I’m not a big fan of huge New Year’s resolutions. Most made are doomed to failure. It may be because as a teacher, a new year for me was the academic new year. I needed to start as I meant to go on. I never did.
Inevitably workload, sickness, parents’ evenings or late-night meetings would get in the way of going to Pilates, jive or pottery. All things I started but never finished although I really enjoyed them. Once the kids came along it was impossible to make any kind of personal goals whilst juggling full time working in schools and being a parent. But with a lifestyle shift (I quit full time work and set up as an Education Consultant last year) and a mind shift, it’s time for me.
I’m a great believer in marginal gains. Little tweaks in accumulation can have a big impact. I used to do that with my teaching practice. Tried one thing new, if it worked maybe tweak it and embed it into my practice then try another thing. So why not do that in life??
At one point in my life, my goal was to lose a stone. I was going to go to the gym 3 times a week, take up swimming, eat less rubbish and drink less alcohol, but drink more water. It seemed like such a huge mountain to climb. I ended up not bothering to do anything. I kept putting it off and it felt like a huge weight (excuse the pun) on my mind that I should be doing something.
Now, my attitude towards my life and health goals are similar to my teaching goals. I’ll make little tweaks that will make a big difference over time. So, here are my Teacher5aDay pledges –
#Connect – I have had an amazing summer. The most relaxing in years. It helps that the kids are a little older and not as needy and dependent. It also helps that my boys (3 & 6) are happy entertaining each other. But, the most lasting memory of this summer is the time I have spent with my family and friends. I have laughed a lot and I want to keep that feeling going. Instead of saving seeing friends till the school holidays I’m going to arrange gatherings during term time. So, I can have a little piece of the summer dotted around the year.
#Notice – I’m going to make more of an effort in noticing when I am putting undue pressure on myself. If I hear, my inner voice say ‘I should be….’ I’ll question it. According to whom? Whose voice is in my head?? Should I be? Do I want to?? Do I need to?
#Exercise – I started the Couch to 5K in the spring and by the middle of the summer had completed the programme and managed to run 5K in 30 minutes. Then the holidays, going away, having the kids, I lost my rhythm and mojo for running. I’m going to get back to it from next week, starting in the middle of the programme again so that I don’t put too much pressure on myself. The key thing is getting out there again. My goal now isn’t to lose 2 stone (yes I really do) but to go for a run 3 times a week and embed that into my week. This will build up my stamina and it’s also free :D
#Learn – I sing in a musical theatre choir. I’ve sung in some sort of choir since I was 7. But this is not like anything I’ve ever done before. We sing, we act, we dance. We have a lot of fun. But I’d like to learn how to use my voice in different ways. I’m going to work with a friend of mine who is a voice coach to see what my voice can do.
#Volunteer – I do a lot of this. I’m a network leader for WomenEd, an ambassador for the GEC, an advocate and coach for the MTPT project, on the SMSC Steering group and now on the Teacher5aDay steering group. I volunteer quite a bit of my time to these organisations that I’m passionate about. It can be considered selfish as supporting these organisations and causes makes me feel good. I do give a lot of my time, but it is worth it to support these great causes. So, I will continue to volunteer.
At the beginning of last year I insisted as a mum, owning her own business, working only 2 days a week, there is no way I have time for me. After a bit of a meltdown with overstretching myself and not heeding my own advice to others on putting my own oxygen mask on first, I joined the choir. I rarely miss rehearsals and there are quite a number of performances per term. I now also try to run three times a week. I read more, spend more time with my friends and don’t put as much pressure on myself. This is still a work in progress but for me the key thing is that I was wrong. I do have time for me. Time for me benefits everyone – my kids, partner and especially me!
I'll leave you with an important quote:
“Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls-- family, health, friends, integrity-- are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”
What tweaks will you make?
If you are not familiar with the teacher five-a-day initiative that was devised by Martyn Reah you can use the link below to see to learn what it’s all about and to consider ways in which you could participate: