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:
- Set Goals the SMART way. Make goals be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
- Practice self-regulation.
- Identify and engage your strengths of processing, learning, memory and character.
- Create individualized strategies for the way you learn most efficaciously, and make these habits of mind and action.
- Develop grit and perseverance.
- Learn optimism-building resilience skills.
- 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:
- A positive school climate predicts teacher and student satisfaction, lower stress levels, and better school results. (Sangsue and Vorpe, 2000)
- 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)
- 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.