How resolute are your New Year’s resolutions?
What does making a New Year’s resolution mean to you? Your answer might be a little or a lot — or meh. Making resolutions are an in thing at the start of a year. Likewise, most resolutions are buried under the first snowdrifts in February.
In any case, New Year’s resolutions signal a new beginning or course correction. They are ways to remember the lessons of the past and resolve to build on them going forward.
Who better to talk about lessons than a group of educators? They came together during a yearend #EngageChat on Twitter to offer their pros, cons and other views about resolutions, led by county schools Chief Operations Officer Eric Davis.
“A New Year’s resolution is a promise to yourself in which you vow to become a better version of yourself,” said Dr. Cynthia Reasoner, an elementary school principal.
Conversely, instructional coach Peg Grafwallner said, “I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I believe in doing the very best I can every day; while I may fall down once in a while, I thank God and goodness, I can try again tomorrow!”
Paul O’Neill, educator and personal learning network founder, favored Grafwallner’s position. “I prefer to make changes when needed,” he said. “As a huge fan of reflection and self-assessment, I believe in making changes when they’re needed as opposed to waiting until the end of a year.”
Assuming you do take a shot at resolutions, there are barriers to following through, chief among them being lack of commitment. While resolutions might be nice to do, they can entail a change in lifestyle, which involves more than an overnight change.
“A barrier is taking that first step, but I believe taking that first step creates great momentum!” said Rebecca Lynn, a kindergarten, first-grade and English as a second language teacher.
Elementary school principal Heather Calvert’s resolution barrier boiled down to a four-letter word: “Above all, fear,” she said. “Resolutions always entail a significant amount of change, and change is halted by fear.”
Accountability strategies also factor into accomplishing goals. It’s noble to think you can reach your goals on your own, but most people need helping hands — coaches or mentors — to hold them accountable. Friends might let you off easy, and it’s best that the person holding you accountable is impartial.
“I write everything down and revisit,” said middle school Spanish and social studies teacher Danielle Moore. “I’m taking the excitement from what I accomplished in ’17 to launch me into the New Year.”
“With my professional goals, I’m blessed to have colleagues who are also some of my very best friends and will ask me about my goals,” said instructional coach and educator Kristen Dolen. “I’m thankful for those conversations. I’m also part of a fitness challenge group, and we all hold each other accountable.”
Regardless of whether you make your own resolutions, you can still inspire others to reach their goals. The consensus way among the educators was to set the example and back up words with deeds.
Teacher Stella Pollard spoke for many when she urged “being patient. Remember, just because something works for me, doesn’t mean it will work for others. I will be a better listener and a better ‘rememberer’ of facts. I will continue to help those who need help and smile at those who aren’t ready yet.”
What about you? Resolutions? No resolutions? Or keep plugging away to make each day better than the last? Whatever you do, have a happy New Year.
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