As we’re now into the New Year, it’s time for two things. One, I wish you all a healthy, happy, and successful 2022. Rainmakers, you may be ahead of the game in the successful part. But are you healthy and happy? This leads me to number two. It’s time for New Year’s resolutions. If you’re not happy and healthy, resolve to change that.
It may be time to think of yourself as an elite athlete. Elite athletes get paid to perform at their maximum every single game. This is also true for rainmakers. Clients are paying you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars per hour. They deserve the best you have to offer. When you are in peak physical and mental condition, you can serve your clients better and feel better doing it. So, in 2022, think and act like an elite athlete.
In researching the habits of elite athletes, I found some commonalities. Virtually all of them say to maximize mental and physical performance, athletes should:
Sleep more hours
Most studies show that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep to function at their best. So, as a busy lawyer, if you’re not even close to getting enough sleep, make this a priority. This may sound impossible with your busy schedule and workload. Therefore, try doing it in small increments. Start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier for a while. Once you master this, add another 15 minutes until you get a little closer to the ideal number of hours you would like to be sleeping. .
Follow good sleep hygiene
What is good sleep hygiene? Basically, it is having a comfortable environment for sleeping combined with daily routines that will allow you to sleep better at night. Avoiding caffeine late in the day, turning off all electronic devices at the same time every day, and not eating large meals in the evening can help improve sleep hygiene. As far as a more conducive setting for better sleep – think about having more comfortable bedding, reducing noise, and making sure your room temperature is comfortable.
Focus on nutrition
What you put into your body determines how it will function. Super busy people sometimes do not take the time to eat properly – it is just easier to grab something quickly. Take the time, you will feel and perform better. I read that carbohydrates account for 70% of an elite athlete’s diet. Athletes need this high level of energy to perform. For lawyers, who sit at a desk most of the day, eating simple carbohydrates may be a bad idea. Focus on the types of carbs. Have more fruits and vegetables and less pasta and bread.
Drink plenty of water
Virtually all experts will tell you to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. If you are not drinking enough water, start bringing it to the office. Buy a water bottle you really like and keep it out on your desk and filled throughout the day. Try having water instead of that 4th cup of coffee. This will keep you hydrated and help with your sleep hygiene.
I saw a recent New York Times article about a study on the effectiveness of meditation on professional athletes. The study found that football players who meditated for 12 minutes per day had less mental strain and more focus and mental resilience over football players who did not meditate. 12 minutes, that is a .2 of time in your world. Think about it – you could be better for your clients and have an advantage over your competitors for just .2 hours per day. If you can’t fit in 12 minutes, start with 1 minute. It’s all about starting somewhere.
Have some fun
A healthier life is a balanced life. So, make time for yourself and have a little fun. This gives your body and mind some recovery time. Read a book, take in a movie, play a round of golf, paint, whatever it is that you enjoy. Successful lawyers have so many client demands and stress. These high levels of performance that are required of rainmakers cannot be sustained without recovery time. We all know that burn-out is a real problem in the legal profession. Do not fall victim to it.
Obviously you can join a gym and go to it every day. This may not be realistic for a variety of reasons. However, there are plenty of other options. Some of those options include taking a walk during the day, physically going to a colleague’s office rather than sending that email, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. There is so much technology available to help you stay on course. Buying a Fitbit and doing your daily 10,000 steps may be a first good step – only 9999 more to go.
Surround yourself with positive people
There is nothing more mentally debilitating than being constantly surrounded by negativity. Whining, grumpiness, and complaining can be contagious. Being around positive people brings energy, productivity, collaboration and just makes for a better existence. Aim to be more positive yourself and try to seek out the company of people that keep you feeling positive.
As a successful lawyer, you should consider adopting some of these habits of elite athletes as your New Year’s resolution. However, if you cannot take care of yourself properly because of your work situation, it may be time to explore other options.
For those who read my blog or LinkedIn posts, you know how I feel – Successful lawyers deserve to be happy too! I genuinely believe this. Unfortunately, there are far too many unhappy lawyers for many reasons. For those of you who do not enjoy the practice of law anymore, perhaps you should resolve to take your skills to another profession. Or resolve to find a way to reignite your passion for lawyering through a coach or other methods.
On the other hand, you may love being a lawyer but you’re still unhappy. Are any of the following the reason for your unhappiness?
- Too much work with no support or end in sight.
- No time for a personal life or your family.
- Lack of confidence or philosophical differences with management.
- Not having a voice in the current firm.
- Unfair compensation system.
- Firm culture does not align with your values.
- Lack of flexibility with billing rates, staffing, etc.
If any of the above causes you unhappiness with no solution, perhaps you should resolve to move on to another law firm. Every time you decide to accept the status quo and remain unhappy, you choose unhappiness for everyone else in your life. It does not have to be this way. Let me help you find a new law firm that will make you happier. It will also improve the lives of your clients, family, coworkers, and friends.
My Personal Tip
I love smoothies, they make me feel healthy and happy. I found a particular recipe that tastes good and gives me a boost of energy when I need it – usually between meals. It also stops me from snacking on junk food. Here is the recipe – give it a try and let me know what you think.
- ½ to ⅔ greens, such as frozen spinach or frozen kale – frozen is easier to store and works better than fresh
- ⅓ to ½ fruit such as fresh yellow mango or banana, or 1/2 a frozen banana or handful of frozen pineapple chunks
Note: Feel free to substitute any fruits or greens that you prefer or replace the water with yogurt or milk.
When blended, this tastes like a delicious slushie, and the bright green color makes me feel like I’m getting lots of vitamins, which I am!
Make 2022 Your Year
If even keeping all of these New Year resolutions won’t help, let’s find your exact right perfect fit law firm that will allow you to be healthier and happier. There is no reason to let another year pass without the change you need. Let’s schedule a call to explore your options.
We wish you a healthy, happy, and successful 2022!