What a year it has been.
As we reflect on 2020 coming to a close, we can likely all agree that it has been full of new and unexpected experiences. The whirlwind of thoughts and emotions that surround the unique challenges we have faced has possibly left us tired, confused, or simply relieved to move into a new year. . .
Though the external factors impacting our daily lives likely won’t disappear the second that the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, it is within our control to care for ourselves in new ways. The beginning of a new year can act as a marker for us to start a fresh new chapter and write intentional, well-thought out pages in our story of life. Lailah Gifty Akita says it best: “You have 365 new blank pages. What will you write on the first blank page?”.
Let’s take this year as one of immense learning and growth so we can move into this next year better than ever before, and start filling new blank pages with positive intentions that will give us a fresh start to 2021. You can follow the steps below to build out realistic and achievable goals that you can set for yourself, as a household, or in your classroom. Let’s get started!
Step One: Brainstorm
First, let’s take some time to acknowledge areas that feel lacking in our lives. Draw out 8 buckets and label each of them as noted below:
- Education & Career
- Physical Activity
- Home Cooking
- General Health
- Joy & Gratitude
- Social life, Home Environment, & Relationships
Next, place a line to fill up each bucket to your desired level – a bucket that is low represents discontent in that area of your life, and a fuller bottle represents fulfilment. Once you have filled each bottle to your desired level, take a look at where you stand with each bucket. This is your starting point and where you will be setting your intentions from moving forward. It is important to know that though we can’t change everything, small changes to better ourselves and those around us can make huge impacts.
Then, begin to write down why your bucket(s) are not full. Maybe your kids/students are struggling with motivation or listening attentively. Or maybe you haven’t taken enough time to focus on yourself and your needs. Once the brainstorming begins, setting goals will be much easier, and more effective.
For your classroom or at home, we have provided a PDF of a ‘Fill Your Bucket’ worksheet for kids. Encourage them to write things that make them happy or keep them doing well at school.
Step Two: Set Intentions Accordingly
After reviewing your buckets and reasons “why”, let’s pick a maximum of 3 buckets to work on to start, possibly the ones we feel we have the most power to impact. Then, begin writing out some small ways we can start to refill these buckets. The ones you select will be your intentions for the year. It is important to make these intentions specific and attainable. Maybe you want to set a loose timeline or recurring “check-in” for yourself, or it could be something to incorporate on a long term scale. Even small goals like making your bed each morning or putting your phone away an hour before bed can make big changes on your daily life.
If you are wishing for more classroom synergy, you could set a classroom goal to find one way each student could share kindness with a classmate with weekly reflections. You can also encourage children to make their own personal goals surrounding this. For you, it could be setting aside five minutes a day to meditate, practice mindfulness, or anything else to keep you grounded. Maybe you want to take up a new hobby or revisit one you left behind. Whatever it may be, big or small- set it and hold yourself accountable!
Below you can find a simple beginner mindfulness practice created by our co-founder. This practice is a great introduction to practicing mindfulness for all ages and is great for emotional regulation.
Step Three: Periodic Revisiting of Goals
When January hits, how will we make sure we are attaining our goals? This is where we can get creative with our own personal follow-ups, such as creating a physical reminder up on our wall at home or in our classroom, or scheduling a weekly check-in to evaluate our progress with these intentions. Accountability increases when shared with others, so with any personal goals, we can share them with someone who will hold us to them! To increase the motivation of achieving a goal in the classroom or with kids, offer a class reward if they stick to it. We can always make these check-ins fun!
Making changes in our lives takes time to incorporate, and we will likely fail at times. If things don’t fall into place right away, don’t stress! Like most things in life, practice and repetition is key to making changes and having them stick. Setting goals and intentions is a great practice year round and isn’t exclusive to New Years, but it sure seems like a great place to start! Putting this into practice year round can make a big difference in our home, classroom, and personal life.