StudySkills Articles

Can You RESOLVE Your Way to Better Grades?

There is nothing like the holidays to take a break and evaluate your life. Any time we step away from our routines, we begin to see things more objectively. With this perspective, it is natural to desire change. No wonder we make resolutions!

But, Do Resolutions Actually Work?

A local newspaper posted the ten most popular New Year’s Resolutions. A few examples include:

  • Lose weight.
  • Spend more time with friends and family.
  • Enjoy life more.
  • Get out of debt.
  • Get organized.

The list for teenagers included:

  • Get healthy.
  • Be a better friend.
  • Make more money.
  • Be a better person.
  • Get better grades.

I’m sorry to say, but these resolutions are destined to fail.

Why?

Because they are not specific. In fact, they are so generic that they could mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people.

The key to making resolutions work is not in actually in the resolution itself. Nor is it in your level of motivation. The answer is in the *plan* for execution.

Steve is a friend of mine who owns a small business. He happened to share his resolutions in a recent email. He wrote:

P.P.S. I’ve made three resolutions…

  • Set aside 6:00 – 7:00 AM M-F to read and study a book related to my field.
  • Stay out of the office every Tuesday and go to the library or coffee shop to work undisturbed on a project of my choosing.
  • Go to the gym every Monday to Thursday after work with a buddy. The buddy is crucial because I hate the gym but I need it.

Will Steve get up EVERY morning and be ready to read at 6AM? Maybe. Maybe not.

Will he manage to stay out of the office EVERY Tuesday? Maybe. Maybe not.

Will he work out EVERY Monday through Thursday? Maybe. Maybe not.

What Steve WILL do is:

  • Read more than he is now.
  • Get out of the office more than he is now and get more uninterrupted work time.
  • Get to the gym more than he is now. Especially because he is wise enough to work out with a buddy.

Steve’s resolutions are more than merely “wishes.” They are specific. They executable action plans.

Jill is another friend who wants to lose weight, so she joined Weight Watchers. SHE took action. And, Weight Watchers has given her a plan, they have helped her carve a path to follow. She is far more likely to succeed than simply “wishing” to lose weight.

Will Jill follow the Weight Watchers plan perfectly? Maybe. But, likely not.

What Jill WILL do, however, is get started. She will make healthier decisions…one by one. She will emerge smarter and stronger, even if she does not follow the plan *to-a-tee.*

When I was in high school, our Health teacher started a Weight Watchers group to promote healthy decisions and body images among students. I joined and attempted to follow the plan. I did not do so well because 1) I did not do the grocery shopping or cooking in my house and 2) I couldn’t keep up with the required five servings of fruits of vegetables!

But, from those six weeks of half-hearted effort, I learned three significant things. Twenty years later, these things are so ingrained in me that I am only now –as I write this- realizing they entered my life as a “diet.” They are:

  • Portion control. While I struggled with the WW portions, I became aware of healthy portion sizes. I have learned to eat until I am full, not until the plate is clean.
  • Must…have…water! Water is extremely important for weight control, but also for overall health. I first learned this as part of WW and have been carrying a water bottle with me EVERYWHERE, ever since. (My family will attest to the fact that I also LEAVE my water bottle everywhere! But, at least I’m drinking it.)
  • Fruits and vegetables are really filling! I still struggle to get five servings a day. However, that six week experiment set an important stage for me. When I open the fridge longing for the chocolate stashed in the back, I opt for a handful of grapes, first. Then, I don’t want as much chocolate.

What started as a lame diet attempt twenty years ago has evolved into a few simple, yet significant lifestyle changes for me today. As I said, they are such a natural part of my life, I forgot where or when they even originated!

Action plans have a way of sneaking into your soul like that. Changing neuron connections…one by one.

This New Year, if you (or your child) are dreading the return to: homework, studying, lost assignments, or less-than-his-potential grades, you can resolve to get more organized. Your teen or pre-teen can resolve to get better grades. But these are merely hopes and wishes. They are not specific, executable action plans.

Believe it or not, there are simple, student-friendly action plans that resolve these issues. The processes of learning and organizing are both learnable. They are easily learnable when you have a specific action plan. And, it’s a heck of lot easier than Weight Watchers. Or getting up at 6AM every day to read for an hour!

The name of the game is strategy. We use strategies when we play sports or video games. Strategy is the cornerstone of politics and business. But for some reason, strategies are virtually ignored in education.

As you know, SOAR® is dedicated to teaching effective and efficient strategies to make learning and organizing simple and achievable for all students and families. SOAR® IS an executable, actionable plan!

I hope you will consider joining us. For more information, please click here.

Happy New Year to all!

-Susan Kruger


JS122016

Six Steps to
Conquer the Chaos

Get Our Free Guide & Information on... notebook24 How to Organize & Motivate Students for Success

SOAR® in the News
The SOAR® Curriculum

The most critical learning, organizing, and communication skills needed for school. Learn more here.

Who’s Using SOAR®?

Click here to learn more.