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Dec 31

Chris Smeaton

Not another New Year’s resolution

You can probably tell from the title that I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. It really doesn’t make sense to me to wait until the beginning of a new year to change some aspect of your life. Why is January 1st so important? Didn’t we want to have a healthier lifestyle, lose weight, learn to play the piano sometime during this past year? Haven’t you heard this before, “I’m just waiting until the new year to begin my new diet!” I always chuckle at the increase in the number of people at the gym in January coming with their new resolutions! Usually by February, they have lost their “resolution” motivation.

I’m not against people becoming more active, living a healthier lifestyle or just being a better person. What I’m against is leaving that change to the beginning of the new year. The fact of the matter is it should happen today and any other “today” throughout the year. All of us and society in general can ill afford to put off necessary changes until the “new” year.

Probably because of my work in education, I’m a strong believer in the concept of continuous improvement. It is a term that fits all situations. As individual professionals we are continually honing our craft. As a school system, we have a continual focus on improving student learning. It is irrelevant as to the starting point, only the movement from that point. Strong or weak school systems can engage in continuous improvement. It is universal!  

Whether it be one’s soul or one’s ability, it is never a wasted effort to focus on improvement. By focusing on improvement we heighten the importance of the journey and not just the destination. Quite honestly, it is the journey that is far more important than the destination. Continuous improvement allows us to falter or to miss a step. It is not about where we started but where we have travelled to and therefore it is considered ongoing and everlasting.

If you have committed to making a change on January 1st then do so! But look at your change as part of a long journey that you will travel. Welcome the challenges you will face, the obstacles to overcome and the hills you will climb. Accept that the path will sometimes be smooth but more often rocky. Understand that your progress will stall and you will often take two steps backwards before you can take a giant step forward. Enjoy the rough terrain of the path with its many twists and turns.

If you must have a New Year’s resolution this year, make it the beginning of your continuous improvement journey… forever. Begin building your legacy today and don’t ever stop, because it is not okay to just wait until the new year!

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