Decemebr 31 message
Good Morning and Happy New Year: I hope all of you are having a nice Holiday season. A few things to share in this final blog of 2009:
Extension Committee meetings: The First quarter Extension Meetings have been scheduled as follows. Please reserve the meeting room and send out a meeting notice from your county office to your committee members prior to the meeting.
January 11 Kandiyohi 12:00 noon
January 11 Chippewa 5:00 p.m.
January 11 Lincoln 7:30 p.m.
January 19 Lac qui Parle 4:30 p.m.
January 21 Yellow Med. 7:00 p.m.
February 4 Redwood 4:00 p.m.
February 4 Lyon 7:00 p.m.
February 8 Renville 7:00 p.m.
New Year's resolutions: My family has always been big on making resolutions and predictions for the New Year. I think those New Year resolutions (or goals) are also pertinent for our work. For example, I have several resolutions for the offices in our region for 2010:
-Be more green in 2010. No, I'm not talking about 4H; I'm referring to our office practices. For example, at a time when the state is moving to less use of paper and copies, many of our county offices have increased their copy usage to 50,000 to 75,000 or more copies per year. This is straining our office operations budget at a time when we need to be fiscally frugal. And, many of our copy practices may be based on habit rather than what our customers expect. You can think of many other "green" practices like reducing energy use, unplugging phantom uses of electricity etc.
-Show programming to stake holder / decision makers. Many times when I meet with County Commissioners it is in because of a problem or issue, be it budget, staff etc. In 2010 we need to look for opportunities to show our programming to those stakeholders in the county that will be making decisions on our budgets, MOA's and our future. Several of our counties have done a great job of getting 4H participants in front of County Boards, Master Gardeners reporting on a project that benefited the County etc. We need to have more of that type of reporting.
-Look for Professional Improvement opportunities for our staffs. Like nearly every year, 2010 will be a year of change. We all will need to adapt our skills through new learning's to adapt to those changes. Whether it is dealing with new technology such as google apps or Office 2007, organizational structural changes, or changes resulting from budget challenges, we need to look for opportunities to learn. Hopefully, we can organize some staff development opportunities for Regional and County Support staff in 2010.
More on Resolutions: I get a weekly newsletter from a program I participate in with the YMCA. Today's newsletter has several good points relevant to today's blog discussion on resolutions:
5 Tips: How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions
Whatever you resolve to do differently in 2010, vow also to develop a strategy to make it happen. Otherwise, expect failure.
Whether it's to eat better, exercise more, or stop smoking - Before you commit to your New Year's resolution, take a look at what is motivating you to change.
Do you really want to make the change? We often resolve to change something that we truly have no intention of changing. This can serve to be counterproductive and provide us a sense of failure. It is important to consider what we need to do to change and evaluate how we will do it.
Here are five tips to help you keep your resolution:
1. When we resolve to change, it needs to come with a strategy to change. Simply saying you want to do something does not fuel the change. Consider the strategy and outline the process of change that is simple and realistic.
2. Keep resolutions to a minimum. Attempting to stop or start multiple things may serve to overwhelm you and prevent you from doing any of them. It makes good sense to keep change simple and to tackle one major change at a time. Having multiple resolutions may be too much for the brain to process and may make change difficult.
3. Develop accountability partners. Lock in someone who will support your change. For example, if your goal is to exercise, you might want to hire a trainer. A study at McMaster University found that people who are new to an exercise activity perform better when their goals are set by a fitness professional rather than by themselves.
4. Appreciate the changes you are attempting and reward yourself throughout the process. If you are keeping goals simple, you can appreciate exercising more or better eating.
5. Studies show stress can kill you, so attend to it. Many resolutions center around things we do to help us cope with stress, such as smoking, drinking or overeating. When we change the behaviors, we need a new plan to manage stress.
The process of thinking about change is critical to developing actual change. It is a process that is helpful no matter what time of year.
A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research in 2006 supports that notion. Researchers found that when people predict that they will do a socially good deed, such as recycling, the chances of them actually doing the good deed increases.
A quote: "A clear benefit of the self-prophecy technique is its simplicity: a question followed by a simple 'yes' or 'no' elicits behavioral change."
Have a safe and Happy New Year