My One Word for 2018 is going to be "Purpose".
I need to start doing things ON "PURPOSE" and set myself up to be successful. The last few months have been an emotional and physical strain and I need to get out of survival mode and back into THRIVE-al mode.
At the end of October, our landlord told us we had 2 months to find a new place to live. We had to pack up the house that we had been living in for 8 years, the house that we brought home both of our daughters from the hospital into, and a house that had accumulated 8 years of stuff. My days turned into leaving school at random times to look at houses, and then usually going back to work to finish prepping. The perfect place fell into our lap at the perfect midnight hour, as we were making a decision on another house. Once we found a new place, we set a date to move, and my wife chose the morning after report cards were due. For two weeks every night it was a decision as to whether I was going to grade or pack, because I wouldn't have the time or energy to do both. And so everything was a slow grind of packing, de-cluttering, grading, cleaning, and moving. To top it off, we moved over Thanksgiving break, so instead of resting and recharging we were moving , cleaning, and unpacking. My nights went into survival mode: what can I do before I pass out? And so my life was rushing onto the next task, with no time to relax in between.
So in 2018, I want to set myself up with some good habits. Not just setting random resolutions or goals, that may last for a little bit, but some good habits that will train my mind to get back on an uphill track. The habits that I want to build are keeping a positive outlook (instead of worrying) and I want to get in the habit of reading or writing on a daily basis. And doing things ON PURPOSE to help me be successfully build those habits!
***Fast forward from January 18th to February 25th***
Soooooo, how are those habits coming along? Getting the reading in on non-work days is pretty easy. I will sit down with my coffee and read for a little bit before I make breakfast. But how do I get the reading in on school nights? I have downloaded an app to get some blogs on my I-pad, because reading is reading and I don't need to limit myself to reading the same thing every day. My daughter is in 1st grade and her homework is to read something for 15 minutes a day, so I should be able to do it too, right? You betcha!
Now writing is the hard part for me... Writing a blog is putting myself out there, and whether only one person reads it or not, it still feels like a chore for me and to be honest I rarely start working on one before 11 PM. To tie into the positive outlook I have started a journal at school to write down the positive things that happen during the day. Again, building any habit takes time, and I need to set myself up for success. I have found that leaving it open next to my desk is the best way to remember. If I leave school without doing it and just stick it in my bag to do at home, then chances are I won't do it and it will stay in my bag for a few days until I think about it. But just like the reading, there is the other side.... how do I write at home? Still need to work on that one. Maybe I need to buy some note pads and just stick them in strategic places around the house, or find a good voice to text app to help me out. I was watching X-Factor over Christmas Vacation and they had Ed Sheeran on and when asked for advice to writing a hit song he said, "Write a lot. You have to write a lot of bad songs before you can write a good one." That quote has stuck has stuck with me now for several weeks and I just need to get over myself and write a little every day until it is comfortable!
Being Positive! I enjoy my students and there's always a few moments of celebration every class where someone is happy about a good quiz, or someone "gets it", or someone wants to solve the problem on the board. Whether or not your lesson is amazing, or even if it bombs, someone will have reason to be happy and share with you. Someone will have a light bulb go off. Someone will make different choices today that will make your day go smoother. Someone will have good news that they want to share with you! Celebrate those bright spots and make mental notes of them. (Or get a notebook and write them down!) You will start to remember little things like digging through your clean laundry and finding a clean pair of matching socks in the morning, or sitting down at your desk after the bell rings, only to realize that your bags are still on your chair because you have spent the entire class period on your feed with your students and having discussions with them. Don't let something little drag down the rest of your day, or dominate your thinking. I like being able to write down my happy thoughts at the end of the day, reflecting on the good things that happened before I go home. But it does make it a little tougher to remember what a student said to you at 8:30, or how awesome the first period of the day went after you have been teaching from 8-2 with no prep. So now I am trying to get in the habit of writing things down during class!
How many days/repetitions does it take to make something a habit? Keep in mind that anything worth while will require some struggle, and there is no such thing as an overnight success. Do your thing, reflect, focus on the positive, and help yourself to make the road as smooth as possible before you travel down it! So my focus and One Word for 2018 is PURPOSE. I am working on doing things on purpose to create good habits for myself. After all, before you run a marathon you have to be able to run for 1 mile, then 2, then 3. My family life has been putting that into perspective for me lately. [Future blog post, now where's that notepad...] Baby steps. Build habits. Set yourself up for success. Celebrate!