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New Year’s Revolution

by Steven Ogle, CLE Austin

Steven Ogle - CLE AustinAs long as I can remember every January 1st people have begun the New Year with a promise of a better year. It’s a way to re-write the wrongs we didn’t from the previous year. The tradition stems all the way back to the Babylonian era. The Babylonians made promises at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Doing the right thing and giving back does seem like a worthwhile idea. Sadly, in our modern times it has became more about ‘self’ with improving physical well-being topping the list of most popular goals for New Year’s resolutions.

In a 2007 study by University of Bristol’s Richard Wileman involving 3,000 people, he found that 88% of those people failed to maintain their resolutions. The biggest factor as to why many resolutions fail is because many are setting unrealistic and unattainable goals. It’s a factor of long term vs. short term. If you are setting your goals in a short-term mindset, but really needing it to be long term, you’re already setting traps for yourself. You are basically giving it the “Groundhog Day” treatment by looping the same thing over and over again. We need to break that habit. In order to do that, we need to break our mindset. It’s like we’re treating a New Year’s resolutions as we would a diet, which is funny considering what’s topping the list for New Year’s resolutions goals. Diets also don’t seem to last, we need to change and get a new way of going about it.

I’m not fond of how we have changed the meaning of the word resolution. Resolution is a noun that Dictionary.com defines as “a resolve; a decision or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something”. It’s luckily not too far gone like the phrase ‘let it go’. Let it go, which has been short-handed by Urban Dictionary as Let Go, simply means “To let your frustrations, anger, etc. go and not let it stress you out as it has been doing.” Seems powerful, right? Well, I couldn’t find the Dictionary.com’s definition of let it go because of the song from Disney’s Frozen. I could only find Urban Dictionary’s let go definition because the original phrase has been almost completely ruined.

I say all that because just like re-thinking “let it go” we have to do the same for the phrase New Year’s resolutions. It’s stuck in a traditional mindset. We need to break the tradition, which repeats itself over and over. In this way we can hopefully have a longer lifespan and we can not only have a resolution, but a New Years ‘Revolution.’

Newsletter Articles – January 2016

Maddie at CLE Costa Mesa

Individuals who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) typically have the executive functioning deficit of goal setting. Therefore, it is imperative as professionals to utilize a goal format that has a more concrete sense so our students can not only understand their goals, but see them in a way that they acknowledge as more achievable. The SMART goal format of constructing goals was created by George Duran in 1981 and since has been adapted as well as expanded by many other individuals with this original SMART goal concept (The SMART Goals Guide, 2014).

social skills at CLE

The New Year traditionally is a time for new resolutions. But for many students, committing to a year-long goal, whether verbally or putting pen to paper, can be stress inducing. The pressure of making a resolution can even undermine their ultimate success. Yet, setting goals is important. So at Rockville CLE, we have framed this concept in a fun and adventurous way in order to avoid many of the normal pit-falls and obstacles that arise when our students are asked to formulate goals.

Independence goals at CLE

Ten New Year’s Resolutions for students with learning differences, and those who care for them.

Setting goals with Jean Handler - CLE Fort Lauderdale

Jean Handler has been a part of the CLE Davie community since 2011. She has been a member of the Student Leadership Council since its inception in 2013 and Jean is entering the New Year with a keen eye on her future. “I’m ready to begin my career,” Jean said recently during a career development session. “I want to have a good job and use the skills I have learned from school.” Jean has created four goals that hold significant meaning to her, both personally and professionally.

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