Three Questions to Become More Adaptable and Resilient in the Future

I’m working on my next year’s “plans.” I use quotes around that word because I use lean approaches to plan my work. I decide which work to do now, and I finish that work. Then, I pick from many options for the next bit of work. Based on my throughput, I have enough possibilities for three years—not just one year.

That means I need more adaptability, not less. And since the world doesn’t accommodate itself to my needs, I need more resilience, not less.

Here are three questions I use to check that I’m on track with my plans for my work—and my adaptability and resilience.

Question 1: Am I Doing What I Want to Do Today?

I like to think about how I spend my days as the way I want to spend my life. Here’s how this works for me:

  • If I don’t manage my choices throughout the day, I can fritter away my entire day on email, social media, and other ad hoc work. That work rarely helps me complete any of my planned work.
  • When I consciously choose what to do every single minute, hour, and day, I’m more likely to finish the activities I want to do.

You probably noticed I didn’t call all these activities “work.” Sometimes, I cook or read. Often, I write or walk, or give a talk. And I also develop new offerings for workshops and consulting.

All of these activities fill my various intellectual and emotional needs. While I might not choose to do all of them every day, I look for a daily balance of all of these activities.

To answer this question with a “yes!” I often need to adapt my choices throughout the day. Or when I’m in an intense writing week, throughout the week.

The way we spend our days determines how we spend our lives. I prefer to choose rather than meander along.

Question 2: What Should I Stop Doing?

I suspect I’m a lot like you. I continue to do activities regardless of whether they still fit for me, and that means I don’t make good choices all the time.

You might think I should “just” resolve to change. However, resolutions never work for me. Instead, when I ask what I should stop, I consciously assess every choice I make. That’s why I don’t make resolutions. When I ask the “stop” question, I hit the Foreign Element of the Change model. (See Where Are You in Your Changes? for a more detailed explanation of the Satir Change Model.)

I increase my adaptability with the stop-doing question.

Question 3: How Many Options Do I Need to Succeed Each Day?

This past year, I decided to write and publish more fiction. I succeeded in writing and publishing short story collections until too many family issues interrupted me. (Everything and everyone is fine now.)

However, I learned a ton from that interruption. While I prefer to write fiction in the morning, I can write later in the day—even late in the evening. I can vary the length of my timeboxes. And I’m still experimenting with dictation.

I didn’t want to stop my fiction writing. However, I needed more options to succeed. More options help me create more resilience because I can choose from more possibilities.

Do You Need Different Questions?

These questions help me. That’s because I’m conscious of my choices. The principles are:

  • The way we spend our days turns out to be the way we spend our lives. If I want to get “everything” done, I need to choose when.
  • When we choose what to stop, we can make more valuable choices. I can become more adaptable.
  • When I create more options, I see alternatives. Those alternatives help me build more resilience.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Expect the next newsletter in 2022.


I have one open space in the writing workshop. If you think you might want to take it later this year or next year, take a look at that page and add yourself to the writing workshop email list.

Read More of Create an Adaptable Life

If you only read the newsletter, I hope you also read the blog where I write a question of the week each week. Here are other links you might find useful:

Till next time,


© 2021 Johanna Rothman

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