I Don’t Want New Resolutions for 2015; I Want a New Mindset

I’m tired of making resolutions every January 1st and then feeling guilty about not staying on track the 364 days that follow. While some people are quite successful at keeping their resolutions, most of us drop the ball within the first week. Why do we even put ourselves through this exercise in futility every year?

This year, in honor of Carol Dweck and her phenomenal book Mindset, I have decided to focus my energy on changing my mindset – the way I see and respond to the situations and people around me – rather than on losing weight, getting up earlier, or making sure I don’t let ungraded papers pile up on my desk! Don’t get me wrong, I need to lose weight, get up earlier (although 5:15 isn’t all that late), and commit to a faster turn-around time for student work.  Hopefully I’ll do all three this year, but I’m not tying these behaviors to “resolutions.”

Instead, I want to change my mindset – to be more positive, more kind, more empathetic, and more gracious.

Because the truth is, while being thinner and grading papers faster may be good goals, my students won’t remember me for either. They’re going to remember how I treated them and how I made them feel, long before they remember how I looked or how many days I took to return their work.

So, what’s my mindset for 2015? I tried to capture it in the poem below. Sure, it’s kind of corny but sometimes the corny sticks with us longer than the cool (think about commerical jingles, like “The best part of waking up is Foldgers in your cup” if you don’t believe me!).

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  • CarlDraeger

    So true!

    Your words resonated with me. I don’t want frivoulous or temporary improvements. I want. No. I need transformation to better serve my students and to encourage the new teachers I mentor to become leaders in their classroom, their school, their state, and their country WITHOUT leaving the classroom. Well said.

  • BillIvey

    Like the “one word” movement…

    … where people are choosing one word to focus on through the year, your concept of choosing a mindset has great potential power. From my perspective, it’s at root about figuring out and focusing on what you most deeply value. And from that foundation will naturally spring the kinds of behaviors you see in most people’s resolutions anyway, since one remains true to one’s mindset (one’s values) one action at a time. Thanks for a great piece.

    I wrote a New Year’s blog for my school that’s still in the queue waiting to be approved and/or published (our Communications Director takes a strict break from her online world over winter break so she can focus exclusively on family). In the process of writing it, I realized the important synergy of focusing on both love and respect. So I guess that would be the mindset I bring to my family, my friends, my students, and the world in which we live.