In the month of December, I’m writing five essays on my New Year’s Resolutions that I’m committing to for 2017. Read the first essay on “More Art” and the second essay on “Do What I Said I Would… And Moreand stay tuned for one essay each on what I want to cultivate, give back, and my 2017 challenge goal. I encourage you to join me in reflecting on your goals for the New Year!

In this third of five essays, I’m focusing on what I want to cultivate in 2017.

For me, cultivation is all about preparing for and maintaining growth — both for things that already exist and for new things that I plan to create. Also, I like to think about cultivation pretty broadly — both in terms of things that need to physically grow, but also where I need to create temporal and brain space for future projects.

Here are the areas that I want to focus on cultivating in 2017:

Building community through podcasting. One of my favorite things to do is grow communities and connect people around topics and ideas where they have shared mutual interest. In 2016, podcasting became a great way to do this. Through the Research in Action podcast and through the You’ve Got This podcast, I’ve been able to build some great new relationships with guests and listeners. I’d like to continue to cultivate my podcast communities over the next year and to create some additional spaces on social media for people in those communities to connect not just with me, but with one another. To do this, I’m committing to establishing Facebook groups for both communities.

Refining my brand. Whenever you start putting out regular content, you begin to create a brand for yourself. This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot since I started podcasting and writing more regularly in 2016. It was also part of what led me to form an LLC this past year. In 2017, I want to spend some time thinking about how to simplify and narrow my brand so that I can get clear on what opportunities I want to participate in down the road. This will also allow me to cultivate space for projects later on and help me have a clearer idea of who my best partners and collaborators will be moving forward.

Growing my digital following. In 2016, I saw growth in my social media following and I started email lists to promote my book and to more easily share weekly essays with people who wanted to read my thoughts and ideas. In 2017, I would like to continue to cultivate these digital relationships so that I can learn more about what I can produce that’s helpful to others. While my social media following seems to grow pretty well on its own, I plan to do some research on email lists in 2017 to see how I can continue to promote that resource to the people who will find it interesting and useful.

Developing stronger habits. Although I’m someone who thrives with routine, I fell off the wagon in 2016 with some of the habits that I know are best for me to maintain peak productivity, health, and wellness. In particular, I need to get back to running on a regular basis, make sure that I stay hydrated, and eat more greens. I’d like to use 2017 to focus on developing these habits in ways that fit as easily as possible into my lifestyle. In 2015, I challenged myself to hit 10k steps, to drink 64 oz of water, and to eat a salad or drink a green smoothie every day and I it was one of my healthiest years to date — in 2017, I’m reestablishing that challenge. I’ll be tracking these goals daily to keep myself accountable.

To think on:

  • What do you want to cultivate in 2017?
  • In what areas of your life are you most hoping to see growth in 2017?