3 Reasons to Redraft your Resolutions

new yearAlthough Monday is the Nickleback of the weekdays, the approaching first Monday of the new year is an exception. It’s the calm after the storm. Whether it’s the first day back in the office or the first truly relaxing day of winter vacation, there is a sense of routine and normalcy. As much as I love the holidays, I am looking forward to going back to the Cities and having days filled with activities and responsibilities that are more overarching than “exchange pants at Lululemon.”

Now that the shopping day countdowns, calories and chaos are behind us, it’s natural to wonder what the coming months have in store.

Spoiler alert: not much.

Unless you decide to create it, that is. Throughout the month of January, the words new year’s resolutions have about as much appeal as after-graduationwe-need-to-talk and moist. Goal setting is common for new school years, birthdays and professional opportunities, yet the cliché name we attach to our aspirations for the new year tends to make them irrelevant by Valentine’s Day. Here’s why-

1. Failure is an option– Although it can be helpful to make resolutions concrete, it’s this same tendency that makes it easier for us to say, “I tried, I failed, I quit.” If your goal is to go to the gym three times a week, and you only make it once or twice, this progress gets lost in the number. By focusing on your intention, to be active or to treat your body well, you are able to recognize every healthy choice as a small victory and each misstep another opportunity to move forward. The specifics of a goal aren’t the point, it’s the purpose and vision for results that matter.

2. It’s trending– No one is making you create resolutions, let alone making you choose ecardspecific ones. If you plan on fitting volunteering into your schedule because you feel like you should- or worse, because you have to- it’s rare that it will actually be prioritized. If it’s the cliché name that throws you off, ban it and make this your own. I am a big believer in goal setting, vision casting, bucket list creating, year-around; it’s what allows us to recognize if we’re living the life that we want to be. And maybe that in itself is your intention for this year.

3. We plan an extreme makeover– I rarely say this, but do less. We start with a few goals, and that tends to snowball into a laundry list describing the ideal human, something I am guilty of as well. The reality is, you have the tools to succeed at the aspirations that truly resonate with you. In yoga, we call these sankalpas. It’s the idea that you aren’t creating this brand new healthy, focused or punctual person; you’re removing the obstacles that have kept you from showing up in the world that way. Often times the root of these obstacles are stress or feeling as though we don’t have enough time. You can see the danger of adding gym 7x/week, volunteering 4x/week, making lunch 5x/week, traveling 3x/month, and learning 2 new languages to your plate.

2015 is yours for the taking, make it worth celebrating a year from today.

The Secret to Hearing, “We’d Love To Have You Again”

As planners, you are accustomed to offering your advice, tricks of the trade and even horror stories of events gone wrong. However, it’s not as common to ask the venue, “how was that for you?”

Event coordinators and managers play key roles for meetings and events planners, as they often act asScreen Shot 2014-12-27 at 3.53.21 PM the bridge contact between a planner’s blueprint and the event day-of. Here are three ways to make sure your next event pleases all parties:

1. Keep it simple

Clear communication makes all the difference, says Alaina Battaglia, event services coordinator of McNamara Alumni Center. After working with many clients at the popular Twin Cities venue, she explains, “If you bring too many people into the planning process it can get very confusing. As a result, when event day comes, there may be a question that only one person can answer and they aren’t always in attendance.”

Having a go-to communicator for the venue can ensure seamless day-of execution. Battaglia says what forms of communication used depend on the type of event. The larger and more specific the event, the better it is to meet in person throughout the planning process.

2. Skip surprises

Although it may seem obvious, what better place to meet than at the venue? Even if you initially visited the venue, it helps to visit once additional details have been decided. You may have made initial decisions about the placement of event attributes, like the silent auction, upon visiting, but if you’re going to change your mind, it’s better to do it a month before, than an hour.

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 3.59.20 PMIncreased communication and organization helps keep surprises at bay as well, Battaglia explains, “the more prepared a planner is, the easier it is to create their vision. If they have a timeline for the meeting or event, sharing that with the venue staff can help ensure breakout sessions or other plans run smoothly.”

3. Easy as humble pie

In times of stress and “all hands on deck” involvement, we often forget the roles of those around us. This proves beneficial for team members who are able to support one another by accepting new responsibilities. However, when it comes to the staff of the venue, these obligations shift. There are ways to collaborate with venue staff while still respecting their interests and responsibilities.

Recently at the FIVE Event Center in Uptown, I was with the event planner as she was complimented for asking and obeying the Center’s policies. Taking the time to find out where they would prefer eating to take place, or what guests can bring in, shows that you respect the venue, recognize them as a key player in the event, and value their stake in the its success.

Give Not Get

At some point in the holiday season, despite all the decorations and upbeat music, it’s not uncommon for many to think I hate this. 

The crowded stores, searching for that perfect gift, and the stress of planning can set in for even the most spirited souls. Although there aren’t too many ways to fix this, we can avoid it.

Focusing on gifts that stray away from the material may be the key to putting the happy back in the holidays-

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 6.03.42 PM1. Fair Enough- Make your purchases count with sites like Ten Thousand Villages, which celebrate community arts and handmade goods while being completely Fair Trade. Items like this Mosaic Menorah ensure that every gift will be one of a kind and one to remember.

2. Wear it on your sleeve- Although Alex and Ani bracelets may be all the rage, Bead for Life allows you to support Ugandan women that make jewelry in their community. If sustainable jobs aren’t enough, the beads are easy on the environment as well!

3. Make it an experience– Skip the box and say it with a dayyoga coupon on the calendar. In an age of busy and busier, taking time of out your schedule is much more meaningful than taking your card out of your wallet. I’ve done this with special yoga classes with my mom, sushi dinners with my sister, and concert tickets for my parents’ 30th anniversary.

4. Cheers to that- turn beer to food, and food to good. Yes, with Finnegans beer you can support the Finnegans Community Fund, which purchases fresh produce from local farms. They then donate the produce to food shelves, giving meals to those who need it most. College kids, rejoice!

5. Share your light- As a candle-enthusiast, these are some of my favorites. Man-Cans are candles that are made in soup cans, after the soup is donated to a local food bank. The scents are targeted towards men, but don’t worry, they also have a line of SheCans. These add inspirational words below the label, like She Can Be fearless, which you can match to the receiver of this wonderful gift.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays!