Dec 30

New Year’s resolutions: Aiming for a better 2020

A blank New year's resolutions list. Desk with notebook, glasses and decorative light bulb.

I’ve got to admit: I’m a sucker when it comes to New Year’s resolutions.

For as long as I can remember, I spend the week leading up to Jan. 1 deciding on which two things I want to focus on in the coming year. I chose one very practical and one very aspirational, write them down and then hold myself accountable for regular progress.

I try and skip the ho-hums – exercise more! – in favor of specifics I might actually achieve. Past resolutions have included taking the stairs, trying something new every week, avoiding food from drive-thrus, being kinder and practicing patience.

For 2020, I’m expanding from personal pledges by adding professional intentions to the mix, although I am having a difficult time narrowing past these. My top contenders include:

People first – especially our team

At Sabo PR, we tackle all projects and problems by putting people at the heart of our solution development. We consider those acting, those being affected and those waiting in the wings before we make any recommendations. Clients are always at the top of our priority list, which we affirm in our social contract. Sometimes that means our team gets shorter shrift. In 2020, I want to make sure people, especially our team, remain front and center in everything I do.

Slow down when writing and editing

As we work through an increasing amount of content, I’ve noticed more mistakes are slipping through – and that starts and stops with me. I want to be sure each writing project, from a short tweet to a lengthy communications plan, leaves our hands as perfect as can be. While we are only human, I want our entire team to slow down and not hurry through writing or editing projects in 2020.

Be present

Ram Dass may have popularized the notion in the 1970s, but he wasn’t the first – and won’t be the last – to encourage the idea of “be here now.” When deadlines are bearing down, to-do lists threaten to overwhelm and crises rear their insistent heads, I find it incredibly challenging to focus on the task, meeting or person in front of me. In 2020, I want to do a better job of setting aside distractions to focus fully on that which is before me.

Schedule less

In an effort to maximize my time, I find myself too often saying yes to meetings that overly crowd my days. While this allows me to pack a lot in, it also contributes to me not giving appropriate thought or attention to each meeting, project request or proposal. Rather than aiming for quantity, I’d like to focus more on quality in 2020 and schedule fewer things – and pay more attention to each – every day.

Hold more meaningful O3s

Following the advice of one of my favorite mentors, I started the practice of one-on-one meetings with each of my team during 2019. The idea was to give each team member undivided attention to discuss whatever he or she wanted. While we kept more or less to the schedule, we wandered away from the true intent of O3s so they became a recital of individual to-do lists. I’ve been working on retooling them and, in 2020, want to focus on more meaningful O3s.

Make time for professional development

During each six-month or annual review, we discuss professional development opportunities for individual team members – but often we don’t get beyond the discussion phase. The immediate tyranny of the everyday can swallow everything in its path. In 2020, I want to make more time to ensure our team has the appropriate professional development opportunities – and to find time for a few myself.

Use more calls, fewer emails

I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to relying on email for everything – making appointments, correcting press releases, developing presentations, checking on projects, you name it, I probably lean on email for it. But you can miss a lot this way – and you can sidestep important interactions in the favor of brevity and convenience. I will try and focus less on email and more on other tools – a phone call, coffee connection or in-person touch base – to stay connected.

I know, I know – seven is probably way too many to consider. Which two would you focus on – or what do you plan to have as your professional resolutions in the coming year?

As we close our 2019, I want to offer a word of thanks for reading our blogs, commenting on our Facebook posts and sharing our tweets this year. We appreciate and value all the opportunities to connect with you in writing, on social media and in person.

And happy 17th birthday to Sabo PR on Thursday! We’ve come such a long way since I set out my shingle on 01/02/03. I am beyond grateful to have Brian, Lisa, Chiara, Hunter, Max, Tom and Angela as fellow teammates and friends. And we are so very appreciative to work with so many leading companies, municipalities, nonprofits, educational institutions, associations and organizations in – and beyond – Michigan.

Thank you for the trust, the opportunity to serve and the continued partnership. May 2020 bring you all your heart desires – and just a little bit more.

6 thoughts on “New Year’s resolutions: Aiming for a better 2020”

  1. Robin Keith says:

    Happy anniversary to SPR! I can’t believe it’s been 17 years since Mary Ann first began this adventure. Time sure flies when you are providing stellar client support and service. Congratulations to all and may 2020 be another great year for the team and those you serve.

    1. Mary Ann says:

      Thanks, Robin! You were there at the launch and so instrumental in our success over the years. Thank you again for continuing to be one of our biggest cheerleaders!

  2. Gary Wade says:

    Mary Ann & Team – What a true blessing it is to share your 17th anniversary! Congratulations my friends. I have loved getting to know you and your team over the years… and even being a part of it when time and situation allowed. Let’s continue to change lives together in 2020.

    1. Mary Ann says:

      Gary, we are honored to count you as an alum! Thanks for the kind words and for always being such a great supporter. All the best in 2020.

  3. Denise Kolesar says:

    It’s impossible to choose just two. Love reading your writings. Cheers to Sabo PR and contratulations on 17 years.

    1. Mary Ann says:

      Thanks, Denise — we so appreciate your mentorship and support throughout this entire journey!

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