New Year's conservation or behavior change resolutions? | NAAEE
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New Year's conservation or behavior change resolutions?

Hello and early Happy New Year!

With some time off, I've been thinking about changes and adjustments that I can make in the new year to be more effective. Spending time with family (a stew of different personalities, interests, and motivations) has (re)highlighted the importance of communication as a foundation of all relationships. It's certainly an area where I can improve.

My goals are:

1. Active listening (link below): working to shut down my response reflex in a conversation, giving others the respect and time to communicate their ideas.

2. Social media skill improvement: I began my career before cellphones and laptops became essential and have been playing catch up every since. I need to invest more time to learn how people receive, process, and respond in these settings - and keep up to date with new insights.

3. Learn a second language: I love the mental challenge (and stress) that comes with learning a new skill and to be a better member of my community, hemisphere, and world, I'm setting a personal goal to learn conversational Spanish this year. Bird migration crosses political and language barriers and their conservation depends on building human relationships across these boundaries. Speaking each other's languages is an important foundation to these relationships.

Please share any recommendations for social media best practices and learning Spanish.

What goals do you have for professional growth this year?

If you already have a base knowledge of Spanish, Duolingo is a great free resource for advancing language learning. You might be able to learn from it if you don't know any Spanish yet, but when I tried using it to learn a new language (Italian), I didn't have that base knowledge of the alphabet pronunciation and grammar, which made it much more difficult. If you have the ability to, an in-person class would probably be most effective. This is what I took for 3 years, and it was so helpful!

As far as social media, that involves constant learning for everyone--not just those who haven't grown up with it ;) I usually read blog posts (found by searching Google) if there's something in particular I need help with. Best of luck!

I love all of these goals, Jason! What a wonderful year they'll make!

In the past I've enjoyed translating poems or Biblical texts as a form of language learning, although I agree with Elizabeth that in-person classes are the best.

For social media, I think the best strategy for individuals is persistence, but whatever you're persisting in should be joyful for you.

My goal is relatively simple: I'd like to pitch and publish a writing piece! Does anyone have tips on this? :-)

Great goals, Jason! And equally great suggestions from Elizabeth and Elisa. I'd second Duolingo as an app. I'd also recommend keeping an eye on your local community for in-person learning opportunities. Community colleges often offer continuing education courses, sometimes listed under "community education" or extension programs.

For social media, I myself am interested in the world of TikTok, so I'm "going in", at least initially, for the climate dialogue that's happening on the platform (https://www.canarymedia.com/articles/fun-stuff/friday-social-welcome-to-...). I figured aligning it with my interests would be a good entry point.

I'm still working on my professional goals for the new year, will report back soon :)

Thanks for all of the recommendations and sharing your goals. Duolingo it is! I may have to enlist my teenage daughter for the TikTok primer though - the continually evolving new platforms are hard to keep up with.

I love the active listening resolution, that's great for any loaded conservation topic we discuss, but also great for our personal lives as well.

I have tried and failed at the learning a new language/Duolingo, but clearly lots of people have had better luck than me. I think I need the incentive of going somewhere I can use it to inspire and that's not happening right now.

As far as social media, I think just taking the first step of making an account and seeing how other people use it is useful. I'm active on Facebook and Instagram, but am purely an observer on TikTok, but that's still useful.