Improving in a New Year

Let’s find new ways to conquer old problems

What can we do to improve ourselves and education in 2023?

All students—even those who seemingly breeze through school—can benefit from a quick assessment, so in this new year, let’s think about overcoming two big obstacles: procrastination and stress.

Students learn the word procrastination from an early age. It’s a big word, but even elementary students hear this word from their teachers and parents, and they know it means fiddling with your phone instead of writing that essay or watching videos instead of reading a book. It means being given a week to complete an assignment and starting the night before it is due.

No more stalling. Set a timer for 5 minutes and start working on the assignment. Generate writing even if it is nonsense or disorganized or you just gather materials needed for a project. When the alarm goes off, stop and breathe and assess. You have some work started now, which is better than the nothing you had 5 minutes ago!

The other big obstacle we all hear about is stress. No one wants more stress and yet it can sneak up slowly and then overwhelm us all at once. What can you do?

Doing something well requires focus, so breaking down a big workload into smaller parts and finishing them one by one is usually best. Make a list, devote a block of time, and get started. Finish a small part and cross it off the list. Making progress is important for reducing stress.

If you really want to explode (or implode), warn your friends or family first. Next, go to your room or a basement or some private area. Set a timer for 2 minutes and howl or cry or yell or pound a desk or argue with the air until the alarm beeps. Stop and breathe deeply and tell yourself you can change the situation, you can beat the problem. You really can.

Obstacles exist for every student, and a New Year is a good time to face those challenges with a few easy tricks. As always, SpiderSmart is here to help!