How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution Through the Semester

January 16th, 2020 | Posted by bbarr in Uncategorized

Fresh starts are exciting. New year, new you! But after a restful break away from your school obligations, coming back to the classroom with an ambitious resolution can be difficult. Making a New Year’s resolution is exciting, but keeping one takes hard work beyond the first few days of January.

You’re not alone: According to clinical psychologist Joseph Luciani, about 80% of Americans don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions. The fitness app Strava did some research on their users in 2019, with over 30 million data points analyzed. They found that January 12 was the day most people fell off the horse and quit their resolution for good.

If you’re charging full speed ahead on your New Year’s resolution, well done and stay strong! If, however, you’ve stumbled a little, read on for some tips and support.

Use the 2-Minute Rule

Best-selling author James Clear has a simple way to make a big goal into an achievable habit: the 2-minute rule. The 2-minute rule is simply scaling your goal down to a 2-minute habit. Choosing a task that’s really easy to start and finish quickly is key.

Here are some example goals that benefit greatly from the 2-minute rule:

  • “Run a mile” becomes “tie my running shoes”
  • “Read several books this year” becomes “read one page before bed”
  • “Complete IEPs before they’re due” becomes “write one section each day”

Don’t those just feel easier? Once you’ve started doing something, it’s much easier to continue doing it. Before you know it, you’re making progress on your goal.

Break Your Goal Up into Levels

Goals that are vague and ambiguous like “increase professional knowledge” are difficult to celebrate. When are you ever really done? In their book The Power of Moments, Chip Heath and Dan Heath talk about using levels to break up a goal into milestones. For example, increasing your professional knowledge might translate into:

By breaking up your goal, you have levels that are clearly defined and easy to complete.

Plan to Fail

If you think through specific obstacles and what you might do to overcome them, you’re much more likely to stick to your goal. The good news is that by now, you already have an idea of the obstacles hindering your goal.

For example, maybe your goal is to have more interactive activities for your students ), but you don’t have the right supplies. Overcome that obstacle by adding what you need to your grocery list. Then you can get those extra supplies when you’re already at the store.

Planning to fail takes only a few minutes. Write down your goal, then jot down 2-5 obstacles you’re likely to encounter. Then brainstorm ways to overcome those obstacles.

Back to you. How is back-to-school going? Is your New Year’s resolution still going strong? Let us know in the comments below!

By Aubrey Schieuer

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