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A New Year is what? A label given to signify a break between two chronological phases? The period to reflect on what has passed? An opportunity to start afresh? In education we are blessed with two new years, the 1stJanuary and the start of the new academic year in September. At either of those new years it is tempting, even expected, that resolutions will be made.

The OED defines a resolution as: ‘a thing resolved on, an intention’.

Two pre-conditions exist before making a resolution. Firstly, there must be an awareness that something should be changed. Secondly, there must be a willingness to make that change. By grabbing a glorious resolutions we might feel virtuous and ambitious for a short period of time but the lack of real commitment to change will soon lead to the resolution faltering.

The psychologist James Prochaska noted that in any talking therapy or coaching model the degree of change that is achieved is dependent on the right model being applied at the right time. At the start of a New Year it is tempting to think in terms of substantial goals but it may be more appropriate and effective to focus on micro-resolutions. These may be aimed at single, small issues, but applied regularly they will, like the turning of a super tanker, result in significant change over time.

Make a resolution to apply the daily planning tool at the start of every day. A micro-resolution to make big changes in little steps.

Daily planning tool.

Step one: What must I do today?

Step two: How can I make this easier for myself?

Step three: What needs to happen first?

Step four: What needs to happen second?

Step five: What needs to happen third?

Step six: How will I reward myself for achievement?

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