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The end of the year brings with it a natural time for both reflection and projection.  Few can resist the opportunity to think back over the year now past and to look ahead at the year just beginning.

There were no doubt events in the past year that have changed who you are and shaped who you will be in the future.  Life brings us lessons if we are willing to stop long enough to learn them.  Pause.  Reflect.  Learn.

And look ahead.  My favorite thing about a career in education is that we have a fresh start each school year.  There is something inspiring and energizing about starting anew.  We all have that opportunity right now. 2016 lies before us, untouched, unspoiled, unwasted.  We have the chance, once again, to be the people we most want to be, to start anew.

‘Tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions.

There is a reason so many people start diets, or exercise routines, or blogs at this time of the year.  Anything seems possible right now.  We make plans, join gyms, and sign up for marathons.  We envision ourselves as better people at the end of the next year.  I am in favor of writing some resolutions, but I am more in favor of setting some goals.

To me, a resolution is about deciding to do or not to do a particular thing.  I have not had soda since November 1st, and I have resolved to stick with that for at least six months.  I have a friend who has resolved to not eat sweets for a full year.  Setting these expectations for ourselves can help define our behavior and set us on a path to new and healthier habits. Sometimes we are more likely to stick with resolutions if they are about moderation- not all or nothing- by the way.  Drink less soda.  Eat fewer sweets.

A goal, in contrast, is a desired result.  It is not about going to the gym.  It is about being healthy.  It is not about publishing a blog.  It is about sharing your voice.  Goals can transform who we are. How do you want to be different in a year?  Set your 2016 goals around that.

Write your resolutions down, seal them in an envelope, and vow to open them on December 31, 2016.  Select your one word based on Jon Gordon’s book and put it in a frame to look at everyday.  Take action right now before the year gets away from you.  Intentional choices to make 2016 better, to make yourself better, will pay dividends all year.

Happy New Year My Friends!  I hope that 2015 brought you joy and that 2016 brings you to new adventures, old friends, and the life you’ve always imagined.

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