6 New Year's Resolutions for Professionals in 2020

January 8, 2020 | Katrina Hinrichsen


It’s the start of a new year, not to mention a new decade, and with that comes an invitation to analyse your traits and habits and set goals that will help you ‘live your best life’ in the coming months.

Each person’s resolutions should be different, tailored to what they need to focus on to improve their overall wellbeing. But, sometimes it’s hard to get started - so here are some ideas for resolutions to get you motivated.


1. Be courageous

‘Courage’ was one of the four Cs that Helle Thorning Schmidt, the Former Prime Minister of Denmark, attributed to good leadership in our European Women in Tech conference. To be courageous is a generic resolution but one that we should remind ourselves as much as possible, as it’s easy to shrink back into your comfort zone over the course of the year.

There are a variety of ways in which you can aim to be courageous, from having courage in your convictions and your abilities in order to go for that promotion, or by daring to do something that scares you but that would strengthen your skills, such as public speaking. 

Sometimes, we know exactly what it is that we want or would like to do, but we lack the courage to make the initial leap for it. As Sharloo Garg, Managing Director at Microsoft for Startups, stated at the European Women in Tech event, “if your heart and mind say ‘yes’”, then “chase it!”. Be brave enough to persevere through nerves and setbacks, and the reward will be significant. The adrenaline rush from it will also have you feeling invigorated. 

Practical action: 

  • Write down the things that scare you or are out of your comfort zone and try to do at least one of them.

2. Be curious


Another of Helle’s four Cs was to be curious. We can often get accustomed to the same routines and habits, particularly if we’re already good at what we’re doing. 

However it’s important to stay curious, as exposing yourself to new experiences will help you develop as a person - and you always have room to learn new things. It’ll also keep things fresh, so you stay motivated and engaged in what you’re doing day to day. 

Practical action: 

  • Undertake a workshop or course in something you’ve never tried before. It doesn’t have to be work-related, it can be something that inspires your creativity as well.
  • Take an interest in what other people are working on and try shadowing them for a period of time.

3. Have a digital detox


Our generation is dependant on digital devices, and it’s increasingly hard to escape that. 210 million people are said to suffer from social media and internet addictions, with many users checking their digital device from the moment they wake up to just before going to sleep - 71% of Americans reportedly sleep next to their phone, a habit that can also contribute to sleeping disorders.

Globally, the average person spends around two hours a day on social media and messaging platforms, which amounts to over five years of someone’s life. Worryingly for teens, this number can be even higher, with some spending up to nine hours every day on social media. 

A digital detox could easily help to reduce stress, improve your mental wellbeing and help you engage more with social interaction in the physical world. It would help to lower the chances of becoming hooked on digital endorphins gained from ‘likes’ and of gaining depressive symptoms that come from comparing yourself to other users and influencers. It would additionally help to ensure that you’re not always up late working on a project when your mind needs time to reset.

Practical action:

  • Refrain or set limits to your use of smartphones and laptops - either by refusing to use them past a particular time of day or by setting notifications on apps such as Instagram to tell you when you’ve been on the app for a certain amount of time.


4. An idea a week

Challenge yourself to get into a mindset of innovation by aiming to think of at least one new idea each week. It can be related to anything from an invented product or service to the subject of a children’s book. Even if it’s silly and wouldn’t work in real life, it will nurture your imagination and get you thinking outside of the box - plus you never know if one of those ideas might stick and grow into something that’s actually tangible.

Practical action:

  • Think of at least one new idea each week and write it down in a notebook.

5. Get organized

Japanese consultant Marie Kondo took the world by storm in the last year with her notion of decluttering based on what ‘sparks joy’ for you. If you’re a business owner or manager, the new year is an opportunity to examine what aspects of the company ‘spark joy’ for you and your customers, and evaluate how you can better streamline the business. 

Many of us could also do with tidying our files and organizing our workload, so take the time to get your affairs in check and you will feel the benefit with the stress and time you save later on.

Practical action:

  • Conduct a ‘sparks joy’ audit of your company’s output and discuss with your team members how you can add more value to those areas.
  • Organize your desk and arrange your files and projects in a clear format, using categories and setting out priorities.


6. Become an advocate 


What do you stand for? What causes do you believe in? Young environmental activist Greta Thunberg was named TIME magazine’s Person of the Year 2019, and rightly so.

The teen has made huge waves in a short space of time - in the months after skipping school as an act of protest in August 2018, she has addressed world leaders and heads of state at the U.N., met with the Pope, and inspired millions to strike against climate change in the largest demonstration of its kind in human history.

We can all take a note from Thunberg on the power of giving a voice to something and taking action. This year, try to take an active role in advocacy and renew your sense of passion for a cause. 

There are numerous workplace causes you could take a stand for - from promoting diversity and inclusion of staff or helping to bridge the gender pay gap to ensuring colleagues are aware of the best sustainability practices. 

Practical action:

  • Have a think about what matters to you and find some way of being an advocate for it. It can be a small gesture, such as wearing a badge, or you could try to implement change within your organisation, for example.


Tech to help you keep your resolutions

There are a variety of tech tools that can help you keep your resolutions. Momentum and Streaks offer unique interfaces to track the habits you want to build, while StickK adds a monetary element by donating cash to a friend or charity whenever you miss your goal.

Other apps such as Calm, Headspace or Quantified Sit can help guide your mindfulness and create steps to alleviating stress.

Good luck!

At Maddox Events, our resolution is to make the next 10 years the definitive decade in the rise of women in tech. At our Women in Tech World Series, we will provide you with the inspiration, content and networking needed to help you supercharge your career and to ensure that the next decade is a history-making era like none before it. Together, by changing the face of technology, we will change the world.

So, make it one of your resolutions to be a part of our movement enabling women to thrive in the tech industry. Join us at Women of Silicon Valley or one of other events around the world and challenge yourself to make a real positive change.



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