I love the fresh start the new year brings. I usually make New Year’s resolutions or chose “one word” for the year to guide all of my thoughts and actions. Yet, I always fall down while chasing my goal. Literally and figuratively.
One day, when I was a super cool 19-year-old bank teller on my lunch break, I was walking by the big windows of a packed Subway restaurant. I had a little strut in my step (picture John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever) and I swung my hair back as I passed all those admiring eyes. Then, just as I was in the middle of the huge bank of floor-to-ceiling windows, I slipped on some ice and fell flat on my face. I remember laying there for a moment, contemplating never getting up.
But I did. I got up, I brushed the snow off my pants, and continued my walk in a much more sheepish manner.
Here are a few truths:
First, I was not super cool. The diners in that Subway restaurant were not staring at me through the window with dropped jaws as lettuce fell out of their mouths, in disbelief at the amazingness walking by.
Second, likely nobody was even looking because their world does not revolve around me. Everyone is in their own head thinking about their own stuff. It is safe to assume that people are never thinking about you, because 99% of the time you will be right.
Third, if someone was watching, wouldn’t it have been so much more delightful if I bopped back up and continued my walk in the same John Travolta manner? Life is too short to let a little fall slow you down. Everyone falls, some just a little more frequently.
Applying these ideas to goals for the new year can be helpful–we are not so cool that everyone is watching us, they don’t even really care about us because they are usually thinking about themselves, and we will fall, but we can use that as a catalyst to pursue our goals with even more fervor.
This year, I am trying something different. My New Year’s resolution will not be a goal. It will not be “one word”. If those strategies work for you, go for it. I admire people who can set goals for the new year and even remember them come March.
Instead, my New Year’s resolution will be a playlist of songs that reflect the values I will focus on this year–my “Person I want to be in 2018” playlist. Songs to be played when I am getting ready in the morning, when I am doing mundane jobs like the dishes, when I am exercising. I will make Musical.ly videos to these songs. I will play them on my JammyPack at school for staff and students. They will be etched into the fabric of my every day, helping to point me in the direction I want to go.
Without even knowing it, I already did this in 2017. You see, this is not a playlist I will create in a frenzy over Christmas break. This is a playlist that grows and changes over the course of the year. It could start with one song and be slowly developed by adding others. Some songs are suggested by friends who know me well. Some songs are old, some are new. But they all have one thing in common–they inspire me to move toward becoming the person I want to be.
Everyday I want to be worthy of the trust that Quincy staff members put in me. I want to be deserving of the hundreds of hugs I get from students every week. I want to be the mom that my sons deserve. And, I want to be the best partner I can be to my husband. What that takes changes on a daily basis, based on what others need me to be. I want to be strong, optimistic, creative, and focused on relationships so I can be what they need me to be everyday. Except the days I fall. Those days, I will jump back up and be even better than before.
Here are a few songs from my 2017 playlist. Feel free to steal them for your “Person I want to be in 2018” playlist.
Rather Be by Clean Bandit
The concept seems so simple: help everyone feel like there is no place you’d rather be than right there with them. Whether you are a principal doing a classroom observation, a teacher helping a student with a problem that seems insignificant to you, or a parent needing to put the device down so you are fully present with your own children–be right where you are. Mentally and physically.
Rise Up by Andra Day
We get broken down and tired…but we rise up each day and walk into the school with a bounce in our step and a smile on our face. Because in order to move mountains we have to believe in ourselves. Teachers need principals to believe in their power. Then, they can believe in the power of their students. Rise up, rise like the day. Every day. Even in the middle of February.
Give Love by Andy Grammer
Be a sunshine soldier and give love to all of your people. We are blessed by the breath deep inside us, and we need to give love so much more than we get love. In school, our families need love, our students need love, and we definitely need to give love to our colleagues. Focusing on giving love will bring exponentially more love into our lives than focusing on getting love.
Road Less Traveled by Lauren Alaina
You won’t make yourself a name if you follow the rules, history is made when you are acting a fool. Trust your rebel heart, and do what is right for your students always. Don’t be afraid to take the road less traveled. Dream big, take risks, fall on your face once in a while. But most of all, don’t settle for easy. Don’t settle for “the way we have always done it”. Make history.
Merry Merry Christmas to my readers. I am so blessed by you. The joy of reflecting through writing has been such a gift to me for the past couple years. My wish for you is that the year ahead is the best year of your life. Watch out 2018!
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