top of page

New Year New System - Yes Please!

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

It doesn’t matter where you look, who you talk to, or where you go. It doesn’t matter your political stance, religious connection, or level of education, the one thing we can all agree on is that 2020 was a trying year. The pandemic has challenged us to new levels we didn’t think possible. It challenged our way of thinking. It challenged our way of living. It challenged our way of being. 2020 unearthed raw feelings that separated our communities in ways we never would have predicted. I could go on for days about the many difficulties, the grief experienced, the friendships devoured, and the sheer lack of humanity that came along with this year. That however, is not all 2020 gave to us.

While I in no way want to minimize the grief and loss experienced this past year, I do want to consider the many lessons learned and gifts we might have received. When the world as we knew it suddenly changed, social media and news channels were flooded with an appreciation of forced family time, a renewed admiration for educators, extreme love for essential workers, and an outpouring of community service to support those in need. What a gift that was. Another beneficial shift came with what appeared to be a massive self-care and mindfulness movement. While not new concepts, the pandemic seemed to place a spotlight on the need more than ever. Many leaders were late to this party. We are always so busy serving others that we are too exhausted to take care of ourselves. The spotlight on self-care started to make leaders reflect on their own need for sanity. The societal push started to normalize self-care for leaders. We still, however, are struggling to see how to “fit that in.”

As we enter a new year, many of us will go through the obligatory ritual of setting lofty wellness goals. We will go head strong for the first couple of weeks and then realize that our plates are still too full before pushing our wellness goals to the side with some humanitarian-esque excuse. Here’s the thing, transitioning into a new year will not erase or slow down the crazy of 2020. It will not magically create more time in our schedules; nor will it force us to slow down and take a breath. Setting new goals within the same life systems we have created will surely lead to lackluster results (let’s keep the word failure out of it). So what can we do about that? How can we move forward with a deeper commitment to our own wellness so that we can continue to serve others with excellence and grace?

“You do not rise to the level of your goal, you rise to the level of your system.” -James Clear

In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear argues that success lies mostly in the systems we develop. Rather than focus on a goal, the most successful strategy is to focus on developing or enhancing a system that strongly supports our ambitions or goals. As we end this year and venture into the hope that a new year can bring, reflect on your present operating systems. Consider your many habits that create your current system. How do they create opportunities for wellness? Consider the following questions:

  • How can you create a system that facilitates consistency with your personal wellness?

  • How does your habits align with who you want to be?

  • What one small change can you make toward your self-care and wellness goals?

  • Who’s in your tribe that can help you with accountability?

Our Daily Dose of Oxygen Calendar can help you take one small step each day in building your wellness habit. It is designed to help busy leaders take one intentional action each day to strengthen their self-care muscle. Repetition of action is far more beneficial than length of time. Make time for your daily dose. I look forward to joining you on your journey to better self-care and wellness habits in 2021. Happy New Year!

Want to go deeper into understanding your habits and how they can help you design and sustain a better self-care/wellness system? Ready to make bold moves toward your self-care in 2021? Fill out the interest form so you can receive an alert when the next workshop/PD is released in January.


Clear, J. (2018). Atomic habits: an easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones ; tiny changes, remarkable results. New York: Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Recent Posts

See All

Send Help... It's March in Elementary Schools

March Madness is here! This is the time of year when many school leaders lean into the question… Is this work sustainable? If we are honest, some have been questioning if this work is really sustainab


bottom of page