As we move into 2024, it’s exciting to plan for the new year. We might wish for bigger projects, promotions, new skills, or even a new role. We can bring with us what worked in 2023 — and dedicate resources to fostering those successful habits.
But we can also look back at what didn’t serve us in 2023. Here’s what bad habits should leave behind to open up space for so much more in the new year.
1. Talking about diets in the office
Once you see how often diets come up at work, it’s impossible to un-see it. When we comment “Wow, I could never eat that many carbs” regarding our co-worker’s lunch, we’re talking about diets. When we say “Are you a drink-your-calories person or an eat-your-calories person?” we’re talking about diets. When we say “I’m going to take my afternoon walk so I can deserve my 3 pm treat,” we’re talking about diets. And what’s more: We’re talking about weight. These conversations have no business in the office.
Weight and diets are deeply personal — and they rarely actually impact each other. Your own relationship to your body and your weight is for you and you alone — you can’t assume that your coworkers want to lose weight or think of their bodies in the same way you do. And to create such a weight-obsessed environment is downright discriminatory. Most people have no ability to lose weight. Not everyone wants to lose weight. And no one — no one — has to perform the production of “I am a good person because I am dieting.”
Most people just want to do their work, eat their lunches, and live their lives. In 2024, let’s ditch the moralizing around food and weight and just let people live — and eat their desk lunches — in peace.
2. Putting your iMessage on your work computer
It’s convenient! It gives you the chance to keep up with your friends and family and break up an otherwise deeply boring workday. But it’s not worth the privacy invasion.
Your workplace likely has access to your iMessage if you’re using a work computer, so it’s really not a good idea to connect the two. Unless your texting history is entirely innocuous — meaning: zero profanity, jokes, or things you wouldn’t want your boss to know about you — you’re better off texting on your phone during your break.
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3. Using jargon that nobody can understand
With each year that passes, the language of business becomes more and more obtuse and incomprehensible. It’s a major issue: Communication in the workplace is critical for the well-being of just about every facet of the organization.
It’s tempting to pull out jargon to add weight to a conversation. But remember that your job is to connect with people: You want them to buy into your idea, you want them to sign onto to collaborate, you want them to be able to trust you, and you want them to be able to ask for help.
In 2024, let’s prioritize clear, frank communication with an emphasis on the human.
4. Slacking during meetings
Love it or hate it, Slack — or its peer chat programs — is here to stay. But nothing is more infuriating than when you’re trying to have an important meeting with someone and their eyes glaze over — they’re Slacking. It’s a communication tool that’s ruining communication. What’s to be done?!
There are several options, but the most obvious one is to simply snooze your notifications when you’re on a call. You can also start scheduling your meetings with five-minute buffers in between so you have time to catch up on Slacks and triage issues.
And when you’re in your meeting, keep your eyes up. If you can’t focus on your meeting-mate, reschedule it for a better time.
5. Asking people when they are going to have kids
Just! Don’t! Do! It!
It’s an understandable impulse: You see how wonderful and caring a coworker is and think they’d make a great parent. But you never know what’s going on in a coworker’s life, and when it comes to the decision to become a parent/trying to conceive, it’s deeply, deeply private.
You don’t know that someone hasn’t been trying for two years. You don’t know that someone isn’t deeply, deeply conflicted and struggling. You don’t know that your coworker isn’t dealing with a recent miscarriage. Resist the urge. Ditch the bad habit. If there’s news to share, you’ll hear it.