As January draws to a close, I realize I had better engage in my annual ritual of coming up with New Year’s resolutions, before it’s too late…
This tradition is fueled by the renewed hope, the optimism, that I may be able to actually accomplish those things that will make me and my life better. This feeling is shared among many, as demonstrated by the millions who make these resolutions annually. Goals of losing weight, exercising, eating right, and quitting smoking, among countless others, have spawned 60+-million gym memberships in the US (worth almost $30 billion as of 2017), a $66+-billion US market for weight loss and dieting, and a potentially $21.8 billion global market for smoking cessation and nicotine de-addiction by 2024 (5 years from now). And a significant percentage of the above-cited revenue is generated at the beginning of the year, which supports the idea of these New Year’s resolutions being so powerful. As an example, one gym owner sees gym memberships go up 18% in January, which ends up being the highest month for memberships in the whole year.
As I began to make my list for this year, this idea of how powerful New Year’s resolutions could be was stuck in the back of my mind. With CNN in the background, I started to work through writing down what I would want to see at the end of the year. While the list started with personal goals, I found that it started to wander into the other things I’m involved in, things in the community, as I realized that doing those things brings me satisfaction and a sense of meaning. I thought about how fortunate I am to be doing things that I’m passionate about, and being able to help strengthen our community.
And so, with CNN reminding me of the craziness in Washington, friends who are affected by the partial government shutdown, and in general, the decline of the idea of what’s best for our country, my 2019 New Year’s resolution became clear…
Finding ways to strengthen our community.
Here in Milpitas, we can show how a diverse community can come together to tackle and solve challenges, which is what makes our community — our country — great. Our greatness is confirmed by the many who seek asylum in our country, the 585 billionaires in the US as of 2018, and our status as one of the most innovative countries (US is 6th in the 2018 global innovation index, which is why I dedicate my time to public education) in the world. It is in each community, by making a difference in each other’s lives, that we build that fabric. And it starts with being able to talk to each other, being open to new ideas, and being able to debate ideas with respect. By sharing diverse ideas with an open mind through respectful conversations, we can build and strengthen our own community, and thus the country, and thus the world.
Imagine how powerful that would be, if we all shared in the very same New Year’s resolution.
With this in mind, I’ve added this last resolution to my 2019 list: finding ways to encourage respectful community conversations.
And I hope that you will join me.