Review of 2017

And another year draws to a close and once again I find myself sat down reflecting on the year which has passed.   This time as I sit down, I do so in my own new house having only recently relocated.   This alone is a nice feeling as for the last 10 years I have been either in company provided accommodation while in the UAE, or in rented accommodation.   To actually be able to talk about “my home” is a nice feeling and a nice way to finish the year, albeit I do admit to a highly stressful period of moving plus also a number of trials and tribulations throughout the year in relation to getting to where I am now.

Looking back to the broad targets I set myself back a year ago then, one of the first targets I set myself was to #BeHappy.    Am not sure I can look back and confirm that I have been happy this year.   I can recount some moments, but can recount more moments of stress, anger, etc.   This may relate to the ease with which we seem (or maybe just I seem) to be able to draw to mind negative events over positive events.   Taking a narrow perspective on my review of the year helps here if I change the question to one of, am I happy with what I have achieved this year.    This revised question is more positive focussed and leads to me considering the fact I have bought a house, recently passed my CISSP exam, oversaw very successful project work and also received largely very positive feedback from colleagues and students.    I suppose there is always room to be “more” happy however it is key to admit that this is seeking the perfect lives which TV and Movies might contain, situations which are impossible to achieve in this chaotic ever changing world.

#BeConnected was my 2nd target and this year I am reasonably happy with my connectedness.   It hasn’t been consistent during the year, with the first half of the year seeing me significantly more involved than the later half however this was due largely to prioritisation and other workload related issues.   During the year I managed to finally meet a number of people I have followed, and conversed with on twitter, in person.   This included Mark Anderson (@ictEvangilist), Stephen Tierney (@leadinglearner), Kate Jones (@87History), Andy Cope (@beingbrilliant) and Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) to name but a few.  It is always nice to be able to meet in person and I snagged a signed copy of Steve Wheelers book in the process.

#Toexperiment was my third target and I am not sure I experimented either to the extent or in the way I had hoped.   I think this may be something I need to take forward into the year ahead.

#ReadReadandReadSomeMore was my third target and like #beconnected I was most successful in the first half of the year.   The later part of the year this seemed to drop away particularly as I started to focus on studying ahead of my CISSP exam.   I believe I met my planned rate of reading of 1 book per month and I plan to share my book list shortly in a separate blog.    The need to continue learning and the potential for reading to contribute to this continues to be clear in my mind so this will be definitely be something I will plan to carry into 2018.

#BeHealthy is always a target which I never fully get to drips with.   Health and exercise consistently fall low on my priority list and this year has been no exception.    This will require some detailed thought for next year in terms of if I really and committed to making progress in this area.   If not then I shouldn’t list or worry about it, however if it is something I want to achieve then I need to be firm in my commitment and on the planned strategies I intend to use in moving forward in this area.   Maybe its time to order a fitbit or similar over Christmas?

#BeFamily…….Another one which I don’t feel I made much progress on.   This is one for me to reflect on further however not one I feel able to share here at this point.   I also need to accept that I am inherently more negative focused than positive, and therefore my perception continues to err on a more negative view of what may not be negative to others.    That said, it is still an area I believe I need to work on.

2017 has been a good year in terms of what I believe I have achieved.   It has also on reflection gone very quickly which is usually a good sign in that when things go quickly I must have been engaged and focused such that I didn’t appreciate the passage of time, what Csíkszentmihályi refers to as Flow.    Having met Stephen Tierney I wonder whether the key for 2018 is to narrow my focus and focus on what is really important in 2018, discounting the items which are 7 out of 10 or 8 out of 10 in terms of importance and only listing the 9 and 10 out of 10’s?    Maybe I should establish a list of core and secondary priorities?   This is something for my next blog and for my pledges for 2018.    2017 is all but gone and I can be happy with the year.  Let’s hope that I can build on this in 2018 to have an even more successful year and maybe finally deal with the #behealthy and #befamily aspects to a level I consider acceptable.

Merry Christmas to all.



Author: garyhenderson2014

Gary Henderson is currently the Director of IT in an Independent school in the UK. Prior to this he worked as the Head of Learning Technologies working with public and private schools across the Middle East. This includes leading the planning and development of IT within a number of new schools opening in the UAE. As a trained teacher with over 15 years working in education his experience includes UK state secondary schools, further education and higher education, as well as experience of various international schools teaching various curricula. This has led him to present at a number of educational conferences in the UK and Middle East.

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