Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Resolving Towards A Happier New Year

Another New Year is upon us. Traditionally New Year's is a time for making resolutions and setting goals for change or personal improvement. Effective resolutions need to be more than just an intention or promise to do something. To achieve success a resolution needs to be approached with tenacity and purpose, and seen through to a satisfactory end.  For most of us, resolutions are formed and backed with the best of intentions.  They begin with at least some level of effort and determination, and are designed to resolve some sort of challenge.

Albrecht Powell offers a pretty common list in his take on the Top 10 New Years Resolutions. His list includes things like spending more time with family, losing weight, getting more fit or healthier and helping others - all fairly positive and noble goals, but all easily made, and sadly, just as easy to abandon.

Its fine to make broad based resolutions for the coming year, but if real progress is to be made, success or failure will stem from the attention to the details! Education is like this too - often so full of good intentions. Both learners and educators want to do the best they can, but just wishing for improvements won't make it so. The proof of the pudding, as the saying goes, will be in the eating!  Raw willpower, while necessary to get started, is often insufficient to see things through to a full measure of success.

Psychologist Jennifer Harstein offers some ways to put more resolve into resolutions. Her advice includes setting realistic goals, planning ahead, having fall back plan B's, and, most importantly, celebrating incremental successes along the way of achieving the greater goal. Forbes Magazine offers similar advice, though contributor Nancy Anderson adds such tips as limiting oneself to a single goal, ensuring that one writes it down, tells others about it and records progress or setbacks in writing regularly. Accountability, commitment, measurement and rewards or regrouping offer a greater chance that one's resolve won't falter.

 Careful planning and consistent effort combined with regular accountability checks will achieve better results than mere good intentions.  Whatever your New Year's resolutions may be, I hope you muster the resolve and resources to see them through. By doing so we'll all be taking positive steps towards making 2014 a truly Happy New Year!

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