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Nsights on:  New Year’s Resolutions

Every year I see the same dynamic at my gym. The parking lot is jam packed in January and February. All the New Year’s “resolutioners” are working hard on their commitment to themselves with the start of good, healthy exercise habits. Classes are full to exercisers wearing brand new workout gear and there are actual waiting lines for the weights and cardio equipment.

By March, I can easily find a parking spot and I have plenty of space in the classes to do a burpee without hurting anyone or myself. As you can see, I’m not sold on the concept or practice of setting resolutions. It’s too easy to give up once you feel like you’ve failed.

For 12 years now, I’ve chosen a theme for my year over a single behavioral commitment. My first theme was “An Attitude of Gratitude” when I was pregnant with my daughter. There have been many themes related to less stress and more balance. In 2013, I chose “De-crapify!” and last year I continued that theme but made it more time bound with “365 Fewer Things.” I actually gave away, donated, or ditched over 400 items in my house that weren’t used, appreciated, or loved. That felt great!

For me, it’s a lot easier to have an overarching behavioral philosophy to guide my thinking and actions. Unlike a resolution, if I forget or slow down, I can easily jump back into it. Because I’m pretty public about it (keeps my toes to the fire you see), it’s been super fun to see others adopt the same practice.

Sometimes the theme comes to mind easily, other times it’s a stretch to think about what I want to focus on for an entire year. Around December, friends and colleagues start asking what my theme is and so, in turn, I’ll ask my friends what they’ve chosen. Last year I asked my good pal Anne Arseneau in December during a lunch date… obviously, Anne wasn’t quite ready to commit as I got a little finger-waggin’ to lay off!

This year I’ve felt the pressure. Nothing super-compelling came to mind. I really, really loved “de-crapify” because it helped me get rid of belongings, eat less junk, spend less time on Facebook, unsubscribe from email lists, and enjoy cleared out drawers and closets.

So, why refrain from a good thing? This year is my PINTEREST PURGE.

I love Pinterest.

Being a visual learner, I see interesting foods, outfits, inspirational quotes on cool posters, book titles, and I pin them with good intentions of cooking fabulous meals or maybe feeling like I have some sort of personal style. But, truth be told, I’m a Pinterest hoarder. I pin away but never create that cute craft out of Mason jars. I don’t bake those delicious looking and healthy carrot cake with cream cheese filled muffins. I don’t buy the mustard colored skirt… even though I have nine different photos of mustard skirts in varying lengths. I have 20 public boards with over 1000 pins. I actually have pins which have given me 98 ways to tie a scarf. Never mind that I only tie it three different ways.

This year I will bake that yummy bread. I will use, then delete the instructions for the cute home decorations. I will purge. Period.

 Stay tuned…


What would your theme be?

 If you looked at your behaviors from last year, what would others say was your behavioral theme?

A Mental Table Setter

CaptureThis is the introduction to a conference keynote speaker! At the recent American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Great Ideas Conference, board chair, Susan Neeley, introduced Alan Gregeman (left). His session’s title was so interesting… The Necessity of Strangers: New Insights for Unlocking the Brilliance in Yourself, Your Organization, and the World Around You.

I had the great experience of both presenting and just enjoying the conference as an attendee.

This presenter introduction was a great reminder of how we as trainers and educators, should thinking about preparing trainees for their learning experience. Hearing the table setter metaphor at the beginning really made me focus on the ways that other presenters started their 60-minute sessions.

A few practices I witnessed:

  • Sharing that 50% of the workshop would be instructor-led and 50% would be audience participation;
  • Jumping right in and not telling the participants what to expect at all;
  • Promising a specific number of ideas that would be gained and then small group conversation;
  • Empowering people with role-playing to learn a few coaching tactics – and asking people to be courageous and make mistakes in the safe zone of the learning environment; and
  • Providing a 5-minute snapshot of the entire session to make sure people knew the flow and what to expect throughout the program.

Those tactics really helped people engage… or vote with their feet and attend another program if it didn’t meet their learning styles or expectations.

All in all, the Great Ideas Conference is a good investment in networking and professional development. Thanks to the entire ASAE Team for their hard work to provide a terrific, rejuvenating conference in Orlando!

On a more personal note, the conference body recognized and thanked the ASAE Chief Learning Officer, Anne Blouin, for her years of executive leadership. It’s bittersweet to have a friend leave the association and the industry but it’s so wonderful to see her follow her passion of world-wide travel in her retirement! Kampai (cheers in Japanese) my friend!

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