2014Approximately 45% of us make New Year’s Resolutions according to research by the University of Scranton. Among the top ten resolutions for 2014 are:

  • stay fit and healthy,
  • spend less and save more,
  • learn something exciting, and
  • spend more time with family.

Good luck with that…

We all start with good intentions in January, but often lose momentum by the end of the month with only 8% of us achieving our resolution during the year. I admit to invariably occupying the category of the underperforming 92%.

Add ‘Digital’ to Your 2014 Resolutions

My resolutions for 2014? Well, because I’ve been so consistently unsuccessful in going to the gym on a regular basis, eating healthier, and achieving work/life nirvana, I don’t even go through the motions to establish formal ‘resolutions’ … I’d just disappoint myself.

But all hope is not lost. Instead of formal resolutions, I re-assess my online and social media habits at the beginning of the new year, and then I set goals to improve my business acumen, to broaden my perspectives, and to expand my network.

If you’re in the mood for digital / social self-improvement this new year, my recommendations for 2014 include:

1. Get a Better Class of Friends (Follow New People

Evaluate those who you are following in Twitter, those in your Google+ circles, or your friends in Facebook – are there any that you want to stop following as they createtwitter1 noise and clutter, rather than interest and value? Unfollow them, without guilt.

At the same time, I suggest you add three new people and three new topics to follow, in order to gain new insights and different perspectives.

To find new people/groups to follow, do a search on your favorite topic in your preferred social media platform, or get recommendations of new and interesting people to follow from your current trusted connections.

2. Salvage Your Reputation (Update Your Profiles

Many of us create a profile on LinkedIn, but most don’t go back to update it or interact with our network on a regular basis.

Update your professional profile with your latest career information, and be sure to include a professional photo, have a descriptive headline (it’s the first thing people look at), and include your summary and experience to tell your complete story.

While you’re at it, link your professional persona on LinkedIn to your Slideshare or YouTube account, show-off some of your recent work, connect with a few colleagues, and both give and ask for a couple of endorsements. And of course share updates and share often.

You should review and update your profile every 6 months (or sooner).

Here’s a great video showing how to ‘pimp’ your LinkedIn profile for maximum impact:

Oh, and if you have a profile on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Slideshare, Google+, about.me, or any other public social media site, it’s time to update those, too. Current title, location, employer, and a couple items of interest to show your personality or share your perspective.

3. Rekindle Old Flames (Engage with Former Colleagues)

Steer clear of your high school sweetheart, but do reach out to those colleagues and connections you know from a prior job. It can be as simple as saying ‘hello,’ sharing your latest exploits, or sending them a link to an article you like. You might even go further and meet for lunch.

It is important to continue to nurture your network of loose connections so you can leverage them (and they you) when the time and situation are right. This will pay future dividends, and it’s fun to re-connect on the path to creating opportunities for serendipity and shared value.

4. Clean-Up Your Room (Delete and Organize Mobile Apps

If you’re like most people, 80% of the time you spend on your mobile device is spent on apps – according to Flurry Analytics – however, we use only a small percentage of the apps we have. Why not get more productive and intentional: remove some of the apps you rarely use and find some new ones that look interesting, and start using them instead.

A word of caution on productivity drains: gaming apps remain the largest category of apps with 32% time spent, followed by Facebook at 18%. Be sure to search your favorite app store for news, productivity, business, or other apps that will add to, not distract from, productivity and value.

Personally, I recommend the Cisco app in both the Apple app store and the Android Marketplace. View the full set of Cisco apps.

Bonus #5: Stop Procrastinating (Get Started Now

I’ve already started taking my own advice, because I know that if I delay too long I’ll never quite get around to it. After all, January is almost history.

You can use these recommendations, or come up with your own, but I suggest you get started today – because the pace of life will inevitably overtake you sometime in the coming weeks. For bonus points, put a reminder in your calendar to review progress or revise your goals in 6 months.

What Are Your ‘Digital Resolutions’ for 2014? 

Share your plans for 2014 and your advice with us here in the comments below. In part, writing them down and sharing them publicly increase the likelihood that you’ll follow-through.  Also: I’m interested in hearing what you intend and what you recommend for a more productive digital journey in the months ahead.

Wherever you focus  your digital self-improvement program, best wishes for a happy and successful 2014!


Mark Yolton

Vice President of Digital

Cisco Marketing