Our calendar was introduced in 1582 but was not widely adopted throughout Europe and beyond until the eighteenth century. Even now we have complex rules to align our timekeeping with the natural passing of seasons. Calendars are a human construct, but they do provide us with a beginning and end of days, weeks, months, and years. January 1, the official start of the western new year, is a chance to shed the old and consider fresh starts. I challenge you to finally start those things that will make you happier and more successful in 2017.
A new year is a great opportunity to change health habits. They don’t have to be big changes like the traditional resolutions that many people don’t keep; small changes practiced consistently add up to big changes. Good health is essential for concentration and clear thinking. My goal in 2017 is to train more on my bicycle to prepare for long rides. I generally get to the last few miles of an organized ride and wish I had trained more because I feel like I am done before the ride is over. This is the year that I finish strong. A fresh commitment to train coupled with small changes in my routine will make a big difference.
Perhaps 2017 is the year to sign up for that class you have been meaning to take or get that certification, or maybe even start or complete an undergraduate or graduate program. Our AIM students are an incredible group who consistently balance school, family, and work. I know it is not easy, but at some point they committed to that new direction to enhance their lives and their careers. That commitment will not only aid them in the future, but may give them insights to help them in their current jobs.
I am challenging myself in 2017 to teach better than ever. That means I will need to prepare more, just as in cycling, and to expand my knowledge through training and research. I challenge you to find time for your own new direction in learning.
I believe that we all have choices in how we live and what we do to improve ourselves. We can put off making changes for another day or week or year, or we can choose to start today. We can either react to the world around us, or we can change our environment and ourselves. The opportunity, responsibility, and choice lies with us. I am responsible for the change I want to see in my world.
These are not necessarily new ideas and perhaps I have read too many self-help books over the years, but I do believe that whether it is January 1 or July 15 it’s always a good time to take that first step. Take stock of where you want to be in the future and take the first small step towards that goal. Let me know what steps you are going to take in 2017 to make this your best year yet.
Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.