As we come to the end of 2017 and go into the new year, I am doing a bit of self-reflection on my own personal learning. I have put a focus on these three things, and they have made a particular difference to me:
- Focused on my health, both mentally and physically. I feel that in the last few years, I have ignored these things and it has caught up with me where I either do something now, or the damage caused will be irreversible. I have spent more time listening to music just to enjoy it, more time pushing myself when I exercise (not just going to the gym, but using that time wisely), and taking time to meditate and clear my mind. It has helped. I have started using the Aaptiv app, and it is by far my favourite app of 2017. It has made the most significant difference on me as it is like having a coach in my ear, pushing me to push myself. One other thing that I have done is be thoughtful of my first things I hear or see in the morning. I love to watch motivational videos on YouTube and it really sparks my mind and sets a tone for the day. Another thing I have done is watch a funny show on the elliptical before I start lifting weights or running. It is much easier to hit a hard workout if you are laughing and smiling before you start. I am not where I want to be, but I am growing, and that is the goal. If I am not feeling okay mentally and physically, I feel I am not able to give my best to others.
- Focused on who I surround myself with, and what I spend my time doing. The adage of “you are the average of the five people you spend your time with” is something that I believe. I am also more thoughtful of my time on social media. I still think that it is amazingly powerful, but I also know it is not everything. The struggle, push and pull that I have with social media, is something good for me as an educator, because it helps me understand it in a more profound sense for the students I serve. One of the things that I read this year that made a significant impact on me was the difference between a “discussion” and an “argument.” From what I remember, an argument is about having a “winner,” whereas a discussion is about figuring out the best idea. I have done my best to identify the difference, and only take part in discussions on social media. That has helped me with number one as well and reminded me that the more important word in “Personal Learning Network” is “Personal.” I shape the way that I spend my time since time is the most finite resource we have. Once time is spent, you can’t get it back, so I am much more thoughtful about how I use it.A constant reminder…
- Go easier on myself. We are our own harshest critics, and that can be crippling. I have made so many mistakes in my life and will continue to do so. I am trying to focus more on getting better for the future, and less on dwelling on the past. The weird thing about this is that it has made me somewhat more understanding of others, and this quote pops into my head daily; “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I am working on finding the balance of having high expectations while not being too hard on myself. I don’t know if that last sentence makes any sense to you, but in my head it does. 🙂
I have a long way to go in my personal development, but these things have been on my mind as of late.
This space has been a place of reflection for almost eight years now and has highlighted not only my educational thinking but personal aspects of my life. I have written about my father passing away, losing my dogs, and some of my struggles. I just wanted to take the time to write something that I could look back on in the future and see my progress, and hopefully, some of the things that I have written might help others.
In any sense, I appreciate all of the people around the world who have taken time to read this blog. I hope that no matter where you are, you know that I appreciate all of the educators around the world who spend their extra time to get better for the students they serve.
All the best for the end of 2017 and I wish you a great 2018!