Ah, the New Year. The time when we’re all supposed to commit to improving our lives. The time when, in hopes of becoming a better version of ourselves, we tend to set ourselves up for failure.

You know why most of us fail.

New Year’s resolutions are usually large and nebulous. Exercising more. Eliminating sugar from our diets. Saving money. The typical New Year’s resolution requires big, significant change. That’s hard, and we tend to fail, so we give up.

If personal change is so hard, it’s no wonder systems change is so hard. Systems, after all, are created and run by people.

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that you, like me, are interested in changing systems to better serve children and families. I’ve never met anyone who says all our systems are fine the way they are, and everyone I talk to wants big change.

So how do we actually create big change?

Big change is achieved by making small, significant changes. 

The Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework, an approach to working with families in a way that builds their strengths, is all about the power of small but significant changes. When we work with families to make a small change – like practicing a simple self-regulation technique, mentally re-framing a child’s behavior, or connecting to their new neighbors – the results can be huge. Smaller changes are doable, lead to quicker wins, and motivate other changes. Those changes can ultimately prevent child abuse.

So, what small changes can we do this year to achieve significant results for children and families in Arizona?

This year, I’m committing to attending more trainings and conferences throughout Arizona, and encouraging my team to do the same. Trainings keep us relevant, spark new ideas, and connect us to others who care about the same things we do. Attending a training may be a small act, but it can be life-changing. In 2010, I attended a short training on the subject of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), presented by Becky Ruffner during a Best for Babies meeting in Yavapai County. That one training inspired me to become a trainer on the subject of ACEs, and later motivated me to join Becky Ruffner at Prevent Child Abuse Arizona, which ultimately propelled me to the role I have today.

We’ve got a lot of big things to do in 2020. What small but significant change do you commit to making?

Yours in Prevention,