Written By: Dr. Rosemary Staley
The new year is here (finally) waiting for its story to be written and like all good stories it needs a powerful opening line. When an author nails the opening readers are drawn in, committed, and eager to read on.
There is one of the most well-known classic opening lines:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.—A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
And some newer favorites:
It was a pleasure to burn. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowlingspair. —Cha
Just as these lines set up their stories, you can set up your story of 2021. As this past year has reminded us, the story may never be completely in our control but still many of us write ambitious New Year’s resolutions or choose the growing in popularity “anti-resolutions” – small, attainable changes or goals.
This is the perfect time to reflect on the year that was and think about the year ahead. Keep yourself accountable to small and large goals by writing them down.
Your goals should be focused on what is important to you but here are a few ideas that tend to have long lasting and far-reaching effects.
Develop your vocabulary.
A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication—listening, speaking, reading and writing.
The number one way to improve your vocabulary is through reading. The more you engage with language, the more you develop your vocabulary. Even 20 minutes of reading a day will have an effect. If you really want to expand your vocabulary you should occasionally go outside your comfort zone. If you like reading fantasy try some classics or non-fiction. If you like reading crime novels, switch it up with sci-fi every now and then.
Learn something new:
- Resolve to try one new thing this year.
- Learn to cook.
- Learn about managing money.
- Learn to play chess.
- Learn to play an instrument or sport.
When you learn something new, your mind and perspectives change. Adapting to change is a skill in itself, and the more varied your life experience is, the easier it is to adapt to change. Plus, you may just find your hidden talent or new passion.
How much time do you waste looking for things? Or how many times do you forget about an assignment or task you needed to complete? You don’t have to go full Marie Kondo. Start small. Make a list of what needs to be organized. Take on one project at a time– your closet, your backpack, your car, your desk, or the pile of laundry in the corner. You may even find some items to pass on to a friend or family member or donate to a local charity.
Find a Cause
This past year inspired many to find ways to support others. It also raised the level of those who could use your support. How can you make your community a better place in 2021? Think about something you are passionate about and find a way to help. This could be as simple as helping a family member or neighbor or volunteering with an established organization.
Watch a TED Talk or Two.
TED Talks are thought-provoking talks by leaders in their fields, including scientists, actors, artists, politicians, entrepreneurs, and religious leaders, just to name a few. There are thousands of videos on a wide variety of topics and they are usually under 20 minutes.
Here are two sure to get you thinking:
After Watching This Your Brain Will Never Be the Same Dr. Lara Boyd
Do YOUR How Shar Govindan
Gratitude is pausing to notice and appreciate the things many often take for granted, like food, clean water, friends, family, even internet access. Studies over the past decade have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier. The power of writing can help you here. Write in a gratitude journal every day, just listing three things you are grateful for. You’ll probably find that you end up listing more than three.
While you can never completely know what direction your narrative will take you can decide to set goals and take consistent steps, large and small to help you meet them. Be sure to set the tone for the new year with a powerful opening line.
Happy New Year! We at Hamilton Education wish you health, happiness, and success meeting your 2021 goals.