Happy new year and Happy new decade!

With every new year, millions make pledges to themselves to renew, refresh, reshape, and rethink.   Of course, by February, the vast majority are forgotten – swallowed by the reality of our very busy lives.

Change – again

Change in organizations is extremely difficult because change in people is extremely difficult.  But we change.   Let’s also face the truth that we will need to handle more change in the future than we have in the past.  I can say that with confidence because of our history.   Humans have lived through a distinct pattern of increasing technological change at an increasing rate of change over the millennia.

I often ask groups in workshops to make a list of the greatest challenges they think their organizations will face in the coming 30 years.  I encourage you to think about this as well.  It is, of course, pretty easy to simply acknowledge that we have no idea what the next 30 years will hold.  Most of us are stretching to go out five years.

Some input from groups looking into the future

The one thing I consistently notice in these listing exercises is the tone of the group as they brainstorm.  In every case, the challenges that people list are problems, not opportunities. As such, there is a distinctly negative tone, as in “we dread having to face this coming problem”.  On an individual level, its often the same.  We promise ourselves that we’re going to lose 30 pounds, exercise every day, get a raise, or some other problem we know we’re going to dread when we come to face it.

From Negative to Positive

What would happen if we spun these more positively?  How would it change your attitude if instead of thinking about overcoming things you dread, you think about accomplishing something exciting?  Practically speaking, these could be the same things, but our attitude can help us stay on track or push us off track.  To me, the thought of having to get up every morning and work out is more dreadful than setting a goal to walk at least 2 half marathons every month.  I can promote my chances of success by scheduling and paying entry fees for those races, putting extra, reinforcing pressure on me to go exercise so they don’t kill me on race day.

You can also select a beautiful race venue as a reward for completing a goal you have yet to achieve.  Last year, in January, I entered two half marathons over the Lake Tahoe Marathon weekend in October.  I had knee replacement surgery on January 31, so the money I spent on the races motivated me to work harder during my recovery physical therapy and on long training walks before October.

Goals for 2020-2021

So here are some of my goals this year:

  • Over the next 2 years, complete a half marathon in all 50 states.  I’m thinking about adding the US territories like the Virgin Islands and Guam too, as well as all 7 Canadian Provinces.
  • Lose 6 pounds a month for the first 4 months of the year to get down to and maintain a target weight of 190 lbs.
  • Read more:  At least one book or book summary every month
  • Write more:  At least 2 blog posts a month and finish a new book on problem solving and get an article published in a reputable business journal like HBR.
  • Speak more:  At least one presentation a month, whether to a small group, or a large conference.

Tell me what you want to accomplish.  How are you going to challenge yourself in this new decade?