New year, New me

A new year is upon us again and that means it’s time for yet another round of #NewYearResolutions to be made. A little bit of background, according to History.com, the ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. During their New Year celebrations, they would promise to pay debts and return borrowed goods to win favor from pagan gods. While New Year Resolutions are no longer a religious practice, and some people may argue that time is but a construct, many people still find that the coming of a new year warrants a good opportunity for retrospection and re-evaluation and a fresh start.

(Image source: PandaWhale)

I have never been one to set New Year resolutions, since I never managed to keep to the ones I did attempt to set. And apparently, only 8% of people do. When I did give New Year resolutions a fleeting consideration, I thought they should be realistic and achievable (like not spending too much time wearing pants). However, I thought that 2017 might be a good time to start making resolutions, since I am also embarking on a new journey at EASTWEST as a marketing communications associate. While pondering on what my resolutions should be, I looked to Mark Zuckerberg for inspiration. The man behind Facebook is known for making ambitious resolutions – run 365 miles, be fluent in mandarin, become Iron Man build a Jarvis-style AI for his home – and he manages to achieve them every year. To start off, here are two resolutions that I have penned down and hope to achieve this year.

  1. Embrace the challenge

I am what Singaporeans would call kiasi, which literally translates to afraid of dying. Somehow over the years, I have been conditioned to choose the safer option, to keep my head down to avoid unnecessary trouble, to be lukewarm in life. I’ve only ever dipped my toes in PR stints and have zero experience with marketing. To the uninitiated (aka me when I first started at EASTWEST), PR and marketing may sound similar but they are actually quite different. To tell the truth, it has still been a struggle adapting to the role, but I am thankful for the practical opportunity to pick up and hone a new skill. Although it has only been a short time, I have already gained a broader perspective when it comes to communications. Marketing at EASTWEST has taught me to take a step back from just proactively pushing messages out via releases or media pitching and take a step back to consider the business objectives of my clients. This experience has helped me to understand the value of PR and marketing going hand in hand, and how to better tie in communication efforts to benefit clients’ business. The role also requires me to coordinate with different people in the office and has taught me to manage chemistry between my colleagues. This year, I resolve to be brave and meet challenges that require me to do things that push me beyond my comfort zone.

2.Read more

Everyone knows why we should read, there are many benefits to reading. When we read, we cultivate our innovation, gain knowledge, expand our vocabulary, reduce stress, be mentally stimulated, learn about new cultures, discover more about ourselves, and so much more.

Deliberate reading is even more important in today’s media landscape that flooded with content vying for our attention. I have lost count of the number of times I decided to check my social media feeds “for a bit” and ended up spending hours scrolling through the same posts. Reading books is one way to block out the distraction. Another way is to be consciously selective of the sites you spend your time on. When you deliberately choose to spend your time on the internet trawling relevant news articles, opinion pieces instead of Facebook or Instagram, you are making productive use of your time. By proactively and consciously reading, you gain industry insights that put you in a better position to advise your clients.

Resolutions are notoriously hard to keep to because they require constant decision-making, effort and sacrifice, but once making these decisions become a habit we will find that they suddenly come easily to us and experiencing personal growth is undeniably rewarding and worth it. Forbes recommends five steps to better decision-driven resolutions that may help you to stick to your resolutions. And even if you fall off the bandwagon tomorrow, remember that you don’t have to start a new year to try again.