A Better You in ‘22

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By John Ricco

It’s that time of year. Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is here and we wonder where the year went.  Over the coming weeks many of us will take stock of our year assessing what went well, what did not and what we may want to change in the New Year – – revamping our vision for our personal and/or professional lives. The sports world is full of examples of athletes and coaches working to thrive, succeed and achieve a vision. Regardless of the time of year, here are three tips to help you ensure any changes you seek come to fruition.

1) In∙ten∙si∙ty: (noun) an extreme degree of strength, force, energy, or feeling

Once you’ve committed to a goal, go all-in, with intensity. Dre Baldwin, former professional basketball player, in his Dre All Day Podcast  likens intensity to discipline and prioritization.  Most of us are not likely to be in situation where we have six seconds to drive the court and drain a 3-point buzzer beater.  But, imagine you are at an airport with a brief layover, an important proposal that’s due in an hour, a laptop with 12% battery and no electrical outlets in sight. In such a scenario you’d act on that proposal with the same intensity needed to hit that buzzer beater. You would be relentless in getting the “I’s dotted and T’s crossed” before the deadline passed or your battery died.

Harness that same level of INTENSITY in whatever improvements you seek in 2022. 

2) Per∙sis∙tence: (noun) the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult

The reason most people fail to achieve their New Year’s resolutions is that they do not PERSIST.  Many people do not even give themselves a chance to succeed, quitting before their brain has had a chance to break the old habit they wish to escape. In his research, James Clear, author of the best-selling book: Atomic Habits, found while that the “rewiring” your brain needs to merely recognize the new patterns and practices you are trying to implement takes around 21 days. More importantly, it actually takes a minimum of 66 days before those new patterns can become a habit. In some cases, it can take upwards of 9 months for those patterns to become “automatic”. The persistence needed to get past the lengthy and uncertain time period needed to break an old habit or form a new one parallels the persistence needed by football running back who consistently slams into a wall of defensive lineman. Only a few possible outcomes can play out, most frequently he is either stopped in his tracks or manages to find a crease or bounce to the outside for a positive gain.  Regardless, when they hit that wall, successful backs keep driving their legs forward hoping for the latter. They PERSIST.   

Whatever improvements you seek in 2022 – PERSIST.  Whether you are on day one, week one, or month one, keep moving forward until you can break the old and create the new. 

3) Fo∙cus: (noun) a center of activity, attraction, or attention

Love him or hate him, University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban is the GOAT. Listen to any of his pre-game or post-game interviews and you will hear the word “focus” – a lot, but not in the way you might expect.  His focus is not the outcome, winning or losing.  He talks about focusing on the steps that lead to success – not success itself.

“There is no continuum for success. Focus on the progress not the results.”

“Becoming a champion is not easy.  It is done by focusing on what it takes to get there and not on getting there.”

“The more one emphasizes winning, the less he or she is able to concentrate on what actually causes success.”

These are all quotes attributed to Nick Saban and are great lessons on the type of focus needed to be successful in all aspects of life.  FOCUS on the steps needed to achieve success and the progress you make in doing so.  Just like the running back mentioned above.  He does not focus on the outcome of his run, he focuses on the things he needs to do to lead to success: staying balanced, securing the ball, and keeping his legs moving forward expecting it will lead to the outcome he desires.

There will undoubtedly be setbacks in your journey – FOCUS on your progress and steps needed to move forward and success will come.  

In sum, one you set your new vision, increased intensity, persistence and focus will help you achieve a Better You in ’22!


John Ricco, MPA, CAE

John has over twenty-five years’ experience in virtually all facets of association management. He is a former Chair of the Florida Society of Association Executives Board of Directors and in 2011 was recognized as their Executive Member of the Year. Fun Fact(s): John is a twin; outside of work he is a woodworking hobbyist and he also enjoys “all things outdoors”: kayaking, rucking/hiking, yard work, fishing and working out.

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