New Year’s resolutions for entrepreneurs and professionals

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‘Modern social arrangements sap religious vitality,’ says Rabbi David Wolpe. ‘It is not good for a person to be alone.

What are positive, important and achievable New Year’s resolutions we can list down and endeavor to accomplish for a truly happy, healthy and fulfilling 2019?

Here are some I suggest we seriously try to achieve.

As with undertaking any business, profession, art, sport or even politics, why don’t we try applying the “carrot and stick” approach? I recommend that we add a list of rewards (for example: travel, spa massage, eating out at a nice restaurant, etc.) for accomplishing each item consistently for some weeks or months, and adding penalties for backsliding.

Seek good professional advisers. Whether it’s on business or personal taxes, accounting and investments, human resource (HR), legal issues, intellectual property and patent concerns, medical maintenance or dental care needs, let’s seek out experts to assist us in our business, professional, even family lives.

For health, do not self-medicate and do not avoid regular medical checkups.

For business, do not avoid getting a good external auditor to counter-check your own internal accounting and analyze your finances.

Do strategic planning. For companies, organizations and NGOs to entrepreneurs, professionals, housewives, overseas Filipino workers and students, let us plan for the whole year, the next five years, and also list down long-term plans and goals.

Read more books. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs here and around the world love to read; especially books, good newspapers, magazines, etc.

Various scientific studies have shown that reading books or news the traditional way on paper is much healthier for our eyes, our minds (due to better memory retention) and our physique (reading on paper can better induce us to sleep at night, while reading books and news digitally will awaken our consciousness even if our body is tired already).

Security audit and planning. Whatever the peace-and-order situation of our society, it is important for businesses, whether SMEs or big firms, to conduct regular audits of security risks and procedures.

Security is not safety from external threats like burglaries, theft, hijacking, kidnapping or other crimes against property and people, but we need to also beef up internal security controls and procedures using better technology (CCTVs, Internet, biometric identity systems, etc.).

Plan also contingency actions for any security problems or emergencies, as well as contact numbers with nearby hospitals and their emergency rooms (ERs), police, fire departments, Filipino-Chinese volunteer fire brigades, etc.

Unplug. Can we make at least our bedroom phone-free, gadget-free and also TV-free, so that we can detoxify at night from our global addiction to social media and the internet, and can have better and sufficient sleep every night?

Let us try to also lessen our distractions from gadgets and phones during meetings, while driving, dining with others, attending concerts or other important occasions.

Exercise at least three times a week. The respected cardiologist and Philippines angioplasty pioneer, medical board topnotcher Dr. Dy Bun Yok, told me that people should exercise at least three times a week for cardiovascular health.

Exercise is one of his top three tips he shared for taking care of your heart; the other two are watching our daily food intake by avoiding bad cholesterol and excessive fats, and avoiding cigarette smoke (worse is secondhand smoke from smokers!).

Lessen debt. Whether for business, personal finance or family welfare, having less and manageable debt is healthy. Taking on loans is okay for business expansion and personal investment, but do not waste borrowed funds on non-essential expenses!

Sleep sufficiently. I will sleep more every night to rest and recharge my body and mind and will no longer eat late at night or consume midnight snacks. I plan to start a daily healthy habit of taking a short nap of perhaps 20 minutes after lunch.

Review insurance and get adequate coverage. Get adequate fire, life, medical and other insurance, because the only thing certain in this world is nonstop change!

Allot time for family and friends. For some of us workaholics, the new year should remind us to relax a bit with time for family and friends. For singles, start a family, too!

How can you have more time for family, friends and leisure, which can all make us better entrepreneurs and professionals? One good way I can think of is to delegate more nitty-gritty work and supervisory details to others — trust them to do some of the work. Overworking all by yourself is also not good!

Go to church or temple. There’s more to life than just material possessions, business, and money. I believe we need to recharge ourselves spiritually by communing with our Creator at church or a temple at least once a week.

Why go to church and not just pray by ourselves at home or office? My friend, UCLA teacher and Los Angeles Sinai Temple Rabbi David Wolpe, wrote eloquently on the irreplaceable importance of being part of and contributing to a religious community.

One of the many important reasons to be part of a church or temple, he said, is “The third adversary to religion is the decline of genuine community and extended family. Modern social arrangements sap religious vitality. The Bible’s first statement about human nature has also been one of religion’s great appeals: ‘It is not good for a person to be alone (Gen 2:18).’ Faith communities enable powerful bonds of association. Even modern studies confirm unambiguously that nothing is more important to longevity and health than the quality of one’s relationships.”

Quit vices. List down one or more vices that harm you physically, emotionally, financially, and junk it cold turkey! For business or a profession, what part or parts of your enterprise do you truly need to stop? Do it!

Pray daily. Christians can learn from Muslims, who are required by their faith to pray five times a day facing Mecca. Why don’t we try to also start the habit of praying at least three or five times a day, like before the start of every meal (at least three times a day already), upon waking up and before sleeping?

Do exit planning. I once asked the late Metrobank Group/AXA Philippines/PSBank boss Dr. George SK Ty if it was possible for him to auction off his prized collection of Chinese contemporary art. I also asked the same question of JG Summit Holdings, Inc./Cebu Pacific Air founder John L. Gokongwei Jr. on selling off one of his many firms.

Both of them gave me a wise, pragmatic reply: “Everything is for sale, at the right price.”

Whether it’s succession planning, management and/or ownership control of a business, possible breakups of partnerships, the sale of a company or its merger with others, retirement, or death, it is important for us to sit down and strategize “exit planning.”

Wilson Lee Flores’ writings appear with permission on GoodNewsPilipinas.com Mondays.

(Wilson Lee Flores is a multiple award-winning writer, journalist, Kamuning Bakery artisanal breads savior, and Pandesal Forum moderator. This column was previously posted on his column in the Philippine Star. His “KuwentongPanadero” inspiring stories are found on Pilipino STAR Ngayon. Follow @wilsonleeflores on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.)

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