even though we were kept so far apart physically. It gave us a chance and an excuse to reconnect with friends and relatives who live hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Danielle Hakner runs the Bridlington Escape Rooms. “We were very badly affected by the lockdown in 2020 – all business ceased for about 8 months. It was really difficult. 

“But during that time we invested in our online presence and now have a virtual Escape Room which is proving to be really popular for connecting families, friends and businesses looking for a team building event. Even now we are back open for in-person games, we’re getting a steady stream of customers who like the online approach.”

Now, many of us are again adopting the hybrid approach – going out to meet with friends nearby while also staying in and using our online tools to stay connected to those further away. It’s a great hybrid approach for so many reasons.

new year, same you is an ok place

They may have been an uphill ride in so many ways, but the past two years have taught us a lot. While there are many things that many of us would gladly throw in the bin, there are equally as many experiences and activities that have been a great foundation for success.

So, the new year doesn’t have to mark a completely new you. Don’t cave to the pressure to change. It’s just as good to be the same you, doing the same things, but with the knowledge, experience, and passion behind you.

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