Resolutions for 2017: A thread of time, reflection and action

Posted by Chris Fowler on Jan 5, 2017 4:17:11 PM

In Company Culture, Lessons Learned, social movement

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I’m usually reluctant to make New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, until this year I had made good on my resolution in 2011 to never make them again.


Well, the times, they are a’changing. Here are eleven things I resolve to do (and in some cases, do more!) in 2017

1. Read more books - I do a lot of short-form reading, but commit to reading at least six new books this year. Which ones do you recommend?  

2. Eat better - I’ve been vegetarian for 18 months or so but still indulge with late night snacks and too many fried foods and rich cheeses. Cutting back on those will make me feel better. 

3. Spend more time with family and friends - My two daughters (10 and 6) are growing up, fast! I look forward to sharing more time and experiences with them and my incredible partner this coming year. 

4. Invest and engage in strong networks - I feel inspired and enlightened when I connect with people who are actively working to create more and better social change. In the coming year, I will engage more in three groups I belong to: the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network, the Transatlantic Core Group and (soon) the Global Diplomacy Lab.

5. Sleep/rest more - A lot of evidence shows that 7 - 8 hours of sleep per night is optimal for health and mental performance. I’m routinely coming up a bit short of that, which is something I’m committed to fixing this year.

6. Take time to reflect - All too often, I’m guilty of trying to get too many things packed into my calendar. This year, I commit to giving myself more time to reflect and process my experiences.


These first six are meant to help me be my best self, to help me be more present and aware. If I’m successful in those areas, I’ll be better able to do the following more effectively:

7. Teach and mentor - This year, I commit to mentoring two university students and give at least four talks at schools/conferences or more informal lunch-and-learns. 

8. Reach out and help - A number of vulnerable communities are in need of support. In 2017, I will look to find two new causes to actively support with my time, (modest) treasure and talent. Which do you support?

9. Unite people that should be working together - As a wise construction worker once said, “Good people find each other. Bad people get found out.” I hope to help more good people find each other this year.  

10. Motivate others - One lesson from this past year is that democracy is not a spectator sport. I hope to get others off the bench and engaged this year in civic actions. We have to build and maintain the kinds of communities and cities that we want to live in.

11. Prioritize action - Ben Franklin is reported to opine that, “Well done is better than well said.” And that couldn’t be more true. I believe 2017 will be a big year for action. And I’m ready to go.


I acknowledge that some of these things may be in conflict, so I’m fully prepared for 2017 to be as big of a balancing act as I’ve experienced in years past. But throughout 2017, I’ll do my best to keep those and other things in balance and #AlwaysBelieveInBetter. (Hat tip to my friend, Larry P Thomas for the hashtag.)