New Year's Resolutions; to do it or not?? That is the question that many of us ask ourselves each year. In my humble opinion, they are fine...as long as we don't set ourselves up to fail and don't get too legalistic over them.
I like to look at resolutions as kind of like a visit from the licensing agency or the process of an accreditation self-study. It's an opportunity to try to step outside of yourself and look at your program (and yourself) with an objective set of eyes.
If you choose to set some resolutions, I do have a few suggestions to consider:
Your Environment--is everything clean and organized? Do you have daily and weekly cleaning and sanitizing schedules? Check your toys and materials and see if any of them need to be repaired or replaced.
Your Paperwork--are your tax files complete (and have you claimed all possible expenses!)? Are your child and staff files complete and well-organized? Review your contract, policies, forms, etc. Pay particular attention to any areas that were problems during the previous year and tighten it up for the future.
Your Program--is your program meeting the needs of the children? Pull a few random developmental checklists, or whatever you use to track children's progress, and make sure you are seeing appropriate growth. Review some lesson plans from each program to ensure that they are complete, well-thought-out, and developmentally appropriate.
Your Finances--how is your program's financial health? Is your budget balanced and are you financially prepared for changes in the market, unexpected events, or anticipated changes? Is it time to increase your fees? Is your staff paid in such a manner to allow you to maintain high-quality employees?
Your Marketing Program--are you regularly attracting new clients? Do you have a plan in place to market your program and, if so, how well is it working? If it is costing you money, are you getting a fair return on your investment?
Your Health and Safety Basics--take time to check your fire extinguishers, replenish your first aid kits, and put new batteries in your smoke detectors.
Your Relationships--how is your relationship with the parents and your staff? Are there areas that could use improvement?
Yourself--is there anything about yourself that needs to be changed to allow you to function better? How's your diet, your weight, your exercise, your stress level? Challenge yourself to improve professionally; enroll in a class or plan to attend a conference.
Remember, the goal of any New Year's resolution is improvement. Make sure that your goals are reasonable and not so overly ambitious that you don't stand a chance of achieving them. Good luck and Happy New Year!