Happy New Year: 2017 and 変更!





Akemashite Omedetōgozaimasu! Watashi wa heisei ni jū kyū-nen ga anata no tame ni idaina toshidearu koto o nozomimasu!

What a year 2016 has been! Lots of great memories, but also a lot I am glad will now become “the past”. And, as I mentioned on January 1st last year, I look back on the previous year and the results of my goal planning, and then choose a new theme or word to summarize the overall essence of what I plan to do in the coming year. Last year, I chose the Japanese word kakan (果敢: かかん): to be bold, determined, and/or resolute. There was much I wanted to create and achieve in 2016, so I endeavored to become a bold person (かかんな人), taking small, bolder steps each day until their cumulative effect made my goals happen.

This year I am once again drawing from the Japanese language for my yearly theme. 2017 will be about assessing what being bold in 2016 achieved, and how I can improve on the results. This of course means understanding failures, correcting mistakes and re-strategizing successful ventures to be even more successful ergo changing. Thus, my new word for 2017 is henkō (変更): change, or alteration. And attached to this word is an idea (which I learnt from social scientist B.J. Fogg) that I have found to be very useful in making positive change an easily forming habit: what is known as a crisp anchor.

As Fogg explains, when we open a sock drawer, for example, we always close it after we have achieved our goal of retrieving socks from a drawer. So our goal of getting socks comes with two habits: (1) getting socks and (2) closing the drawer. Number two is anchored to number one; the latter chained to the former, unconsciously and easily. A crisp anchor is also a great way to transition from one good habit to anther when we switch from one aspect of our life to the next. If for example you are changing careers, you can still anchor your time management habits to your new career, no matter how radical the change. If you are retiring, a work habit can still be anchored to a recreational habit without having to seemingly relearn this old habit anew. Essentially then, your habits can have their own habits!

So this year I am looking forward to a year of henkō: of becoming a renewed, expanded soul; better and wiser through self-analysis and change, and “crisp anchoring”. We have a full year ahead of us to do it, so I hope you will once again join me in another 365-day journey of growth.




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