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Positive Psychology’s Seven-Up: New Year’s Resolutions for Back to School

By on August 5, 2007 – 1:00 am  6 Comments

Sherri Fisher, MAPP '06, M.Ed., Director of Learn & Flourish LLC, is a leader in the field of positive education. An education management consultant and coach, workshop facilitator and author, Sherri uses the POS-EDGE Model to incorporate research-based findings from strengths psychology and behavioral economics into positive, personalized, best-practice strategies for learning, parenting, and work. Full Bio. Sherri's articles are here.

The calendar says that January 1 is the beginning of the New Year, but for millions of U.S. school children and their families, the real New Year begins each September. Fresh from vacations and summer camp, kids will be back in the classroom.  In the southern U.S. in fact, this migration has already taken place. As a learning specialist and educational management coach, I am one of those whose New Year starts soon.

On my website is a photo of a girl sitting at a desk surrounded by numerous apparently unsuccessful writing attempts that lay wadded up around her. The caption reads, “Still trying the same approach and expecting different results? Try something new!” Positive Psychology can offer you or your child a fresh start. 

Here are the Positive Psychology “Seven-up” for a new you this “new” year:

  1. Set Goals the SMART way. Make goals be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

  3. Practice self-regulation.
  4. Identify and engage your strengths of processing, learning, memory and character.

  6. Create individualized strategies for the way you learn most efficaciously, and make these habits of mind and action.
  7. Develop grit and perseverance.
  8. Learn optimism-building resilience skills.
  9. Savor your successes!

What’s more, you can help your school become a more positive institution.  Here are just a few reasons why you want to:

  1. A positive school climate predicts teacher and student satisfaction, lower stress levels, and better school results. (Sangsue and Vorpe, 2000)
  2. Faculty who have collective efficacy (the “together we can do it!” belief) have a direct positive impact on students’ verbal, math, and science achievement. (Goddard, et al, 2004)
  3. Positive affect—happiness–likely causes success, rather than vice versa! (Lyubomirsky, et al., 2005).

Here’s to a Happy New Year! And remember that it’s not how hard you try; it’s how you try hard. Let the science of Positive Psychology help you refine your approach so that you can get more of what you want this year.  Cheers!



Goddard, R.D., LoGerfo, L. & Hoy, W.K. (2004). High school accountability: The role of perceived collective efficacy. Educational Policy, 18(3) 403-425. Abstract.

Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?. Psychological Bulletin, 131(6), 803–855.

Sangsue, J. & Vorpe, G. (2004). Professional and personal influences on school climate in teachers and pupils. Psychologie du travail et des organizations (10), 341-354.


  • Senia says:

    WONDERFUL article, Sherri! So thorough! Fun.

  • Angus says:

    Great advice Sherri

    I still think in academic years – and look forward to starting in September! Thank you for helping sharpen my pencils!
    And I have even bought a new bag.

    Flourish well

    Best aye

  • Dave Shearon says:

    I agree with Angus — this still seems like the start of a new year for me in many ways. At least partially, it seems easier to think about plans, projects, new beginnings, etc. when I’m not also just coming out of the longest holiday/vacation/event/party/family season of the year!

  • Sherri says:

    Hi, Dave and Angus–

    I have been away for a week in beautiful rural oceanside Nova Scotia where the internet and cell phone do not accompany me, so forgive my late response.

    This is a chance to step back in time, where all food is “slow”, where nearly everyone is a jack-of-all trades as well as master of many, where people are happy despite the lack of HDTV and FIOS, and where there is not a single subdivision but everyone is your neighbor.

    It’s also a chance to savor hikes that overlook ocean vistas and cliffs, breathe in the salty air from a sailboat, see 360 degrees of sunset colors from hilltops, and enjoy the Perseid metor showers bursting through the Milky Way.

    Just the thing to usher in the New Year!

    🙂 Sherri

  • […] Here are some oldies but goodies about what people said: Happiness Is … PLAY! Happiness Is … Flow Happiness Is … Learning from Adversity Happiness Is … Endorphins Happiness Is … Knowing It’ll Work out in the End – fun little one! Happiness Is … Doing New Things – see articles by me, Kathryn Britton, and Sherri Fisher Happiness Is .. Exploring Every Axis (i.e., Expectations Management) Happiness Is … Having a Tail Happiness Is… Putting Things In Motion Happiness is Memorable […]

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