Saturday, 1 January 2011
To Resolve or not to Resolve
Such occasions haven't always fallen on the first of January. When I was teaching it would often be the last day of the school year, when I would look back over the many ways in which I felt I had fallen short and failed the children or students I had been teaching and determine that the following year would be the year when I would get it right. The fact that I came back and made that same resolution over and over again is evidence enough that I never did get it right and being realistic I was probably being more than optimistic thinking that I ever would. Teaching is one of those jobs where however much you put into it there is always more, and more than more, that you could do.
So, perhaps I should not be considering making any New Year's resolutions at all but just let the year unfold as it will? I don't think I could bear that. Imagine not hoping that you could make your life at least a little better in just one aspect. Surely, that has to be the perfect recipe for depression? If I was challenged then the one thing I know I would claim is that I want to use my time more productively in the coming year than I have done over the last twelve months, but as a resolution that is no use at all, far too woolly and with no hope of measuring any sort of success. What I need to do is find a way of turning that generalisation into meaningful specifics.
However, if I try and tie myself to too many objectives then I know that I'm doomed to failure; perfection is unlikely to be achieved in an afternoon. So what I've decided to try is creeping up on myself bit by bit, one resolution this month and if when I get to the end of January there seems to have been an improvement, then adding in another and just seeing how we go. As a starting point I'm going to try each day to read the same book for an hour without allowing myself to be distracted and without having the radio on. I ask you, how can I possibly hope to concentrate on what I'm reading when there is another voice battering away in my head? If I can get to the end of the month and find that I've managed to make that a habit then I'll think about where to go next. Maybe, just maybe, this might be the year when the guide turns out to have been worth listening to.