Weekend Wonderings: What Are Your BIG Blue-Sky Resolutions?

As the first week back at school for most people winds to a close, it’s time to take a breath and reflect back on the first days of 2016. How are those resolutions coming along? Are you working on one resolution at a time or are you trying to tackle all your goals at once? No matter your approach, this time of year is a great time to check in and consider the things about which you want to be resolute.

Resolutions and Goals—Three Basic Types
There are three basic types of goals and resolutions:

  1. Things you want to START doing. (Do you want to start running, start sleeping more, start eating more healthfully, or start helping others? These are START goals.)
  2. Things you want to STOP doing. (Do you want to stop smoking, stop eating junk food, stop complaining or seeing your cup as half empty? These are STOP goals.)
  3. Things you want to KEEP doing. (Many people overlook this type of goal because it’s easy to forget that some things you are doing, past goals you have mastered, are still goals because you want to continue to do them. These goals take time, energy, and still count! Do you want to keep up your walking routine, keep saving money each month, or keep your closet organized? These are KEEP goals.)

BIG and Beyond the Basics
In addition to my own “get healthier” resolution that means I will STOP eating gluten, KEEP up my walking plan, and START getting more sleep, I also have one really BIG blue-sky resolution for 2016. Most people do. Many people segment this goal from the others because it feels BIG, really big. It may be a goal related to your family, your work, or your interests. For some people, a BIG blue-sky resolution is often connected to all of the BIG and important aspects of your life. These goals don’t stop, start, or keep going—instead, they are ONGOING.

My BIG Blue-Sky Resolution
To help you see what I mean, here’s my BIG blue-sky resolution for 2016: I will focus even more of my own time directly helping teachers help themselves and their students. My BIG blue-sky resolution for 2016 is to capture the Teacher Peach spark on a bigger national level so that teachers all over the country feel terrific about the important work they have chosen to do—and help me to create products that add even more value to them.

In 2016, I want to create even more products that will help teachers exhibit even deeper pride in the teaching profession. Does sporting one of our snazzy tote bags or using the motivating certificates and note cards we create for teachers really make a difference? We hope so. Teachers do tell us that our products do make a difference. I know that the more teachers are excited about our products and are willing to contribute by reviewing product ideas, making new product suggestions, critiquing our work in progress, and helping us shape the types of products we create, another part of my BIG 2016 goal, the more our products will help teachers. That’s why I’m determined to directly and personally ask, listen to, and connect with more teachers than ever before in 2016. (That’s also why I’m going on record here by sharing my goal with you now. Want to talk and connect? Comment below or email me at randi@teacherpeach.com!)

Stories That Matter About Products That Help
Knowing that Teacher Peach products matter to both teachers and their students is something we often discover in small, anecdotal ways. One story illustrates this better than many others—and it is a story that keeps me going.

You Made a Great Choice CardsI’d given a teacher two free samples of our “You made a great choice!” card, just to try it. All I asked of her in return was to tell me how she used them and if she thought they were valuable to her students. I didn’t hear from her for a long time. I thought she’d forgotten or perhaps hadn’t yet used the cards.

One day, months later, I got a note from her. She told me that right after we met, she had given one of the cards to a child in her class who had struggled with reading. He was really beginning to decode more complex words with less help and she was so pleased with his progress. She decided to tell him quietly, by giving him this card, reminding him to take the time to decode, and that she noticed his efforts to do this in small group.

Her note went on to say that the little boy had since left her class. He was sent to live with relatives in another city because his family had been living in a local shelter temporarily. When he came to say goodbye, she told him that he was a good reader and to remember to take each word apart, just as they’d been doing. “Like you said in the card?” At first, she didn’t know what he meant, but he reminded her about the “great choice” card she had given him months before.

As he was walking out of her classroom, he turned. He said he kept the card along with an old watch from his grandmother, in a red box that he kept wrapped up in his sweatshirt for safekeeping. He told her he looked at the card every day before school, that no one had ever given him anything like that before, and he was going to keep it forever.

The teacher apologized for not writing sooner and said she thought I might like to know that card certainly helped one little boy. As for the other copy of the card I had given her? She gave it right back: she used it to write her note to me. Needless to say, I then sent her several sets for her desk drawer. This is the kind of story that helps us figure out how to help teachers reach their students.

More Positives to Come!
Stories like this one and my BIG blue-sky resolution are behind our upcoming launch of more and more teacher products that are designed for teachers to give directly to students. Our new line of amazing Sticker Treats™ motivational stickers help teachers share positives and foster greater confidence in their students—easily, economically, and effectively.

In the coming weeks, I’ll introduce this series in a post or two so you can see how you might use these stickers in your classrooms. From 100 Days, Happy Birthday, Teamwork, Anti-Bullying, and more, you’ll find many Sticker Treats™ to help your students know that their good choices do matter—and they do, too. In the meantime, here’s a preview. (The images below are the proofs of the stickers. The stickers come 15 stickers to a sheet and each sticker is 1-1/2” in diameter.) 

Teacher Peach Sticker Treats Bully Free Zone Teacher Peach Sticker Treats Did My Best Teacher Peach Sticker Treats First 100 Days Teacher Peach Sticker Treats Happy Birthday Teacher Peach Sticker Treats I Care Teacher Peach Sticker Treats Last Day of School Teacher Peach Sticker Treats Wow Bravo Teacher Peach Sticker Treats Wow Great Team

My BIG blue-sky resolution for 2016 is to help teachers reach and positively impact more students as we support one another and continue to do challenging work with and for the most important people in our lives—our kids! Enjoy a great weekend. Let us know about your BIG blue-sky resolutions. If there’s a Teacher Peach product we can dream up to help you achieve your goals, we hope you’ll share that too!

Achieve New Year’s Resolutions with 365 Slices!

New Year’s resolutions are great in theory. Often made with the fresh determination that comes with the start of a new calendar year, we resolve to BE and DO better in specific areas of life that matter to us. We often reflect on our big priorities and set lofty goals about which we plan to be resolute. Yet, after just months or weeks, and for some resolutions, even after only a few days, we abandon many of these meaningful resolutions. The year is just five days old and already some resolutions have already been broken. Why?

It’s not in the timing of the resolutions that often sets us up for resolution failure. Nor does it stem from the resolutions themselves. Most resolutions are quite worthy of achieving. Take a look at this list, culled from various top resolutions lists. As you’ll quickly see, though, each of these top 12 resolutions is REALLY BIG.

  1. Enjoy life to the fullest.
  2. Lose weight and get fit through a healthier lifestyle.
  3. Spend more time with family and friends.
  4. Save more money, spend less money.
  5. Pay down or get out of debt.
  6. Quit smoking, drinking, or other bad habits.
  7. Learn something new and different.
  8. Travel to new and exciting places.
  9. Be less stressed.
  10. Volunteer.
  11. Get organized.
  12. Fall in love, meet soul mate.

Are any of these resolutions on your list? Resolutions by their very nature are big undertakings. As a result, resolutions can be tough to parse into simple actionable items. To be achieved, even big resolutions need to be integrated into whatever you need to get done next Thursday, as it were. Just how does your to-do list for the coming week incorporate a potential desire to enjoy life to the fullest while spending more time with family and friends, learning something new in an exotic new place where you can lose weight, pay down your debt, reduce your stress and volunteer, all while being totally organized? With resolutions of this scale, of course many of us will abandon ship. As these top 12 resolutions show, it’s easy to make grand resolutions. As our track records show, it’s just as easy to consistently fall short of implementing them.

Two Reasons Why Resolutions Erode
Two factors enter into resolution erosion. First, we tend to set ourselves up with too many different big resolutions at once. In recent blog posts, we shared strategies to tackle one resolution at a time, working to master one resolution before moving onto the next. Even if your resolutions are pint-sized compared to these MEGAlutions, trying to accomplish multiple resolutions at once can be too much for lots of us.

The second reason resolutions erode so quickly is not about WHEN we decide to work on them, simultaneously or sequentially. It’s also not about WHAT the resolutions themselves may be about; if it matters to you, it is a worthwhile resolution. The second reason resolutions erode is because of HOW we tackle them.

Would you ever attempt to eat an entire 10-pound salami in one bite? Hardly. Big goals need to be parsed into smaller, doable steps. By slicing big resolutions into smaller pieces, many of us will do a better job of integrating big goals into day-to-day life. Even smaller slices need to be actionable. For example, if you want to live a healthier life in 2016, many smaller actionable steps need to be part of this resolution, from cleaning out your pantry to replacing your running shoes.

365 Slices Mean 365 Fresh Starts
I use an approach that I’ve dubbed 365 Slices. Each of the 365 days of this coming year becomes a clean slate. Even when the day’s actions are a total bust when compared to longer-term goals, to quote Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”

It’s helpful when the everyday actions and choices that fill our to-do lists align directly to the big priorities and resolutions that matter most. Connecting the dots between the resolution (WHAT) and its implementation (HOW) helps you to achieve more. When you take even one action each day that brings you closer to the resolution you’re focusing on, you make actionable progress.

Each day, work to include even just one action that aligns to one of your big priorities for the year. For example, getting to the school concert for your children, no matter what is going on at work that day is an example of connecting dots on a resolution of Family First. Think of each day as a sort of Etch-a-Sketch, with the chance to erase the day that’s over and begin with a clean slate the next day. Each day is a new opportunity to get closer to and make progress on your big goals.

The High Five on Which I Strive!
I distill my resolutions into five main categories: Family, Health, Biz 1, Biz 2, and Future. Each day I make my to-do list. Much is tied directly to daily activities, but by being mindful of my bigger resolutions, I often slip in an extra walk, plan ahead to get to the school event, or simply plan a free night to be open to whatever family situation might be happening.

I typically have more to do than is feasible to complete in one day. Comparing the items on my list to my five categories helps me make better choices. When I take the extra few seconds to connect the dots between my to-dos and my big resolutions, I prioritize more effectively.

365 Slices WorksheetThis method also helps me reflect back on a weekly basis. When I notice days slipping by without checking a “connect-the-dots” box that links a daily action to a bigger resolution, it’s a wake-up call.

As you jump back into your first days of school after Winter Break, try using this PDF—created by the Teacher Peach designers at the PeachQuotes Studio—for your to-do list, even for a few days. See what you notice and of course, let us know. Feel free to modify this form, share it, and experiment with other ways to connect-the-dots between your big resolutions and your day-to-day activities and must-do tasks. And remember, each new day is a fresh start!