This year was a strange year. COVID-19 kept us at home and made many of us sick – I had extended family members who caught COVID-19 and survived, thankfully.
As many of you know, my life revolves around my work as a professor of communication studies and communications management at McMaster University and my work as a consultant in the area of data-driven decision-making for public, private and not-for-profit clients. Recently, I took on the role of National Chief Accreditation Examiner for the Canadian Public Relations Society.
My life went from one where I spend a lot of time on the road, public speaking, consulting, etc. to one where I spend almost all my time at home. At first this was a little unnerving, and I started to feel antsy and anxious. This led me to commit to fitness and try to achieve one of my 2020 goals – get fit! In this, I actually (for the first time, I believe) I exceeded my 2020 New Year’s resolutions. I wanted to get down to 18% body fat and got down to 16%. I did 10,000 steps 275 out of 365 days during 2020. Toward the end of the year, I started a gentle weightlifting program called Happy Body.
I didn’t accomplish my goal of publishing my book, but I did publish two issues of the Journal of Professional Communication, bringing that resource for the applied communications professional community back to life after a long hiatus.
I did enhance my consulting business, working hard to start building a client list.
2021 New Year’s Resolutions
I start this year in an entirely new context, which appears to be becoming a new normal. This year my New Year’s Resolutions build upon last year’s.
- Take fitness and nutrition to a new level. I want to reach my new normal and then stay there. This means using calorie/nutrition logging tools to be very careful about what I eat within my whole-food, plant-based diet and committing to a formal set of habits in cardio and strength training. I have purchased a weight set, so I hope to do strength, agility and flexibility training every week, following the amazing Jerzy and Aniela Gregorek’s Happy Body Program, as well as doing some heavier work in my new rack. I hope to get my body fat % down from 16% to between 10-12% and then stay there. I also hope to get my cardio up to the point that I can run a quick, comfortable 10k and cycle 100k.
- Focus on research, writing, editing. I am going to finish two book manuscripts. One that I am working on with Martin Waxman on the impact of AI/DataSci and emerging tech such as VR/AR on professional communication and the creative professions. A second is a book on social media and strategy. I will continue to do empirical research through the McMaster Communication Metrics Research Lab (MCM-Lab) and put out at least two more issues of the Journal of Professional Communication.
- Expand my consulting business. Continue to grow my client base, expanding the group of people to whom I provide advice in the areas of data-driven strategy in communications, reputation management and internal communications. I will continue to develop my own IP, with a focus on communication strategy. I will continue to explore the areas of data-driven investor relations and financial communications, with a focus on the tech sector.
- Enhance Canada’s National Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) program. Public relations and communications management is a profession on the move. It is becoming further integrated with the other creative professions and profoundly influenced by evolving technologies and socio-cultural changes. I will work closely with my colleagues on the National Accreditation Council to continue to modernize, improve and broaden the APR program.
- Improve and expand my virtual teaching. COVID-19 showed me that virtual teaching can be very effective. I will continue to explore virtual teaching at McMaster University and in other venues.
- Spiritual progress. I will practice the fine arts of relaxation, concentration and meditation every day to increase my personal mastery, improve creativity and get the the projects mentioned in the previous five resolutions done more effectively. I will try to attend daily online service and do very brief daily scripture study.
I hope that I am able to achieve these resolutions. I will do my best!
I wish for you that you keep all of your resolutions and that everything is better for you in 365 days.
Finally, I wish you and yours a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year 2021.