Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” – Alan Cohen

The start of a new term often sees teachers, parents and students discuss the opportunity to have a ‘fresh start’. I have been considering this over the last few weeks and have come to the personal belief that this is not necessarily an accurate statement. If we are to say that it is a complete new beginning, then we run the risk of ignoring what has come before. Instead, it is important to recognise what has preceded, what lessons have been taught and what experiences have been had. In short, we must take stock of where we currently find ourselves before beginning the journey afresh.

As American author and speaker ‘Zig’ Ziglar stated, “We cannot start over, but we can begin now, and make a new ending”.

This is a wonderful notion and easy to encourage our students and children to consider, but showing them the actions required to fulfil the sentiment may be required.

In his article, Getting Rid of Yesterday: How to Start Your Day Fresh, Donald Latumahina considers the following steps key to being able to make use of new opportunities and new beginnings.

1. Take time to evaluate your day

The purpose of this thinking time is not to regret how bad your day was... This won’t do you any good. Instead, the purpose is to extract lessons which you can bring to the following day.

2. Ask the right questions to extract lessons

To extract the lessons, you should ask the right questions. There are basically two questions you should ask:

What have you done well? There should be some things you have done well. What are they and how did you do them? What can you do to make sure that you can continue doing them well or even better?

What have you done wrong? Usually there are also some things that do not go as expected. What are they and how could they happen? What can you do to improve yourself and avoid the same mistakes in the future?

3. Make a commitment to apply the lessons

After you extract the lessons, you should make a commitment to apply them. To do so, find some actionable things you can do to apply the lessons.

4. Close your day

After you have spent the time to think about the day and extract the lessons, make a decision to close the day. You should close the door to the past day so that you can start your new day fresh.

5. Bring only the lessons to the next day and nothing else

After you close a day, you should not bring anything out of it to the next day except for the lessons you extract. These lessons deal with things you can do something about. They deal with the present, not the past.

Somerset College presents new opportunities, new lessons and new experiences every day. It is a vibrant place filled with enthusiasm and energy and never is this more noticeable than at the start of a new term. We all look forward to seeing how students will embrace these chances.

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