Hey, Professional Women, Replace Your New Years’ Resolutions with These

new-year-586148_640We’re nearing the end of January, the time when most people stop pretending that they’ll actually stick to their New Year’s Resolutions. What was on your list this year? If you’re like most women (this one included), your list includes some variation of these every year: eat more salad and less carbs, organize more and buy less, exercise more and watch less TV.

But these aren’t really resolutions–they’re just things we need to be working on all the time. They’re a given. This year, instead of abandoning the same tired goals, resolve to make meaningful changes in your professional life. Start with these:

Ask for more money. Stop giving ranges.

I’ve hired a lot of people over the past eight years, and I’m always perplexed by (1) the tendency of women to give salary “ranges” instead of salary requirements and (2) the tendency of women to low-ball themselves, and then later regret it. If you want to make $100k, ask for $115k (at least!), and if you want to make $75k, don’t say “My range is $65-75k,” because, in that case, you’ll be getting an offer for $65k.

Break free from the “busy addiction.”

I wrote about this in my recent article for The Muse. Too many of us are creating a sense of constant burn out and overwhelm because we’re obsessed with seeming (and feeling) busy. To begin to change your mental habits and start implementing real change in your life, follow this simple tip I learned from my friend Sumi Krishnan (Executive Coach for entrepreneurs): At the end of your workday, ask yourself “What are two things could I have had someone else do today?” Tomorrow, delegate those tasks.

If you can’t read more, read better.

Every time I see a fully grown woman reading The Hunger Gamesa tiny part of me dies. There’s nothing wrong with reading light novels for pleasure, but there are millions of engaging, funny, enjoyable books out there that are truly better than books written for young adult fiction. Few of us can make as much time as we’d like to read, so, please, choose wisely. Here are some examples. 

Expand Your Definition of “Me Time.”

There’s an alarming cultural consensus that “me time” for women should exclusively include spa days, shopping, or self-beautifying. Women seem to have this mantra ingrained into their minds: “If you look good, you feel good. And that’s good for the whole family.” The implied statement, then, is: “If you don’t look good, you won’t feel good. And your family will suffer.” This isn’t true. I enjoy a good mani/pedi as much as the next gal, but I refuse to let our culture’s obsession with beauty guilt-trip me into thinking that I need to spend my free time tweezing and waxing. “Me time” should include intellectual endeavors, meditating, time with friends, or just sitting around watching horrible television. Make time for what makes you feel good, not just look good, whatever that might be.