Pledges 2022

Once again it is time to write my pledges for the year and I note this year a number of people online suggesting they won’t be sharing any pledges this year due to current pandemic situation being stressful enough, without adding the additional pressure of trying to meet some well meaning targets set at the beginning of the year.    I can totally get this thinking;   If you look at my review of 2021 you will get a sense of how I felt I “survived” the year rather than making progress, growing or flourishing as I would have liked to.    As such I considered not sharing any pledges this year however I have decided to stick with it and share.   I share my pledges, most likely for my future self rather than for anyone else, although I hope you find some use or insight in my thoughts too.   I share these targets with clear understanding of how the last two years have been challenging, unpredictable and [forgive me for saying it] unprecedented, and the year ahead already looks like it will be no different.   But I will share my pledges nonetheless, albeit I may adjust my expectations accordingly.

So let’s get started:

Exercise and Health:

I have done very well in the last year with my exercising and general fitness and in particular with running.   My plan for this year is to try to maintain this, and to again manage 750km worth of running during the course of 2022.   Now I acknowledge this will very much be dependent on my health as illness will impact on my ability to run however, I think it’s a fair target.   I also note the maximum distance I have run to date in a single session has been 8km.   By the end of 2022 I would like to be able to complete a full 10km running session, even if this involves some periods in the session where I may slow to a walking pace.  

Another area I would like to work on this year is reducing my alcohol intake so managing a month period (so 30 or 31 days) without a beer.   I suspect this will be a challenge as for me a beer has always been key to relaxing or to helping with stress, however I am concious that reliance can have a negative impact on health.   As such I want to try to adjust what for me is a habit.

Wellbeing / Happy memories:

A key aspect when I reflect on the year past is those memories of positive or enjoyable events.   This year I want to build in more of these, so more occasions where I do something outside my normal.  This might simply be getting away for a break, or doing a new activity, or buying something memorable but the key thing is to generate positive memories which will come to mind when I look back on the year in the December 2022.     I have already started considering possible ideas here with a planned holiday already on the cards, and a possible idea to do something a bit different in Dec 2022.    That gives me at least 2 items but ideally, I want to have 6, so something to remember in each of every 2 month period.

Reading:

My reading has become a bit of a habit with 12 books minimum read per year, however it has become a habit which has lost some of the enjoyment and some of the learning, replaced by simply process.   I would like to get back to enjoying more of my reading this year and to again learning more.    As such I am only looking at reading 6 books this year but including some non-fiction in there for enjoyment and being more selective of the books I read for learning purposes.   I also need to be better at simply putting a book down where it isnt working for me.    I hope to look back in Dec 2022 and to have renewed my enjoyment in the reading I have done.

Contributing:

This is something I want to focus on this year, continuing my current contributions to Technology in Education and Education more generally but also to the IT sector as well possibly.    This will include my tweets and social media contributions, my blogs and my podcasts plus my involvement in different groups including the Association of Network Managers in Education (ANME).    I also want to try to develop new opportunities and ways for me to contribute and share with others.

Work:

Lots gets done during year and I think that can be my problem in that I don’t, at the end of the year, quite appreciate all the work and effort that has gone into all that has been achieved.   As such this year I want to take regular breaks to stop and reflect on all that is achieved and on the work required to make these achievements actually happen.   Very seldom is any task in my role achieved simply, instead they involve meetings with stakeholders, planning time, implementation, faulting finding and problem solving, adjustment and evaluation.   I need to be more appreciative of this work, albeit it sits behind projects or tasks which appear simple when written down on a bulleted list of to-do items.

I think in my work life I am also seeking some new challenges.    For this I already have some thoughts and projects which will help here including a project in relation to contributing and sharing as mentioned earlier.   This very much comes down to me making things happen and is down to a bit of creativity and innovation on my part.

Conclusion

For the last couple of years three words have been in my thinking being prioritisation, entropy and reasonableness.   When I look back from Dec 2022 on these pledges, I aim to have these words in my mind to ensure that the pledges here do not unnecessarily add stress to the days, weeks and months ahead.   If I need to prioritise other things, over the above pledges, if the world, my role, etc changes unexpectedly or if the pledges become unreasonable in the context 2022, then not meeting them is fair and totally expected.   That said, for me anyway, having the pledges provides an insight on my thinking as it is today, for me to reflect on once I reach the end of the year.   It provides an outline for a planned direction, again for reflection, even if I end up not fulfilling some of the detailed actions.    For me anyway, I think there is more benefit in writing this than there is a risk of this causing unnecessary stress for myself.   But this is an individual decision we each need to reach.

2022 is another year.    2022 is another opportunity to feel positive about my efforts.   And so with this in mind, I need to make 2022 the year I want it to be; This makes me think of Covey’s circles;  I shouldn’t allow that which I cant control or change, my circle of concern, to impact on my happiness and sense of progress.   I should however focus on that which I can control or change, my circle of influence.    And with that in mind, its onwards and upwards!

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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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