What’s Your 20?


s I write this post, we’re rounding out 2019 and moving into 2020.  For many of us, January 1 has become synonymous with transformation – the pressure of New Year’s resolutions means this is the time of year when every gym is suddenly packed; grocery bags are chock full of vegetables; we become engrossed in new hobbies and self-care; and we all make internal promises to be better, kinder, and more responsible.

Alteristic is not immune to this spirit of change and transformation. In fact, this past week, Alteristic staff gathered in Springfield, Virginia for our annual retreat. We flew in from across the country to spend four full days together, connecting and doing a deep dive into our work and our mission.  This year, our focus was on the future, and we did some serious thinking on what 2020 will look like for Alteristic. The retreat theme and our guiding question was: What’s your 20 (i.e., “Where are you?”)?  We assessed where we are now, and where we wanted to go. We individually and collectively considered how we can continue to build and grow as we strive to create a world free from violence.

I invite everyone reading this to consider the same question: What’s your 20? Where are you now and where do you want to go over the next year? Think about how you can continue to build and to grow as you create a school, campus, community, installation, or workplace that is free from harm. Then, make a resolution for the new year.  We know that if you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you’ve already made important contributions to the world of violence prevention. Yet, as we enter a new decade, we also know there are still far too many people being harmed. So, in 2020, how do you take your work to the next level and ramp up your impact?

This is a really important question, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. So, let’s address the elephant in the room: the problem with New Year’s resolutions is that we’re not great at sticking to them! One study suggeststhat around 80% of resolutions are abandoned by mid-February.  Since we don’t want to stick violence prevention in the closet on February 15 along with unused gym shoes, food prep containers, and knitting needles, how can we make a commitment that will last through 2020 and beyond?  To make a change that lasts, consider the following:

  • What’s a commitment you can make that feels realistic and manageable within your life right now?
  • What can you commit to doing reactively when you see something concerning, and what can you do proactively to communicate your values?
  • What do you hope for in 2020, and what can you do to create this vision of the future?
  • What specific action steps can you commit to doing on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to make this vision a reality?
  • How can you hold yourself accountable for your commitment?
  • How can you convince your friends, family, or community to join and support you?

Where you are now is only a starting point. A resolution is about where you want to get. So, as we step into a new decade, let’s make 2020 the year where we each build on the amazing work we’ve already done, and continue creating the world we envision!

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