“Recalibrate” is my focus word/concept for 2024. It succinctly captures my desire to re-evaluate my priorities so I can live my best life for my mind, body, and soul. My inspiration came from the NeuroLeadership Institute’s Fall 2023 Summit; the theme was “Recalibrate.”
Back in 1883, when the word “recalibrate” was first used, it was all about correcting or adjusting settings on physical equipment. Individuals would recalibrate sensors, instruments, and other precision gear used to measure things. Now, 141 years later, we commonly use “recalibrate” to reexamine our thinking, plans, and values and then adjust them.
In my case, I wanted to review how I’m setting priorities and following through in today’s fast-changing, uncertain world and then make adjustments. To help me recalibrate, I’m asking myself a series of questions tailored to these areas of my life:
- career, including the book I’m co-authoring on communicating for action
- learning and development
- interests and entertainment, including travel
- community and society
These seven areas, ranked in importance to me, are where I spend most of my time, energy, and money now. (Finance is last not because it isn’t important but because I’ve intentionally outsourced support for it to others with more expertise. This also means I can spend more time and energy on things more enjoyable for me.)
For each area, I’m revisiting priorities, reviewing the time spent, and asking a series of questions. While the questions vary by area, some useful general ones are:
- What’s still giving me energy?
- What’s draining my energy? What adjustments can I make, especially if the actions and practices are outdated? And what can I phase out?
- Am I making enough of a difference/impact in this area to continue at my current level or do I need to step it up or pull back?
- To what extent are the things demanding my time also deserving of my attention? And if not, what do I do about them?
- What new things do I want to try and why? How well will they fit my values? And what can these new things supplement or replace? (For example, AI fits in well here.)
- What big commitments do I have this year that I need to include time for? (For me this is mainly the book Communicating for Action that I’m co-authoring with Sam Yankelevich.)
- If I have to respond to any emergencies or curve balls this year, how will I react and reset priorities?
Also, for certain topics, rating questions are insightful. For example, on a scale of “1 to 10” with “1” being low and “10” being high, I’ll ask: How satisfied I am with certain actions or commitments? How aligned is this action with my values? How much joy is this providing me?
Even before choosing “recalibration” as my 2024 focus word, I rejiggered my priorities last fall, moving health/wellness/selfcare to the top of my life list. The impetus was my neuroplasticity studies that I started mid-year. The research shows that you’re able to rewire your brain’s neural pathways more intentionally and easily if your brain is getting the energy it needs to perform. That energy comes from sleep, nutrition, and exercise.
In other words, for those of us who care about good brain health and performance, we’ve got to make sleep, nutrition and exercise a priority. This means rewiring our mindset to view selfcare as a necessity, not a luxury, and taking appropriate, consistent actions.
By the way, recalibrate also complements my last three focus words: “pause” in 2023, “nuance” in 2022 and “explicit” in 2021. All three help me slow down to get a broader perspective of situations and consider them more fully and thoughtfully without rushing to judgment. Our environment often encourages us to decide and act quickly, yet if we’re hasty, especially with issues that don’t require an immediate response, we may create more angst, churn, and extra steps for ourselves – and friction with others — than we’d like.
Throughout 2024, I want to continue to recalibrate, which may influence my actions this year and next. And who knows how this recalibration will affect my future choices in focal words.
Back to 2024. What about you? Do you have a focal word or phrase for 2024? If so, please share.