If you want to reach February half term without running on empty, then it is time to take a different approach to your New Year’s resolutions.
First things first: forget goal-setting. Begin with your own personal development. When you get this right, you increase the likelihood of achieving any goals that you might set for yourself in the future. So, where do you begin?
1. Get a very clear picture of you as your best self
Every teacher knows what it is like to not to feel at their best. You know what it feels like when too many early mornings and too many late nights marking and preparing have taken their toll.
The scary thing is, many teachers normalise the accompanying feelings of ill health, until it is too late. So, determine that this year will be different. Take a few moments to look back across your career and identify times when you have felt at your best. They will be there. Resolve to do everything within your power to function at this level throughout the rest of this year.
2. Befriend your inner critic
If you have already begun to think, “it’s impossible to constantly function as my best self” then this one is a must for you. Don’t let your inner critic stop you from moving forward. Often individuals give in to this voice, which prevents them from leading happy, healthy and fulfilled lives.
You may not be able to control the increasingly critical educational climate, but you can control the tone and feeling of your own inner world. Make a promise today to stand up to your ‘inner critic’ and take steps to strengthen your own self-belief and feelings of self-worth.
3. Make a list of your habits – good and bad
Habits are repeated patterns of behaviour. They determine your character and how you are seen by others. If you have identified habits that you want to change because they are impacting on your wellbeing, begin by making a list and writing them down.
Next, identify the reasons these habits have formed and what actions you can take to break them. Old habits die hard, so don’t give up if you fall at the first few hurdles. Keep the vision of your best self utmost in your mind and eventually you will succeed.
4. Stay away from negativity
Negativity is a poison. It damages us, it damages our relationships and it damages our overall sense of wellbeing. At the end of a long, hard day it can be all too easy to get sucked in to negative staffroom chatter. In the short-term it can help letting off steam instead of bottling it all up. However, the feelings of release are only temporary.
Instead, when you come to the end of the school day, actively choose to focus on what has gone right. It could be that one child who made you laugh so much they brought tears to your eyes, or that lesson you taught that brought you back to your original vision, passion and purpose.
5. Focus on what you can control
Learn to accept that you can’t control everything, and that there will be times when you simply must let go. Take an honest look at your role and the areas in your school where you know you can make a direct, positive impact. Chose to focus your time and energy on these tasks.
There will be some things, where you know change is needed, but that are outside of your sphere of influence. Don’t spend hours at night fretting over them. Worrying never solved anything. Instead pay attention to what matters most to you, is aligned to your values and allows you to be the difference in the life of a child, a colleague, a parent or a friend.
6. Accept that change is the one constant of which you can be sure
You cannot escape change, so accept that whatever your role, whatever the classification of the school you are in, change is going to happen. Sometimes you will have the luxury of being prepared for it, but often you won’t. So, what can you do? Well, you can learn to reframe change and see it as an opportunity for growth. Yes, it may be a challenge, but isn’t that what life is all about?
I know if you were to reflect on the children who have achieved the most with you, it’ll be those who have learnt to embrace change and the challenge that it brings. Let this year be the same for you. A year of growth and sustained wellbeing, because you have made a commitment to embrace your own personal development.
“Staying A Head” – Inspiration Calendar Cards
As a School Leader, you do an amazing job! Every day you invest enormous amounts of time, energy, passion and commitment – seeking to create better futures for our children and the communities you serve.
It isn’t easy and sometimes support and encouragement can feel in short supply. That is why we have developed these twelve FREE inspiration calendar cards (one for each month) for the year – designed for those moments when you need a little inspiration in your day and to help you stop, pause and reflect.
It’s entirely up to you how you use the cards; pin them up on your board, look at one on the first day of each month, use them as book marks or coasters for your tea or coffee! It’s your choice.