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Hearing Loss, Performance Reviews and Being Happy: What We're Reading This Week

Jan. 12, 2024
A look at some news of note for safety professionals.

So much for not stressing in the new year. Kidding. I am way too anxious for that to be a resolution, because I’d last probably 30 seconds.

I am, however, trying to find ways to prevent my random thoughts, worries, fears, etc. from distracting me. I’ve started a new Note where I can brain dump all those reminders, such as buy more chia seeds and give a copy of our key to the neighbor in case of emergency.

It never ceases to amaze me how much those little tasks can weigh you down—or lift you up. I always get a burst of energy when I cross something off my to-do list. I placed a big task on the list and, realizing it would take me days to cross off that single item, decided to replace it with seven sub-goals. That way, I can feel like I’m making progress.

That’s the funny thing with progress. You can stick with a habit or routine for months or even over a year and not see any changes. It’s during those times where you have to put your faith in yourself and the journey. I’m in one of those times, but what I realized this week is that I’m enjoying the process, so much so that my initial end goal doesn’t matter.

I also decided to stop letting my prized possession, a Le Creuset braiser, sit on display (literally, it’s on a shelf) and used it to make dinner last night. I was extra careful with it—wooden spoons and washing with a gentle rag so as not to damage the enamel—but it brought me an unbelievable amount of joy.

We’re only in the second week of January, but maybe it’s not too late to add some new resolutions: break up big projects into more manageable goals, find ways to not let myself get distracted or derailed and look for ways to have more fun. Are you doing any resolutions for 2024? If so, let me know in the comments.

Until next time, stay safe, be well and enjoy life!

Hear This About Hearing Loss

Having to ask someone to repeat themselves is more than a social annoyance or embarrassment. Hearing loss has been associated with other health conditions, including dementia, and now an earlier death.  

A new study in The Lancet Healthy Longevity journal found there was a 24% lower risk of mortality for people who regularly use hearing aids regardless of other factors, such as age, ethnicity, income, education, medical history and degree of hearing loss.

Perhaps the most important takeaway from this article is that hearing loss is not something to accept.

Hearing loss should not be “counted as something related to (a) normal part of aging and there’s nothing that they need to do about it,” said Dr. Janet Choi, an assistant professor of clinical otolaryngology-head and neck surgery with the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine and an otolaryngologist with Keck Medicine of USC, to CNN. “There’ll be even more studies coming out that will show that hearing aids are helpful and they have positive impact. And we all know that at the end of the day, it really helps with patients’ communication and quality of life.”

I remember when a family member first got hearing aids and called me to say that after wearing them for 30 minutes they didn’t realize all the sounds they couldn’t hear. Their quality of life has improved immensely since getting hearing aids. If you or someone you know has trouble hearing, I hope this article will prompt a visit to an audiologist.

Read more here.  

Ace That Performance Review

It’s that time of year for many workers. (No, not tax season—yet.) It’s performance review time. Yay!

I’m not a huge fan of performance reviews, as I’ve never had one that led to big promotion or a raise. But, I’ve come to equate them with eating my peas: not terrible, not my favorite, but necessary, so let’s get it over with as quick as possible.

If you feel similarly, I encourage you to read career coach Marlo Lyon’s advice for writing an effective self-assessment. She encourages people to take a holistic approach when writing reviews. She also encourages you to focus on how your individual efforts influence the company as a whole. She even suggests you ask colleagues for feedback. Maybe that makes sense for you, but I don’t really want to prolong the process any longer than it already is.  

You know what’s best for you and what you ought to write in your own review, but I hope this provides some food for thought. As for me, I’ll have to wait until next year; my own performance review was due in December.

Read more here.

The Happiness Quiz

Gretchin Rubin knows a thing or two about happiness. Her best-selling memoir The Happiness Project details her year-long quest to be happy. She read the latest research, tried the tropes and recounted what worked and didn’t work. Now she’s putting us to the test. Well, sort of.

Rubin wrote an eight-question quiz to help us find the next new habit that will provide the biggest boost to our happiness, along with some resources for further exploration. She also offers us some advice and considerations to help us set ourselves up for success.

I took the quiz myself, and I must say it was tough to choose between two equally viable options. I suspect that’s because it’s possible to value and want more than one thing at once. It can be equally true that, over the next 12 months, you want to make “meaningful progress on a big undertaking” AND make “a new relationship or deepen an important relationship.”

Perhaps that’s the point: We must accept that we can’t do it all, so we have to be selective about where we invest more time, energy and attention into achieving specific goals to make our lives better. It’s like the saying “You can have it all, just not all at once.”

So, with 2024 a blank page of possibilities, what do you want to set out to accomplish? If you’re having trouble answering that question, I suggest you take Rubin’s quiz to help you narrow your focus and help you get to work.

Take the quiz here.

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