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Instead of asking about New Year resolutions, which are often fleeting, we asked people what actually worked for them in 2019. We loved these candid, often-surprising answers and we hope they will inspire you in 2020.

Soo Basu, Principal Design Manager, Microsoft

In 2019, I learnt to get help in areas that are not my core skills

This year my biggest win was learning to get professional help in areas that are not ‘core skills’ for a design leader. I learnt to get the right help and trust professionals to guide me, instead of winging it on my own.  Sometimes you need to work with the right pros to get the best results for you and your team.

Rema Chaudhary, Photographer 

In 2019, I allowed things to happen 

My lessons from this year have been to allow for things to happen. To put myself out there more often, because it’s not the end of the world. To not take everything so seriously and laugh at myself every once in a while. And most importantly, to do more personal work. Working on my first exhibit made me realise how important it is to constantly keep pushing your boundaries and reinventing yourself, so that’s what I’m hoping to do more of in 2020.

Jay Dutta, SVP & Head of Design, Make My Trip

In 2019, I found a mentor

Sounds weird because I am supposed to have a ton of experience – a long track record of trying, failing and getting up on my feet. And sometimes succeeding. But then everyone needs a mentor, whatever stage of life and work they are at. We all need someone from who has travelled further along our paths, who can candidly hold up the mirror. Not a boss, not a co-worker, not a spouse or best friend, but a mentor. For me, finding one was very hard, spending time with the person was harder as we were on two continents. And we never officially solidified the relation as a mentor-mentee. But a few zoom chats, a long drive along a beautiful African coastline in a retro Merc, talking about tough times and the things we sometimes face, was enough to give me a solid set of actionable takeaways for a year or two. Or at least until new frustrations, questions and doubts crop up. 

Raja Ganapathy, Founder, Spring Marketing Capital 

In 2019, I became an entrepreneur

2019 was the best year of my working life, because I started Spring. I learnt the value of working with two amazing partners – Arun and Vineet – as we built Spring Marketing Capital. I discovered the joy of building a team and always putting people over everything else. I realised how important goodwill is to create something new, as founders rallied around us. And I am still learning how to balance the ebbs and flows that come with every day of being an entrepreneur. 

Rohan Joshi, Standup Comedian

In 2019, I changed my alarm tone

I know how silly that sounds but it changed my life. I had a loud, blaring alarm tone earlier, like the emergency alarm on a ship. I’d always wake up with a start, my heart racing. This year I switched it to a gentle, pleasant sound, and now I wake up more peacefully, without my heart pounding, and that’s legit changed my mood over the course of the entire morning and day. It’s one of those tiny hacks that is life changing.

Tania Singh Khosla, Founder & Design Director, TSK Design 

In 2019, I took a leap into unknown territory  

Ideas about working with different materials have been brewing in my head and in my sketchbook for years. Finally, I took a leap of faith into completely unknown territory. It has been fantastic and humbling. I am a learner again and have opened myself to understanding completely new skills, techniques and materials. Collaboration is essential to this process. The ultimate leap of faith is when you design, direct and handover to those who craft and make. Excited to see what this will culminate in.

Lulu Raghavan, Managing Director, Landor 

In 2019, I experimented with productivity hacks and one stuck

This has been a year of hacks. I tried so many different things to see if it could make me more productive and more creative. One thing has really stuck. When I wake up in the morning, I resist looking at my phone for the first hour or two till I get my thinking/reading/reflecting done. This has been a game changer in terms of my ability to focus and concentrate on the task at hand without distractions. It has also vastly improved the quality of my output. I’m definitely finding more ways to put the phone away! 

Anant Rangaswami, Director, Melt 

In 2019, I consciously switched off and spent more time with family 

I spent more time in the last year with family and enjoyed every minute of it. To be able to do so, I had to plan my work schedule meticulously to ‘release’ that time in my diary. I found it a lot easier to do than I anticipated 

Ritviz, Musician

In 2019, I started cooking to restore myself

I faced a creative block in 2019. Experimenting with cooking helped me restore my balance and got me in the right frame of mind. The year has ended well – I’ve made new music, collaborated with new artists and got out of my comfort zone

Anshumani Ruddra, VP, Product, Social & Gaming, Hotstar

In 2019, the ritual of a poker game with friends reiterated one of life’s most important lessons

The ritual of a fortnightly / monthly poker game with friends has been the saving grace of 2019 in multiple ways. It has acted as a great stress buster and also facilitated social activity in an otherwise jam-packed schedule. It has reiterated one of life’s most important lessons: you can only control and improve the quality of your decision making. The quality of outcomes is not in your hands (hat tip to Annie Duke and her wonderful book – Thinking in Bets). Looking at life and work’s outcomes through a probabilistic lens (similar to poker) has helped me focus on the things that truly matter. Here’s to better decision making in 2020. 

Dhruv Saxena, Co-founder, Obvious

In 2019, we focused on community  

At Obvious, we have built a strong practice at the intersection of craft and context, but this year we realised it wasn’t enough and added another key ingredient –  community.  We gave 20 talks across 5 different countries. We published all our methods and practices in our open-source playbook. We ran women-first events for women in tech and design; we’re doubling down on this going forward. Our work on community has just begun, but we’re already seeing that it has made us more approachable for some exceptional talent from non-traditional backgrounds, that otherwise goes unnoticed 

Shradha Sharma, Founder, YourStory 

In 2019, I learnt to let go

 In 2019, I opened my eyes to the possibilities that exist when you let go. For the first time, I understood that letting up does not mean giving up. It is a conscious choice not to agonise over things that are not in my control. Instead, I chose to focus on things I can control and created a space for new beginnings and opportunities. 

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