I recently found some “Happy New Year’s” cards I bought last winter during a bout of optimism about my ability to send them out during the busy holiday season. After kicking myself for not using them, I realized that New Year’s really doesn’t have that much significance in my world. Sure you put on awesome hats and enjoy some bubbly, but the time of year that really gets me reflecting and planning for the future is the new school year.
So in celebration of that, I’m planning (and we’ll see if I get it done this time) to send out my forgotten cards with the word “school” added to them in celebration of one of my favorite holidays “Happy New School Year.” Sure there’s less countdowns and parties, but there’s more getting a brand new set of chart paper markers and even a fresh planner!
In celebration of the new year, this week is dedicated to some ideas to get us all off to a strong start. Here’s #1:
1. Start a new habit
One of the top books for the beach this summer was Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit and there’s good reason for its popularity. Habits both keep us going and slow us down so figuring out how to gain control over your habits – drop the bad, build up the good – is pretty enticing. Want to add an awesome habit to your routine in 14-15? Here’s how it works according to Duhigg:
If you want to start running each morning, it’s essential that you choose a simple cue (like always lacing up your sneakers before breakfast or leaving running clothes next your bed) and a clear reward (such a midday treat, a sense of accomplishment from recording your miles, or the endorphin rush you get from a jog). But countless studies have show that a cue and a reward, on their own, aren’t enough for a new habit to last. Only when your brain starts expecting the reward – craving the endorphins or sense of accomplishment – will it become automatic to lace up your jogging shoes each morning. The cue, in addition to triggering a routine, must also trigger a craving for the reward to come.
Got it? Remember to start with a cue and a reward. Overtime these will build to create craving. Once you have craving, you have habit! (That explains why I’m always looking for chocolate in the afternoon).
What’s my new habit for the new school year? Exactly the example Duhigg gives – running every morning. Day 1 down. 65 more to go! (It takes an average of 66 days to create a new habit). Wish me luck. What will yours be?
My sixth graders are going to write a 6th grade survival guide next week. As a follow-up, I am going to have them write New Year Resolutions for the start of the new school year. Thanks for the idea.