8 Unbreakable Teacher New Year's Resolutions

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LAST UPDATED: November 11, 2022
As we enter the new year, it's time to start thinking about setting New Year's resolutions. Winter break is the perfect time to reflect on what changes you want to make in your personal and school life.

Keep reading to find out how to set your teacher New Year's resolutions. You'll also learn tips for sticking with them all year long.

teacher new year's resolutions

Why Should I Set New Year's Resolutions?

New Year's resolutions can be as simple as setting a word to focus on for the upcoming year or as complicated as setting and detailing a number of goals you want to achieve. Setting these resolutions can help you dig deep and focus on ways to improve as a teacher.

As you write your New Year's Resolutions, you can answer some hard questions and explore ways to improve your life in and out of the classroom. They can help you gain traction in your teaching, be more patient, incorporate more self-care into your daily schedule, or connect with your hard-to-reach students. Whatever resolutions you choose, remember that they're yours and no one else's. So as you read through the teacher's New Year's resolution suggestions, consider the ones that will have the most meaning and impact in your life.

What Steps Should I Take to Set New Year's Resolutions?

When you're ready to sit down and start making your New Year's resolutions, here are some steps to help you.

Step 1: Think about your life. Ask yourself questions about this past year. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • What caused you stress this year?
  • What were some things that went well this year? How can you make these things continue?
  • What were some things that didn't go well this year? How can you make changes to improve these things?

Step 2: Get out a piece of paper and a pen. Create a list by labeling the paper from 1-5. Then, start writing down the goals you want to achieve. You can either put your teaching and personal goals on one list or create two separate lists.

Make sure you write your resolutions down rather than just keeping them in your head. Put that paper in a place where you can see it daily. This will remind you to keep working on them all year long.

Our Self-Care, Mindfulness and Gratitude Journal for Teachers would be a really great place to start if you want to take some all-important time for self-care and mindfulness.

What Are Good New Year's Resolutions for School?

Let's start by looking at New Year's resolutions to help you become a better teacher, whether you're an elementary, middle school, or high school teacher. Reflect on the things going well in your classroom this school year and what you want to improve as you head into the new year.

Resolution #1 - Learn New Strategies for Differentiation

One of the biggest challenges as a teacher is meeting the needs of all your students. They come to you with different amounts of background knowledge and gaps in their learning.

The best way to close these gaps is through differentiation. Make a New Year's resolution to learn new ways to differentiate your lessons. Start by choosing one area to focus on first. For example, if your students struggle in math, try incorporating guided math groups into your instruction. If reading is a challenge, strategy groups can help you meet the needs of your students. If your students need help with social-emotional learning, use these tips to add them to your lessons.

Taking these steps in your classroom will help all the learners in your class succeed and keep them on track for the new year.

"Your peers, administrators, and students recognize your perseverance and hard work. So it's time you focus on the positives and realize what a big difference you make in your students' lives."

Resolution #2: Plan Engaging Lessons

If you're starting to feel bored with the lessons you're teaching, or the material seems dry, now is the perfect time to set a New Year's resolution to add more engaging lessons to your lesson plans. Start by choosing one subject area that you want to revamp. Then, look ahead to see what you will be teaching in January. Next, think of ways you can make those lessons more engaging. For example, you could integrate more technology, plan more problem-solving lessons, do more hands-on activities, or collaborate with other classes on a project.

If you're looking for more engaging units for your students, TeacherVision is filled with them. Check out the Project-Based Learning hub. Not only will the lessons be fun for your students, but they will also save you hours of planning time. They include everything you need to implement the lessons in your classroom.

Resolution #3 - Create Realistic Goals

When setting goals for yourself and your students, make sure they are realistic. While SMART goals still need to be "smart" for our evaluations, it is also important to give yourself a little wiggle room or refocus your goals, so they are flexible enough to fit the evolving learning environment.

When setting goals for yourself as an educator, sit down with a colleague, mentor, content coach, curriculum coordinator, or even the evaluator who will be scoring you on the evaluation rubric. This way, you can discuss your goals before solidifying them in writing and committing to things that may be difficult - or even impossible - to meet.

Resolution #4 - Focus on the Wins, not the Losses

We all want to be the best teachers possible, so when things don't go the way we want them to, we tend to focus on the negatives. We dwell on the curriculum we didn't get to, the follow-up we didn't have the opportunity to do with our students or their parents, and lessons that didn't go according to the plan.

Instead of fixating on what you didn't accomplish, focus on what you did get through and the impact you made on your students. Believe it or not, your peers, administrators, and students recognize your perseverance and hard work. So it's time you focus on the positives and realize what a big difference you make in your students' lives.

"Disconnect from social media and do things you enjoy, like taking a walk or going to the spa."

What Are Good New Year's Resolutions for Your Personal Life?

Just like you set New Year's Resolutions for teaching, it's also essential to set goals for your personal life. Think about what is going well for you at home and what things you want to change for the new year.

Resolution #5 - Find a Balance Between Work and Home

If it feels like you are always working, you can set a resolution to find a better work/life balance. Set boundaries, and limit the amount of time you spend on school work at home.

Use your time at school to get most of your planning and grading done. If you have to take work home, limit yourself to an hour or two. Then, put all of your school materials away and be present for your spouse and kids.

You should also try to build in some "Me Time." Disconnect from social media and do things you enjoy, like taking a walk or going to the spa. This alone time will help to improve your mental health and well-being. Head over to our Self-Care Strategies Hub to discover many ways to build self-care into your daily routine.

Resolution #6 - Reconnect with Family Members and Friends

Personal relationships often get put on the back burner when we're busy teaching. We don't take the time to call or meet up with family members or friends. Now is the perfect time to start reconnecting and rebuilding those relationships.

You can get started by calling someone you haven't talked to for a while. This small step will make you realize how much you missed the interactions with your family and friends. Then, you can plan an outing with some of your friends. For example, go to dinner together or have a party at someone's house. These social activities will help relieve stress and show you that you have a strong support system.

"Remember to give yourself lots and lots of grace. If you don't achieve the goals you've set, you can always set new ones."

Resolution #7: Take Better Care of Yourself

This is one of the most common New Year's resolutions every year, but it can be challenging to keep. As teachers, we tend to put others' needs above our own. It's time to start focusing on you. Set a New Year's resolution to lose weight, eat healthier, or exercise more. Then, plan the steps that will help you achieve your goal.

Start by setting a measurable goal. How many pounds do you want to lose? How many servings of fruits or vegetables do you want to eat daily? How long will you exercise each week?

Once you have the answer to your question, make a plan to help you succeed. For example, you can spend time cutting your fruits and vegetables over the weekend, so it's easy to grab them on your way out the door in the morning. Then, have one before school, one during special, and one during lunch. You may want to exercise for 30 minutes a day, so you will get up earlier to go to the gym.

I like to put a star on the calendar each day I achieve my goal. That way, I have a visual reminder that I'm progressing toward my big resolution.

Resolution #8: Check Something Off Your Bucket List

Pull out that list of things you've always wanted to do. Maybe you want to go on a special vacation or try something new, like parasailing. Put it on your calendar, and start saving money.

Not only will this give you something to look forward to, but it will also give you something exciting to share with your students. My daughter came home the other day excited to tell me that her teacher showed them pictures of the time she went skydiving. Your students will love hearing about your adventures, and sharing these experiences with them will help you build stronger relationships.

How Can You Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions All Year?

After you've made your list, it's time to achieve your goals. How many times have you made resolutions and then gotten to the end of the year and realized that you didn't stick with them? (I'm sure I'm not alone here!)

While making your list, ensure the resolutions you're setting are specific and actionable and easy enough to achieve. Only set goals that you'll meet. That will just lead to frustration and a feeling of failure. Also, don't overwhelm yourself with too many resolutions.

Remember to give yourself lots and lots of grace. If you don't achieve the goals you've set, you can always set new ones. You don't know where you'll be 11 months from now or what your students will need from you. You will also change as a person. So, instead of beating yourself up for straying from your resolutions, set new ones that reflect what you need at that time.

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