New Year's resolutions are always an effective exercise, and maybe someday one will hit the mark. In the meantime, isn't there a more practical way to plan the year ahead with optimism and a dose of reality?
Sure there is. Guaranteeing self-improvement in the year ahead is as easy as answering this simple question: How do you hope to make a new you in the new year?
Here's what our guests this month had to say.
Executive director of the Bakersfield College Foundation
While the beginning of a new year is a natural time for self-reflection and looking ahead, I’m not much for making a New Year’s resolution every single year. In fact, these days I’m continuing to work on what has turned out to be a multiyear goal or, more accurately, a life goal.
A few years ago, I set out to develop more of a growth mindset, which means there is a belief that intelligence and talent and other key qualities can be developed. I wanted to be more willing to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted to take on new opportunities. I wanted to embrace new challenges. But those things didn’t come naturally to me. Over time, I discovered that one step leads to another, and that it is possible to change your mindset.
Making a paradigm shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset can be a challenge in and of itself; I still have to be self-aware and pretty deliberate about it. The rewards, though, can be tremendous! For me, it’s led to a job change, a master’s degree and new hobbies, too! For example, last year I fell in love with pickleball, and I started taking classes in a new language.
Who knows what next year will hold? I do know that I’ll continue to flex that growth mindset “muscle” (and hone my pickleball game and my German skills, too). I can’t wait to see what new adventures will come my way!
CEO of Bynum Inc.
While the new calendar year is a good time to take stock and self-reflect, I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions. Most studies show they usually don’t work out.
Self-improvement should be a constant process, not something we put some effort into once a year. I try to be honest with myself about whether or not I am ready to make a big move to accomplish a goal, and if the stars aren’t aligned on Jan. 1, I don’t try to force myself into making a move I’m not ready to make.
When I do feel ready, I try to remember the awesome capacity that humans have to change, learn, grow. I like to set a lofty goal, educate myself on the best way to accomplish it, start today and don’t quit. Last year I got my private pilot license. It was fun and challenging and engaged me mentally and physically. I made new friends, learned a lot and gained a new skill and perspective on life.
As a general guideline for continued improvement, I try to keep the good and get rid of the bad. Habits, friends, clients, underwear … I really apply that concept to so many areas of life and improve in that way. I fight for what and who is important and I’m not afraid to let go of what isn’t.
I also check my moral compass often. For me that means analyzing my decisions through the lens of Christ’s teachings and the Judeo-Christian ethic.
Assistant executive director of the Housing Authority of the County of Kern
As we reach the end of the year, I find myself thinking about how quickly it flew by. The regular business of life allows the days to slip into weeks and the weeks into months. Before you know, the year has come and gone.
The new version of myself wants to be present in every moment, not “business as usual.” With the new year, I am determined to focus on the here and now. Hopefully, find the pause button from time to time and relish in the fleeting interactions that turn into cherished memories. This year, I will not be distracted by the commotion that life can bring. Rather, focus on the big moments and truly be present in each one. Here is to a fantastic new year full of endless opportunities for all.
President of Patriots of Kern
I’m reminded that virtually nobody cares about what we think about making a new me in the new year. With that reality out of the way, there are a few things I would like to accomplish in 2023. Those are: spend more time with our newest grandson, Brody Rucker Billings, born Dec. 5, 2022; care even less about what my detractors say or think of my words and actions; and finally, encourage my wife, Cheryl, in her hobby as a potter, meaning stay positive about the dozens of handmade pottery pieces occupying nearly every horizontal flat surface in our home.
Some of my wishes for the new year involve the actions of others, like “Learn how to drive, people.” Also, how about quit playing the Sacramento and Washington, D.C., “Gotcha Game” where the group in power wastes inordinate amounts of time slapping their political opponents, and actually accomplish things of meaning to everyday Americans? Here’s a suggestion for starters: How about finally build a damn new VA medical clinic in Bakersfield? It’s only been "in the works" for nearly 15 years, while new VA clinics are opening in places like San Antonio, Santa Rosa, Ventura and Portland, Maine, to name a few.
One item that requires little effort on my part to make a new me this year is to read the comics in The Bakersfield Californian more consistently, which brings me to my biggest point.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one else does.
Angel J. Cottrell
Program manager at Entrepreneurship Resource Centers
I hope to make a new me in the new year by choosing to live one of my life’s mottos more fully. This motto is: Create and experience the greatest versions of my grandest visions in all areas of my life. I utilize this motto when designing and teaching programs for entrepreneurial students, with my coaching clients when I participate in community initiatives, and when I support my friends and family.
Yet, at times, I forget to check in on my own creations and experiences. Am I creating and experiencing the greatest versions of my grandest visions? So, in 2023, I commit to carving out time to reflect on my own creations and experiences.
Am I being and experiencing the best in all that I am and I do? My hope is that in my reflection, I can acknowledge that, yes, I am creating and experiencing the greatest versions of my grandest visions more often than not. My hope for each of you is that you commit to creating and experiencing the greatest versions of your grandest visions for your life. In 2023, may your future be so bright you need shades.
President of Olivieri Commercial Group
2023 will be the beginning of big changes in our organizations and business operations. Our goal is to commence with transitioning me out of daily operational oversight and passing these responsibilities to key partners in our companies. I expect the process to take a few years, but we are currently engaged in an intensive strategic planning program that will enable me to make this transition possible.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Olivieri Commercial Group, an achievement we are very proud of.
Throughout these years, we have been extremely fortunate to expand our primary business of commercial real estate brokerage into commercial development, investments and property management. We have grown into a vertically integrated organization that allows us to be fully invested in all aspects of our industry.
2023 will be a year of a renewed focus, investing in our human capital, our team and partners to ensure that, as the handoff of daily responsibilities evolves, they are equipped to embrace the challenges and thrive.
It is by having a great team of people in our organizations that I can take this step, which includes our two adult children. My wife and I are beyond excited to witness their growth and development in our business. It is exciting to see what the future holds!
So, the new “me” in 2023 will be putting energy and attention into this transition while continuing to grow our business interest locally and in new markets.
President of the Bakersfield Association of Realtors
Although setting goals has always been a top to-do for most New Year's resolutions, I want to be sure to always keep those goals that I set as top of mind by making sure that I revisit my list of goals daily or at the very least weekly.
I think that keeping your goals front and center throughout the year will keep you focused on what is most important and prevent you from getting bogged down by unimportant tasks that seem to only consume valuable time that should be used on activities that get you closer to your goals.
I certainly have been guilty in years past of veering off course from time to time because of getting engulfed in the day-to-day routines. So, to keep myself on the right path, I think this next year I will prominently display my list of goals in a place where I see them daily, maybe have my list laminated and atop my desk, or framed and on my desk. Daily reaffirmation is the key to accomplishing my next year's goals.
Happy New Year!
President and CEO of the Kern Community Foundation
I’m so excited for 2023 — it’s time to kick life into high gear and maximize positive impact.
This year will be a new phase for my family and me. I just finished my MBA at Cal State Bakersfield and have one year under my belt leading the Kern Community Foundation.
In 2023, I will develop more leadership skills and professional expertise to better manage my organization. To stay healthy and strong as I navigate my 40s, I will rededicate myself to my fitness and nutrition. To be a better husband, father and manager, I will listen more than I speak. At the end of 2023, I hope my friends, family and professional colleagues will look back at a successful year. If I am part of that success, I will have had a great year.
Managing partner at Sage Equities
What does it look like to transform Eastchester into a truly 24-hour pocket of downtown with more than 200 units of new multifamily housing and thriving businesses on every corner? What if other cities consider this six-block radius a case study that informs how to turn around underdog urban areas across the country?
What if my daughter (currently 10 months old) grows into a strong woman like the heroines I read about in classic literature? How about if my two sons (now 5 and 3) were teenage best friends planning summer trips together? How would it look to have a house full of joyous children, all independent and grown up but still seeking the counsel and security of their parents and home? What if they were proud to hear stories of our business and our developments, the origins of 17th Place Townhomes, The Cue, 918 and Cléo?
These are the dreams that fill my mind at the end of 2022.
Truth be told, none of this will happen in 2023. Also, not one of these goals will be achieved without unwavering commitment. I hope to fully embrace the notion that hard is good. That the level of friction is directly reflective of the value of our ambition. Nothing important ever comes to those who practice short-range thinking with short-term goals. And the beautiful bit here is that if the job were easy, we wouldn’t derive so much satisfaction from it. Cheers to taking incremental, intentional steps toward worthwhile goals.
Owner of 2nd Phase Brewing
It’s definitely been an interesting adventure since I opened my business in 2020. One of my biggest goals coming into the new year is to continue to stay positive and continue the drive for bettering downtown Bakersfield. Life is always changing and heading into those changes being positive is the key. Definitely does help a bit with a glass of beer in your hand!
Director of public affairs at Aera Energy LLC
The last few years have shown us that life can be hard, sometimes messy and end unexpectedly. For me, the past few years have also brought times of deep reflection and introspection around what brings meaning to my life and how I want to live this life going forward.
I see the “new me” as an evolution of my current self, shaped by my introspection. The “new me” will live with a deeper commitment to intent and purpose — to live life with gratitude and a focus on my own well-being and the well-being of others.
I will be fully present with family and friends; strive to live with greater work/life balance; create joy where and how I can for myself and others; rebuild and nurture relationships I’ve let languish because I was always “too busy;” slow down and live each day with more wonder and curiosity; push myself to explore and try new and different things; look for reasons to celebrate life, both the big and little things; look for the good in others and look for good I could be doing around me; and I will lift others up in what’s important to them.
When I look at how I want to live my life tomorrow and beyond, I see it as a journey that begins today.