As 2023 ends, it is time to consider the year ahead and make your resolutions. As young leaders, take a moment to make resolutions that support your future successes and build on your leadership skills. Explore the ideas below and then establish your own resolutions for 2024.
- Write down your goals and look at them every day.
Decide resolutions you want to meet for 2024 and write them down. People who write down their goals are more likely to reach them. Place your goals on your nightstand, on your desk, or mirror – somewhere where they will always be visible. Periodically, take a moment and add notes about what you have done so far to accomplish your goals. Celebrating your achievements can assist you in taking the next step and remind you of your ability to overcome challenges.
- Be your biggest supporter.
How you talk to yourself matters. Each time you say something negative to yourself, say you aren’t good enough, or that you can’t do something, you are building a habit that will hold you back from reaching your full potential. Instead, remind yourself how awesome you are. Consistently encourage yourself toward reaching your goals. The more you tell yourself that you can accomplish your goals, the more likely you will be able to do so.
- Set and keep a wellness goal.
Being attentive to your personal wellness is an important part of investing in yourself. Make goals that will support your health, from nutrition to exercise to mental fitness. Remember, being fit isn’t exclusive to people without disabilities. Regardless of your disability, you can take steps to pay attention to what you eat, how you take care of your body, and how you take care of your mind.
- Put your phone away when studying.
Distractions when studying can impact your ability to learn. Having your smart phone nearby while learning can have a negative impact on retention, task completion, test scores, reaction times, performance, enjoyment of the task being performed, and even cognition. By putting away devices which compete for your attention, you are building a habit which will increase your focus and your mindfulness. It’s not enough to just put it on silent, turn off vibration, or face down, the impact is still there. Instead put it in a drawer or another room. In a recent study published by Harvard Business Review, it was found that when given the same tasks to complete, that people who left their phones in another room performed best, followed by those who left their phones in their pockets, and finally by those who had their phones on their desk.
- Improve your presentation skills.
The ability to communicate is an important skill for leaders. Continue to build on the presentation skills you began developing at Bender Leadership Academy by reading about communication habits of great leaders, joining a group to practice public speaking, or volunteering as a part of school projects or in your community to be a speaker. Take a look at additional Bender Leadership Academy programs and contact us to talk about what additional programs you can participate in to continue building these skills.
- Read a book about leadership.
No matter how much experience a leader has, you can always learn more. One of the ways many leaders continue to develop leadership skills is to keep reading about leadership skills. Pick some skills you want to work on and research books at your local library or bookstore about those topics. Examples of skills to focus on may include listening, planning, and conflict resolution.
- Listen to Disability Matters every week to learn about current events in disability inclusion.
Disability Matters with Joyce Bender is a great resource to learn about current events in the disability community, hear stories from disability civil rights leaders, gain insight into strategies being used by inclusive employers, and more. Leaders stay aware of what is happening in their communities and are open to incorporating new innovations into their lives and leadership style. Disability Matters is a great source for information for young leaders within the disability community.
- Practice gratitude.
Taking time to actively identify what you are grateful for and expressing that gratitude can lead to more happiness and resilience when faced with life’s challenges. Start completing a gratitude journal, send thank you notes, or just be more mindful about expressing appreciation for all the things that other’s do to support you, whether family, friends, or educators. True leaders recognize the contributions of their teams and are able to support their growth through expression of their gratitude for those contributions.
- Participate in a mentoring program.
Participation in mentoring programs is linked to academic and career success. Did you know that young people who participate in mentoring programs are 130% more likely to hold leadership positions in their lifetime according to Mentor? Enroll in the Bender Mentoring Initiative and explore mentoring opportunities.
- Make a #NotAshamed campaign video.
Support the Bender #NotAshamed campaign and raise awareness about mental health stigma and encourage others to be #NotAshamed about living with a mental health disability. Whether you are a person living with mental health disabilities or an ally of people who live with a mental health disability, you can make a difference by sharing your story and support with others.
Whatever resolutions you make for 2024, make a plan for how to achieve those resolutions. Having a plan will help you to be able to mark down more successes and overcome obstacles. Not sure how to get started? Read Setting Goals Sets You Up for Success.