Today I find myself working from a hotel room in advance of tomorrow’s start of the New England Society of Association Executive Annual Management Conference. In addition to polishing my presentation, it’s also meant some quality time with television and the seemingly endless parade of commercials hoping to capitalize on the New Year. Get fit! Eat bacon and cheese covered bread in the New Year and lose weight while doing it! 2017 is here and this is your year!

The tradition of resolutions reportedly started with the ancient Babylonians, the first people to honor the new year with resolutions and promises to gods to repay their debts and return borrowed items. Julius Caesar also celebrated the new year, adjusting the calendar to move the start of the year to January, a month named for the Roman God Janus who looked symbolically ahead into the future.

Resolving to change and improve your life – and career – has become an almost unavoidable part of the transition from one calendar year to the next. New year, new you! At Abila we like to use this milestone as an opportunity to share our perspective, looking into the future and identifying association sector trends to watch in the year ahead.

Along with these predictions, we recommend actions you can take to keep pace with what’s trending and start the year off strong:

  • Resolve to see the forest … and the trees: This is a great time to inventory your existing technology, including applications made available via the web, as well as those installed locally on individual machines. Are your disparate software packages able to communicate with each other? Can you easily share important and relevant information between your systems to make your job more efficient and successful?
  • Resolve to get your membership involved: Although hard to believe, the inauguration is just a week away. 2017 – and early 2017, in particular – offers a unique opportunity to revisit your advocacy strategy. In addition to taking inventory of your technology, take a look at key issues that could impact your organization and the sector you serve, positively or negatively, with the change in political leadership.
  • Resolve to think ahead of the curve: It’s not just about the operational changes that can move the needle – think big, or at least make the exploration of big ideas a goal for the year ahead. As part of our 2017 predictions, we introduce a new term we’re especially excited about: The Membership of Things. Sound heady? Get started by breaking it down into smaller steps. Start by understanding how your membership is interacting with your organization and what channels have the greatest impact, both for sharing information and creating dialogue.

There’s no shortage of literature out there suggesting that new year’s resolutions are a waste of time. Why bother? Well, because resolutions require us to take a hard look at ourselves, and our organizations, in ways many of us don’t normally do. This self-reflection provides a chance to recognize our flaws, celebrate our strengths, and identify opportunities we may not have seen otherwise.

Although we’re almost two weeks into 2017 there’s still plenty of time to make resolutions. Looking for ideas? Join us at on Thursday, January 26 for our first webinar of the new year,  “#TrendingNow: Association Trends to Watch in 2017.” And, if your new year’s resolution is to get a head start on your CAE credits, you’re in luck! You’ll receive one hour of CAE credit just for attending. Click here to register.