Exercise more! Learn a new skill! Travel more! Read more! Save money! These are a few of the top New Year’s resolutions and while motivation is strong for many during the first week of January, I can’t help but wonder how resolvers are progressing toward their 2019 goals, as we are nearing the end of January.
The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions dates back to around 46 BC when Julius Caesar established January 1st as the beginning of the new year. January derives its name from Janus, the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. He is typically depicted as having two faces, which symbolizes looking to the past and future. Today, approximately 40-50% of American adults participate in the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions, with only 8% successfully achieving their goals. So why is that?
Well, I would like to start by saying that behavior change is difficult, especially behaviors with a long history of reinforcement. Next, there are a few things to consider when evaluating why our New Year’s resolutions may be failing. For instance, how realistic is your goal? A person who has smoked a pack a day for the last 20 years is unlikely able to commit to quitting cold turkey come January 1. Something else to consider is how clear is each goal? A resolution to “exercise more” is ambiguous with no clear direction to be able to move forward. So consider making SMART goals to empower you to make meaningful and sustainable change:
Specific – State what you will do using action words with context
Measurable – Ensure you can evaluate progress using metrics or data targets
Achievable – Set the bar slightly above your current performance
Relevant – Decide if this goal will help you create a rich and meaningful life
Time-bound – State when you will achieve your goal by (be specific)
My original New Year’s resolution was that by June 1, 2019, I will lose 10 pounds with a reduced calorie diet and exercise at least 3x per week. However, I now need to reevaluate this goal since learning that I am pregnant with my first!
As Steven Hayes writes, “Things won’t be perfect right from the start, and they don’t have to be. Mistakes will happen, but so will progress.” Be a person who takes action and if you stumble, don’t quit, pick yourself up and continue to move toward your values.
 American Medical Association. (1995). New Year’s resolution survey.
When I started my practice in March of 2017, I found myself having extra time and flexibility to explore the happenings outside of my field. I have chosen a career in Behavior Analysis, but also hold interests in music, investing, and innovative technologies; and yes, earlier this year joined the Blockchain movement. Anyway, as I explored these other areas, I kept the work that I do, supporting children with special needs, in the back of my mind. Working with children, I know just how valuable time is. Their brain is developing at an exponential rate and it is important that we create stimulating experiences that are both individualized and high quality. So, in this blog, I wanted to share with you what the tech world is bringing to the table and how this can enhance the support we provide as caregivers, educators, and healthcare providers.
Let’s start with the world renowned Exponential Medicine Conference. Just typing the name and reflecting back on this past year’s conference held in November, gives me all the good feels! If you visit their website you’ll read that Exponential Medicine is a unique and intensive four-day experience that gathers world-class faculty, innovators and organizations from across the biomedical and technology spectrum to explore and leverage the convergence of fast moving technologies in the reinvention of health and medicine, I couldn’t have said it better myself. To give you a better idea, physicians, engineers, neuroscientists, and business leaders take to the main stage to discuss topics like ‘AI & Robotics,’ ‘Digital Biology,’ and ‘Bringing Healthcare Systems into the Future,’ to name just a few. While attending this conference in-person is costly, the main stage presentations are live streamed at no cost during the 4-day conference.
In 2016, Dr. Arshya Vahabzadeh gave an interesting talk on The Future of Psychiatry and Mental Health, which I highly recommend watching (Duration: 15-minutes). It was during his talk that I discovered Brain Power, the world’s first smart-glass system for children and adults with autism. Using Google Glass with the Empower Me system, individuals with autism are able to learn practical life skills, such as making eye contact and identifying various emotions. I have had the opportunity to use this technology with the clients I serve and its gamified style made it an instant hit! Motivation was captured from the start, with my client’s wanting to unlock cartoon faces and gold stars for attending to the speaker/listener’s face when having a conversation.
I think sometimes we get caught up in the work we are doing that we tend to put up blinders to what others are discovering in their respective fields. In service to keeping these blogs short and sweet, as I know time is precious, I’ll stop here. However, feel free to reach out if you would like to keep the conversation going; and if you’re interested in learning about more innovative technologies check out the work that Akili and iMotions are doing!
Until next month, take care :)
“The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones.”
–John Maynard Keynes
NextGen Revolution Summit 2018 in Las Vegas came and went, but not without an abundance of information and inspiration. If you’re not familiar with this conference, it is the intersection of behavior analysis, entrepreneurship, technology, and clinical application. Over the years, the field of behavior analysis has become somewhat synonymous with the gold standard of treatment for individuals with autism. However, the application of the science of behavior analysis to enhance the human experience is vast, and the NextGen Revolution Summit reinforced this fact.
I wanted to quickly share a few highlights from this year’s conference. First, Luis Felipe Garcia, CTO and Co-Founder of Antibiotic Adjuvant, Inc., and the BehaviorMe team kicked things off with a Design Thinking Workshop. Design Thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation and used by professionals to solve complex problems. This experience was unique in part because we were assigned seats and asked to work with those we had only just met. Participants were guided through the 5-stages of the design thinking process, which revealed interesting connections to the field of behavior analysis.
Another fascinating presentation by Jamie Waldvogel, founder of Behave Your Best!, opened up with a thought-provoking question, “Why are we waiting for behavior to get ‘bad enough’?” In recent times, there seems to be an increase in social acceptance of challenging behaviors exemplified by young, typically developing, children. As a society, we are accepting unwanted behaviors by simply labeling them as being part of the “Terrible Two’s,” the “Three-nager,” and the “Four-nado.” There is a need to provide parents with tools and strategies to tackle big issues like sleeping, potty training, and picky eating during these early and very critical years of development. We need to proactively support the next generation youth.
The purpose of this blog, however, is not to provide a recap/feedback of each presentation, but to remind readers of why we attend conferences. For me, it’s to learn and network with other like-minded professionals. Additionally, I often leave feeling inspired to implement what I have learned, explore new avenues, and #DoBetter.
With this said, how often do you find yourself invigorated during the conference, only to find yourself back to the same old 9-5 routine? Maybe you’re experiencing feelings of information overload and uncertainty of where to begin. I would be lying if I said this never happened to me, so I wanted to quickly share some tips:
So now that you are rested and re-hydrated, it’s time to take on the world!
Remember, what happens in Vegas gets disseminated :)
NextGen Revolution Summit is the intersection of behavior analysis, entrepreneurship, technology, and clinical application. The summit will take place on November 11, 2017 at The Lab in Miami. If you are not able to make it in-person no worries, NextGen will be live streaming the event as well. Visit www.nextgenrevolutionsummit.com for more information! Only 50 total discount tickets are available for our community! Use PSL at checkout get 20% off this up and coming event. Get your tickets here: https://tinyurl.com/y7xjltcn