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Harvard Reveals 5 New Years Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

Harvard New Years Resolutions

You aren’t even a week into 2018 and are already regretting that gym membership, but, you still have time to refine how you want your year to look. Carmen Nobel at Harvard Business School Working Knowledge discussed some more “realistic” efforts you can take.

5 Harvard New Years Resolutions

“1. Resolution: To gain more respect at the office.”

One surprising tip Harvard Business School Working Knowledge reveals, with the help of research from Silvia Bellezza, Francesca Gino, and Anat Keinan, is that “funky” outfits, like eye-popping sneakers, can assert a level of confidence traditional outfits do not.

“As writer Dina Gerdeman explains, ‘The researchers found that observers viewed a nonconforming person to have a heightened status and more competence, particularly when they believed the person was aware of the established norm but deliberately chose to make a fashion statement by wearing a standout style. This person was often viewed as autonomous; confident enough to act independently and create his or her own rules.'”

Photo via Mr. Porter/Luca Campri

“2. Resolution: Work harder to meet the demands of a job where you’ve been failing to shine.”

If you aren’t sure the job you have, or the job you’re pursuing, is actually for you, head over to HBS business administration professor Robert Simons’ job optimization site. “Try it out to see if your job is offering a healthy mix of responsibility and support,” Nobel writes. “If the answer is no, then talk to your supervisor about creating a more-balanced job. If that’s not feasible, maybe it’s time to look for a new job.”

“3. Resolution: Score a job interview at your dream company.”

If you haven’t managed to secure a conversation with one of your dream organizations in 2017, maybe a few tweaks will help your odds in 2018. Nobel suggests one of the more obvious fixes: cleaning up your social media. HBS social science researcher Leslie K. John notes that, no matter how swiftly you may delete a photo from your online presence, even a glance can make a lasting impression—dubbed the “lasting impression of the temporary selfie,” which you can read about here.

“4. Resolution: Ace that job interview at your dream company.”

Anyone prepping for an upcoming job interview (MBA-related or not) needs to remember the importance of asking follow-up questions.

“‘Compared to those who do not ask many questions, people who do are better liked and learn more information from their conversation partners,’ says Alison Wood Brooks, assistant professor and Hellman Faculty Fellow at Harvard Business School, and co-author of the paper ‘It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: Question-Asking Increases Liking.'”

“‘It’s an easy-to-deploy strategy anyone can use to not only be perceived as more emotionally intelligent, but to actually be more emotionally intelligent as well,’ she says.”

Follow-up questions tend to help your odds during a job interview, according to HBS.

“5. Resolution: Increase productivity among your employees.”

Management-level employees should take note: your employees are less productive when you constantly watch over them.

“What’s more, the less you watch your employees, the more you’ll know what they’re doing,” Nobel says. “[HBS Assistant Professor of Business Administration Ethan] Bernstein calls this the Transparency Paradox. In short: Broad visibility of employees at work may induce secretive behavior, thus reducing real transparency, whereas boundaries may actually increase it.”

You can read the rest of Nobel’s column here.

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About the Author

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Matthew Korman

Matthew Korman is a writer on MetroMBA. Since graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism and political science, Matthew has worked as a music industry writer and promoter, a data analyst, and with numerous academic institutions. His works have appeared in publications such as NPR and Sports Illustrated.

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