New Year’s Resolutions and a Focus on Community in 2018

Hailey Tielkemeier

It’s the question most of us spend that lovely lull between Christmas and New Year’s planning an answer to. The holidays are almost over, you’ve probably gone back to work, and you’re likely to be putting the current year in the rearview and looking forward to the year ahead. Looking back brings introspection and clarity, and often that clarity doesn’t show our past year’s habits in the best light. Enter that time-honored tradition of lifestyle reboots: the new year’s resolution.

After eating my way through Texas for two weeks over Christmas, it was pretty clear to me what my personal resolution needed to be. (More yoga, less pecan pie.)

My list of resolutions didn’t stop there, though. Along with personal reflection, I thought a good bit about the status of my freelance business. What did I do great last year? And what can I be doing better this year?

Some were pretty small and easy to make moves on. Stop working at your kitchen island and create an office space that will help you work more effectively.

Some would require some time, reflection and a spreadsheet or two. Set growth plans for this year and collect data to set yourself up to stay on track.

Some were simply continuations of things I try to do already. Learn from the people around you — they’ve been where you are!

That last one got me thinking. If I’m setting business resolutions, other businesses are probably doing the same. What are their goals? How are they coming up with those goals? In pursuit of learning from the people around me, I reached out to some Chamber members to find out.

One major theme I found across the board: community.   

Rich DeWitt, Enterprise/Gateway Council, is one of the first people I talked to. He gave me a pretty straightforward 2018 resolution: never eat lunch alone. For DeWitt, a financial advisor for Edward Jones, business is all about connections and community. He uses the time that would already be spent eating lunch to build up those connections. Even better, his personal resolution over the past few months has been to work on his overall health. So far, he’s down 30 pounds. I’d call that a win-win.

With only a couple months between now and opening day, resolutions are top-of-mind for the Chattanooga Lookouts. One goal that Marketing and Promotions Manager, Alex Tainsh, shared with me: “Grow in our role as a community leader in Chattanooga through our community initiatives such as Most Improved Student, Community Partner of the Game and Food Drive Sundays.”

For some businesses, resolutions revolved around helping other businesses grow and thrive. That’s the case for Joseph Waller of Reify and VP of Communications for the Red Bank Council, who has a goal of working with small business development agencies to “provide a program to help business start-ups with new product development support.”

That same theme of service to the community was prevalent throughout radio show host Cindy Deering’s end-of-year campaign. She encouraged her listeners to make time to serve others, even if only one hour per month. To Deering, giving back to your community can help you “develop new skills, grow as a person, gain a new perspective and make a difference.”

Service to the community has certainly been a theme throughout all my conversations, and one business is taking that theme to the next level by adding in a couple hashtags to really solidify things. Cynthia Steele, Marketing Manager at Tandem Financial and President of the Ooltewah/Collegedale Council, wrote that the Tandem Financial team’s main resolution is to continue to be good for the community — both by providing comprehensive financial planning and by being “agents of change for a better Chattanooga.” Oh, and those hashtags? #moneywithamission #teamtandem

Speaking to representatives of these businesses got me excited to keep working on my resolutions and to make the Chattanooga community a more central part of them.

So, what’s your new year’s resolution?

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