Making Resolutions or Setting Intentions?

The tragic events at the Capitol building in Washington D.C. further highlighted the rampant racism, injustices, and inequities that have plagued this nation. There are few moments in school leadership where there is absolute clarity of right and wrong. Now is the time to take a close look at who you are, your values, your aspirations, your hopes, dreams, and intentions. What you do and what you say matters and should be grounded in an understanding of our human interconnectedness. 

Every new year, we try in our personal and professional lives to start anew, making resolutions and promises to ourselves about how we will be different and who we will become. We make exercise and diet goals. We promise to spend more time with loved ones and be more productive and efficient at work. By February, we tire out and have dropped all resolve to accomplish our new tasks. What if instead of creating these long to-do lists each new year, we think of our intentions and start from there? What would our intentions look like if we took ourselves out of the center and thought about our collective humanity?

Now is the time to review or set your intentions, as an individual or a team. Consider what is meaningful to you and what you aspire to. Brainstorm and make a large list of intentions, feelings, values. How do you want to feel when you are together? What common intentions do you want to uphold? Talk about each word. Which words are important and meaningful to you/your team? Which words do you/your team already have a grasp on? Which words are you/your team still working towards? Slowly, whittle down the list to a few words that frame your values and intentions for 2021. This list can serve as an anchor or a charter (an essential step developed by Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence in their RULER program) for your future work, words, and actions whether on your own or in your team. This list can anchor decision making and help you navigate complex situations. It can be a grounding and guiding force for what really matters in your work and in your community. 

If we ask ourselves: What is important, not just to me but also to my community, my team, and to the world? What do I want to grow in myself, in my community, my team, and in this world? What if we decenter ourselves from our resolutions and turn them into intentions, hopes for our collective future? Think more broadly. Think more globally. Imagine what our collective future may become. The world is watching. Who will you be in 2021?