The Art of Making Resolutions

Guess what time it is?!

Yes! It is that wonderful time of year when we reluctantly shove holiday decor back into storage containers while gathering a few extra end-of-the-year Goodwill donations, all while halfheartedly cheering for several college football teams in obnoxiously-named over-advertised bowl games.

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Watching the ball drop in Times Square on NYE is a metaphorical event tied to new beginnings.

More importantly, it is a time to make resolutions for the New Year!

Making resolutions is an interesting pastime. Year after year, nearly half of all Americans make resolutions on December 31st as a way to help themselves feel like they are going to be a better person in the New Year. Whether we resolve to lose weight or spend more time with family, we are pressured into declaring our statement of intent as to how we are going to act for the next 365 – err, in the case of 2016, 366 – days. (But, who are we kidding? We know that our resolutions will naturally dissipate around Day 16…Day 20 if you are lucky.)

The new fad last year was to sum up all of the resolutions that you were

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This was me 365 days ago.

going to make into one word. Yep, so many people I follow on Twitter were coming up with a single word that would define their actions – or, at least, intentions – for one year. The word I chose last year was “better.”  By George, I was going to be better at everything I attempted! I was going to be a better teacher, wife, daughter, friend, co-worker, blogger, runner, reader, member of society…you name it! I’ll admit that this goal was pretty abstract, and I can see why to some it may seem like I was afraid to make a resolution that was measurable or tangible. Looking back, however, I can honestly say that I truly focused on this word this year and I worked hard – both personally and professionally – for the past 364.5 days to be better. (Side Note: I have never followed a New Year’s Resolution through for a whole year. Must be getting better at that, too.)

My word for 2015 was better; so what is my word for 2016 going to be?

Drumroll please…

 

There is not a single word out there that I can choose to replace my word for 2015. Just because 2015 is over, doesn’t mean I can stop trying to be a better person. I mean, we never can’t strive to be better. I feel that by choosing another word, my focus on being better will be over. And so I’ve decided that when the clock strikes midnight, I am still going to strive to be better.

Not too long ago, I realized that last New Year’s resolution turned out to be a lifelong resolution. And then it dawned on me: isn’t that what the art of making resolutions is all about? Creating a resolution isn’t about changing our self for a few weeks, months, or years, but changing our life. Resolutions begin a new chapter, so to speak, and therefore, change our whole story. If we do it right, we should be making resolutions that will have a life-long impact on us every January 1st, not just setting up unattainable goals or coming up with words that will be forgotten by the following December 31st. Bottom Line: Resolutions should change us, or we need to change how we make resolutions.

Remember: it takes anywhere from 21 to 254 days to form a habit. So whatever your resolution is for this year, stick with it and it can become a lifelong resolution!

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Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

It has been a few years since I’ve written to you. And I know my letter is arriving to you late on this Christmas Eve, but there are a few Christmas wishes on my list this year that I know only you can make possible.

My first Christmas wish this year is for students. I have been given the extraordinary gift of teaching at a STEM school this year, Santa. At this school, I teach lessons that inspire students to imagine, tinker, and create. I have the amazing opportunity to give students choices in how they learn. The result? I am able to watch the students deepen their passion for learning and exploring new topics every day. And so my first Christmas wish is for all students to have similar experiences…everywhere and everyday.

My second Christmas wish is for parents. I can’t even describe in words the difficulty of a parent’s job. To make sure that your children’s basic needs are met 24/7/365 is quite a tall order, not to mention meeting the many desires and dreams that children have, too. But my Christmas wish is for all parents InspirationalQuotes.Club-preparation-life-education-John-Deweyof all nations, ages, races, and neighborhoods  to recognize and act on the fact that their children’s education – and their involvement in their children’s education – is the single greatest influential factor on their children’s success later on in life. If we really want to close the achievement gap anytime soon, Santa, it is quite possible that we may just need your help to accomplish that goal.

My last Christmas wish is for teachers. There are not enough hours in the day to do our job to the best of our abilities. In order to be the great teachers that we desire to be, we need more quality time to: plan/create/facilitate lessons, assess students and give timely (yet constructive) feedback, teach students one-on-one as well as in small groups, and communicate with parents and other education staff on behalf of our students and their best interests. That doesn’t even include meeting our additional needs for professional growth! That being said, I guess my last wish is to add some time to the end of the day to help accomplish all of our daily goals to be the educators that our students deserve. (And maybe a few extra minutes to jump in on some awesome Twitter chats that I have been missing lately!)

While you may not be able to help me with these wishes by Christmas Day, I would greatly appreciate your help in 2016. Some may think that a few of these wishes are impossible. But I trust that you, of all people, know that believing in the impossible can lead to magic within our hearts. And with a little holiday magic, I believe anything is possible.

Merry Christmas.

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