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Active Living By Design’s New Year’s Resolutions

By Sarah Moore on January 13th, 2016

With the flurry of New Year’s resolutions usually comes a corresponding pessimism: how soon until we break them? However, as we know from our work creating healthier communities, change takes time. A resolution doesn’t have to be a declaration about a change you’ll make today and keep, without exception, until next year. Instead, it can be the first step toward change—an invitation to family, friends and colleagues that asks for their support and patience as you navigate what is inevitably an unpredictable path.

Our team looked inward and outward to identify a few things that we resolve to do in 2016 to improve our work with local leaders, funders and communities. Some of us dreamed big. Some of us were practical. Some of us had more than one resolution. And some of us had to resolve to make a resolution in the first place (you’re not alone!). A few common themes arose:

Our Communities…

Rich Bell—“To find practical ways to move my work with communities further upstream—beyond policy and environments to inclusion and power, beyond health behavior to social inequality.”

Joanne Lee—“To find a new opportunity to contribute to building capacity in my own community.”

Tim Schwantes—“To have the moral courage to speak up to local issues where lack of access or inequalities are present.”

Risa Wilkerson— “To develop a new and innovative partnership which deeply supports healthy community leaders and tell more stories about the amazing community-level leadership taking place around the country.”


Phil Bors—“To be prepared before, present during and reflective after.”

Joanne Lee—“To be present and fully experience moments while balancing that with future thinking, multitasking and use of technology.”

Sarah Moore—“To embrace ‘monotasking.’ I can’t help but feel that the tendency to multitask reduces the quality of my work and saps my creative thinking.”

Mary Beth Powell—“To enhance my meeting facilitation skills by investigating professional development opportunities such as facilitation trainings or workshops that I can attend. Exploring additional ways to use this skill will improve the manner in which I work with communities on their strategic planning efforts and with their healthy community work in general.”

Tim SchwantesTo filter out the noise and concentrate on what’s most important. It is an election year, and ironically, it seems to bring out the worst in our country. We’ve become more divisive on many issues, and in the age of social media and constant ‘news,’ it can be hard to focus on what matters.”

Sarah Strunk—“To be a better steward of Stephen Covey’s Habit 5 (from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People): Seek first to understand, then to be understood. I think this is an important habit for anyone who strives to be an effective friend, partner, colleague or change agent. In the busyness of day-to-day life, it can be tempting to use skills such as evaluating, probing, advising or interpreting rather than listening. These are important and have a legitimate time and a place. But there really is no substitute for listening in order to deeply understand another person through his or her lens. So 2016 brings a commitment to being more intentional about this important practice.”

…and Our Relationship with Technology.

Casey Allred—“As the saying goes, ‘technology is the way of the future!’ My resolution for 2016 is to become savvier in the world of social media—to engage and follow current trends and hot topics.”

Rich Bell—“The more banal of my resolutions is to lower my resistance to routine administrative work and my reactivity when technology goes wrong.”

Julia Katz—“To learn to use technical software and communicate information in new ways.”

Sarah Moore—“I also resolve to be more intentional about carving out time for learning (e.g., resources, research and new technology), and then protecting that time.”

Have you made a resolution? Does your organization have a new approach to its work that you’re excited to launch this year? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter! We’ll share some of your inspiring thoughts in our newsletter later this month.

Happy New Year, everyone.


Sarah Moore


Artist and advocate for natural places.