Resolutions

As I am writing this post on New Year’s Eve it is perhaps appropriate for me to reflect back on the resolutions I made last year.  In the first assembly of the year I said the following:

“It is traditional at this time of year that people set themselves some resolutions for the new year.  I try to do this every year.  Whilst like most people I have mixed success in actually sticking with them I have in the past managed at least to stick at a good number of them.  Thus, back in 2010 I decided that I would try to write one blog post a month and I have managed this pretty much since then.  For this year, I have decided that I would like to read more and thus have set myself the modest task of reading at least one book a month, hopefully I will be able to stick to this one.  As some of you will be aware I also enjoy running so during this year I want to run at least 300 miles.  Again I have not set an impossible target but this is one I will have to work at through the year.  Another target I set last year was to reduce the number of items on my To Do list at any one stage.  As I start the new year my list is just half the length it was at this point last year and hopefully I can reduce the list still further in the coming months.”

I know through Twitter and a number of conversations that I have had that there are a few people out there who have been following my progress towards these goals so here is the final update as to where I have got to:

Blog Posts: With this post I will have written 8 this year.  Not quite at my one a month target but it has been a particularly busy year with the School’s 500th anniversary year and the extra work that this has involved did slow up my production of posts at various stages.  However, I do want to keep this going so I will repeat this aim of one a month for the coming year.

Reading: I have achieved this and am currently half way through my 14th book of the year so more than one a month!  I have enjoyed reading more this year.  The best two books I read relating to education were Quiet by Susan Cain and Multipliers by Liz Wiseman.  Susan Cain’s book was all about introverts and how they can be effective leaders and was a very inspiring read.  It made a huge amount of sense and it is a book I will return to in the future.  Multipliers is all about how to effectively distribute leadership and this has proved to be very practical in establishing the new senior management team at school.  Its basic premise is that the most effective leaders multiply the talents of those around them rather than diminish their talents through wanting to take all the glory themselves.  I guess with both of these books I enjoyed reading about styles of leadership and then reflecting on my own to further improve my practices.

The majority of my reading though has been just for pleasure and amongst the highlights here were the ‘Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet’, the Stieg Larsson trilogy, the ‘Book Thief’ and ‘The Hundred Year Old Man who climbed out the window’ as well as a recent biography of Thierry Henry.

14 books in a year is not a huge number by any measure but it is the most I have managed in a year in recent times so a successful resolution.  I intend next year to try to read two books a month so 24 in total, perhaps over ambitious but with a number on my shelf and on my ipad which have been there for a while it will be good to make a significant dent in these.

Running:  I set myself the ambitious target of running 300 miles in 2013 and with my final run of the year this morning I have fallen just short having run 267 miles this year.  Whilst a little disappointed not to have managed just 33 more I am pleased that I have managed to sustain my running this year despite how busy I have been.  Indeed, the reason for taking up running seven years ago was a training course I attended on ‘Managing People Effectively’.  As part of this course we were taught a lot on how to look after yourself so that you were more effective in your work.  At the end we had to pledge to do one thing consistently to do this and I chose to start running.  I have thus kept that particular resolution for seven years now and this sustained commitment is surely what good resolutions should be about.  I have been out for 55 runs this year.  My usual route is 5.7 miles and my best time of the year came back in October with 51 minutes 54 seconds.  I only started timing the runs in September to provide further motivation to keep going and this has proved successful although the strong winds in recent weeks have certainly slowed me up (slowest time of the year was 54.40!).

I am determined in the coming year to get up to 300 miles over the course of the year.  This year I have realised that there are a number of weekends when I am away and it is not all that practical to run so I will have to use the holiday periods to catch up more on runs missed at other times.  I have done this in the latter part of the year but just gave myself too much to do in order to quite reach the 300!

To Do List: This has been a great success and I have 100 fewer tasks on my list today than I had on the same day last year!  I have worked hard at this and now have better systems to ensure that I stay on top of the many, many tasks that I have to do more effectively. I intend to try to maintain this progress next year.

Thus, in summary my targets for 2013 were largely achieved or I got close to achieving.  The list for 2014 is as follows:

  1. Write 12 blog posts.
  2. Run 300 miles.
  3. Read 24 books.
  4. Maintain task list at no more than 50 items at any one time.
  5. Lose some weight (with all the 500th anniversary celebrations I am pleased to have ended the year weighing no more than I did at the start but I hope in the coming year to lose some!).
  6. More time with the family – 2013 with all its many demands was the busiest year of my career by some distance so hopefully 2014 will provide an opportunity for me to resume a more effective balance of my time!

I do very much appreciate that this whole post has been very self-centred.  However, I did find the motivation of having gone through last year’s list in assembly very motivating at different parts of the year so I hope that this post will serve in a similar way in the coming 12 months.  Do please use the comments section below to let me know what your own resolutions will be this coming year.