Saving The World & Other New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are common right about now. Although made with honest intentions, most resolutions don’t last. In 2007, Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol documented 3,000 people and their resolutions, 88% of which failed.

A friend of mine jokes he’s been quitting his smoking habit since New Year’s Day 2010.

While the holidays are a joyous occsion, the bleak nature of the world shows itself too. Shootings, terrorism, racism, drug abuse, violent crime – I don’t own a TV but these days, you don’t have to.

It happens right in our neighborhoods; by the grocery store, the city park, and in our shopping malls and schools. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate New’s Year’s Resolution? To make the world better?

And have it not fail . . .

New research from Ford Motor Company shows people are exhibiting a heightened desire to make the world better. Frustration and hesitation are wearing off, turning pessimism to optimism and hopelessness to hope. Despite recent fears and confusion, we are more inspired to accept the winds of change. The findings come from “Looking Further with Ford 2016.”

“In our four years of researching and compiling consumer trends, never have we seen optimism, resilience, and self-reliance figure so prominently,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford Global Trend and Futuring Manager.

As technology shapes our lives and buying habits, so to it changes our views. Today, for example, our thoughts on health, environment, transportation, education, career; really a number of things; all differ from prior generations.

“There’s no escaping the impact the rapid pace of technology has on culture,” Connelly said.

Millennials drive these parameters greatly, believing work has its purpose and place as do other things. Freedom and flexibility are important in a balanced existence, strongly connected to community and culture. Millennials see a bright future, readily embracing the challenges in making the world better.

“It gives us hope for what the future holds, and we see that same creativity and enterprising spirit driving innovation in every part of our business at Ford,” Connelly said.

Ultimately, Ford’s research is a guide for interpreting how the ever changing landscape will impact us. Here are the 10 trends detected in the Looking Further with Ford 2016 report. You might see some of them as New Year’s resolutions that when taken seriously, greatly enhance your life and carve out a better world.

Embracing Heroes

Political scandals dominate headlines while certain sports figures cheat and famed celebrities fall from grace, straight into a casket. In the words of Simon and Garfunkel, “where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?” As a result, individuals are rethinking what it means to be good, morally responsible citizens. Everyday heroes are stepping up to the plate, working to make their community better and inspiring others to follow.

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Swiss Army Life

The idea of less equals more; that quality of life is determined by the experiences we have versus the stuff we own. I have a studio apartment in a residential Detroit neighborhood and can fit everything I have in two Gander Mountain duffel bags. My landlord owns the furniture and appliances and graciously lets me use them.

I desire no extravagant possessions, nor do I need them to accomplish things of meaning and significance.

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Time Poverty

I am guilty here as I work all the time. And modern technology allows me to do so. I can travel with my laptop and my smartphone fits in my pocket. The automotive industry is a 24 hour business and to be successful, it takes lots of dedication.

However, the realization hit me the other day when I said to a friend, “I could work around the clock and never get it all done.”

My resolution for 2016 is for better work/life balance.

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Mindful Goes Mainstream

Recognizing the strain of Time Poverty, many are offsetting busy schedules with mindful activities. The average person spends about 5 hours per day on their smartphone – hence, the importance of unwinding, reflecting, and relaxing; unplugging from the digital world and giving our minds a break.

Physical exercise is good. So is reading a book and drinking warm tea, especially at night.

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EZ Life, Brought to You by the Connected Concierge

We have examined autonomous driving and it seems, among Automoblog staff anyway, the jury is still out. Jonathan Orr, one of our contributors, approaches increased vehicle technology with an eye brow raised and arms crossed.

When I speak with people, I hear much resistance to autonomous vehicles. There are many questions raised but regardless, this is one of the vital trends Ford is observing. Ford Smart Mobility is an initiative to take advanced connectivity, mobility, data, and autonomous vehicle technology and make it viable for the future.

With emphasis on customer interaction, Ford promises safer, more convenient, and efficient methods of addressing global transportation concerns.

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Fit for Misfits

On size fits all may work when giving away free T-shirts but when meeting a new generation of buyers, it’s a different story. Individuality is vital and brands, like Ford, are cultivating a more dynamic, engaging, and personalized image.

“These insights help us to create products and services that not only exceed today’s expectations, but provide innovative ways of looking at how to tackle challenging situations of tomorrow,” Connelly said.

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Retail Revolution

Did you love a particular product but then, when visiting the retail outlet, have your perception of it spoiled by a terrible employee or representative?

Building on the Fit for Misfits data, Ford’s report shows consumers are sensitive to this and many companies are responding by focusing greatly on the customer experience.

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Waste Not, Want Not

As sustainability increases, the grip of high consumption softens. Advancements here find value in things nobody wants, turning them into things everybody will eventually need.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure . . . 

This environmentally conscious trend pushes our current definition of resourcefulness to incorporate more than just the big, green recycling bin.

Although, that’s still a good start . . .

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Buying into the Flexible Economy

A rising trend among Millennials is freelancing and working remotely. Perhaps this is why we are less likely to see people stay with a particular company for 20 or 30 years? I fit this category, being self-employed and a freelancer, but only within the last two years.

Before moving to Detroit, I was in management at a successful, South Dakota car dealership and a disc jockey at a local radio station. I didn’t ever see myself leaving and figured I would be, in time, a 20 year veteran of the automotive industry on the dealership side.

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In Awe of Aging

Some of the oldest people I know are actually the most youthful, proving age is merely a number. My grandmother is a prime example, being 88 but still tutoring at the school she taught at most of her life. She is active in her church, maintains a large social circle, and walks daily.

Recently, she asked me for advice on buying a car – after she told me she was taking a trip overseas in February.

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These trends extend beyond any one industry but help manufacturers like Ford comprehend what’s happening. As the social, economic, environmental, and political arenas change, it affects consumer confidence. It’s not just automakers like Ford needing to respond, but all companies.

Such insights drive business. Future products and services, the customer perception, and ownership experience are all shaped by these trends. It’s up to intuitive companies to meet us at the crossroads with solutions that truly address the modern need.

Now, what about saving the world?

That’s not an easy endeavor but I have found saving the world happens one person at a time.

And the first person is ourselves.

*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog.net and resides in Detroit, Michigan. 

About The Author

Carl represents automakers in their marketing and product development arms as a Vehicle Coach, Product Specialist, and Facilitator. He has worked with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and Volvo. Carl is President of Detroit Working Writers and on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation. He enjoys a multitude of health and fitness activities and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.

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