21 things to have a decent crack at in 2021:

Around the turn of the new year, every new year, there seems to be an inordinate amount of self help lists published. Invariably the number of things on the lists tend to correspond to the amount of years in the new year. For example in 2007 there seemed to be lots of lists that had 7 recipes to change your life, and 7 types of people to avoid. In 2010 the lists centred on 10.

2021 was no different … there were lists of 21 things to do everywhere! Twenty-one! What the heck!

The problem with such lists is that somewhere along the line you have to be accountable to them – like New Year’s resolutions – and this often just ends up in tears and a gloomy sense of failure.

This year I thought I’d give the list a bit of the old Forty Hour Principal work over. Intentionally though, I’ve given the heading a bit of an out. I’m encouraging myself to give these a “decent crack”, in the knowledge that life has an annoying habit of coming along and bowling even the best plans out of the park.

So here we go:

  1. Give – taken straight out of the Mental Health Foundation’s Five ways to Wellbeing. Giving is the thing that tends to fall away when you’re tired, stressed and swamped. There is an amazing amount of energy that one can receive from giving, in times of struggle. And the best thing to give is time.
  2. Be Active – also from the Mental Health Foundation’s Five ways to Wellbeing. Being Active isn’t just about getting out for a run. Being active is also about getting involved and getting out of the office. The school is full of opportunities to do this daily.
  3. Connect  -take time to connect with fellow humans on all sorts of different levels. Get into the playground and find out what’s going on. 
  4. Take Notice – and be appreciative of the great stuff going on.
  5. Keep Learning – this year I’m going to focus my learning on Te Reo. I’m tired of feeling embarrassed at my inadequate attempt to engage in the wonderful indigenous language of Aotearoa New Zealand.
  6. Do 10,000 steps a day bare minimum – yes it is related to Being Active, that’s for sure. But this one is here to keep me honest. And if I can’t do 10,000 steps daily, then I’ll average 10,000 steps daily over a week. Keep moving!
  7. Rearrange my office – I’ve done this already. I moved my desk, and I’m amazed. Suddenly I have an entirely different view of many things. Instead of looking at a wall for years, I can now look out a window. Why didn’t I do this sooner! Give it a go!
  8. Let go – or at the very least, strive to let go of crap sooner than I have been. I tend to carry on with things, ruminating and worrying way beyond their use by date. 2021 I’m going to actively let go of this baggage way earlier than in the past! I’ll let you know how I get on.
  9. Take on a personal project outside of school and really commit to it. Really get passionate about it. – I was inspired by a Principal in the US recently who took on a second job stacking shelves at night. The money he earnt he donated back to those in need in the community. I’m not going anywhere near doing this! But I am going to find a passion that is just for me, and I’m going to invest time into making it come alive.
  10. Have daily “Principal Office Door is closed” time
  11. Follow Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice religiously; “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense ….”
  12. Follow Ernie my cat’s advice religiously; “Cherish today as today. Not as the today after yesterday or as the day before tomorrow.”
  13. When stuck, be bold and move from Green Eggs and Ham thinking to The Cat in the Hat thinking.
  14. Hongihongi te wheiwheia – Face with courage those unseen things that can create worry, anxiety and fear. Have all difficult decisions and difficult conversations completed by Thursday afternoon. Don’t put off things that need sorting, get it done early and leave Friday for good stuff. 
  15. Find something every day at school that I love doing at school – and do it. 
  16. Language – use language that is appropriate to the situation when things aren’t going so well. Things are seldom “a disaster”, “terrible”, “the worst thing to happen”. In fact nothing ever is.
  17. Keep my desk tidy – at time of writing I’ve done four days of a tidy, organised desk. This comes after 31 years of a untidy, bombastic like organised desk. 
  18. Seek refuge in this thought by blogger David Cain“As hard as life is, the only refuge you need, or ever have, is your own will to do what you can within your own sphere. That’s all you need to attend to, all you need to think about, all you need to get good at”
  19. Bite size – take on challenges in bite sized bits. No one eats a Big Mac burger in one bite. Apply this thinking to challenges. Break it down.
  20. Enjoy the little things – not all that glitters is gold. Most of the stuff that glitters is right in front of you and you don’t have to look far. Schools are full of glitter – both metaphorically and literally!
  21. Leave it at the gate – give myself permission to leave school matters at the gate when I go home. Home is for home stuff, it is for family and the rest of your life. If I need to do school stuff at home then I’ll do it on my own terms, and in my own time. School will always be there tomorrow. 

And an extra for experts – 

ENJOY part two – we’re in a role that is a privilege and an honour. We daily make differences in people’s lives. That’s an amazing thing to wake up to each day. It can be a burden, but it doesn’t have to be. Get amongst it!

What would your 21 be?