New Year’s Resolutions

As the new year begins, many of us are making commitments to improve our lives. Often these will relate to better eating, to more sleep, to consistent exercise, and to other good, daily decisions that will lead to happier, healthier lives.

This year I’m also challenging myself to improve my social and technical well-being.

Beginning with COVID, many of us socially retreated to limited, known connections rather than risking in-person meetings with people who may not be protecting their physical health. That forced retreat — for more than two years — has led to an inertia of daily lifestyle that limits social connections. Thus, while I may be physically healthier by avoiding outside contacts, I know I’m also limiting my own growth, personally and emotionally. So, in 2024 I’ll start taking some risks and reconnecting with the world around me.

Compared to social growth, technical growth is even more challenging, even though I’m a self-described nerd. Over the years I’ve been reluctant to be an early adopter of new technologies. In the 1990s, cellphone/ blackberry devices; in the early 2000s, the reliance on Google and other search engines; in the 2010s, data-driven decision-making. Now comes AI.

If you are like me, each new advancement has come with a sense of loss. Cellphones robbed my downtime, when I could enjoy a book while traveling without continual interruption. Google robbed me of the value/insights of trading in knowledge: Who needs to hear what I might know when you can look it up yourself? Advanced analytic tools robbed me of the value of experience; as the world has grown more complex, there is better insight in gathering/analyzing data than in assuming my experience offers an accurate direction. And what will AI render inconsequential ? My communication skills? Quality of idea creation?

But I also know that lamenting what is lost can prevent one from recognizing what can be gained. Particularly after seeing each of these technologies become pervasive, I find no value in fighting against them — when leaning-in to them can offer interesting opportunities. So, for 2024 I’m leaning into AI. My friends Phaedra Boinodiris and Beth Rudden offer an excellent guide for the beginner, AI for the Rest of Us, which highlights AI’s opportunities and risks. With this guide in hand, I’m ready to explore the ways I can leverage, as well as control, how AI influences my life.

Those are my commitments to improve, in areas I believe will have the greatest positive impact. Do you have a good sense of your areas? Ask yourself where change can have the strongest impact on your physical, psychological, social well-being… your overall well-being? Better to commit the energy and resources to addressing these challenges than to experience the ongoing resource drain that comes from not facing them head-on!

New Year’s Resolutions was originally published in Horizon Performance on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.