From the Deputy Principal

‘Small Steps For Big Wins’

Although my family will be quick to testify that I’m not the most ‘chilled out’ or ‘carefree’ airline passenger, I do enjoy all the other aspects of flying. I also freely admit that the first sign of sudden turbulence can result in a white-knuckle reaction as I attempt to assert my control over a situation, that common sense would tell you, I have no influence on whatsoever. Despite these occasional moments of panic, I continue to board planes and make the most of the benefits that come with the purchase of a flight pass.

Prior to the commencement of the new school year, I had the privilege of accompanying our First XI Cricket team to Launceston. On the journey over, I took full advantage of the inflight entertainment and read with interest articles featured in the travel magazine (turbulence free). One such article titled ‘Small Steps For Big Wins’ by Lucy Collins sparked my interest. In her article, Lucy talks about the secret strategy to help us keep those New Year’s resolutions. Having set and failed (on multiple occasions) my own New Year’s resolutions, I quickly understood that the 12th of January was in fact a very important day. According to the research by fitness app Strava, which analysed the activity of 31.5 million people, indicates that our best laid plans only last a measly 12 days.

So why even make News Year’s resolutions or set new goals if we are going to fail so miserably and in record time? Psychologist, Dr Marny Lishman has an answer for this. “There’s a ‘newness’ in the beginning of the year,” she says, “an almost clean slate where we can apply the learnings from the previous year.” You would be justified to think that with such optimism we would be better at achieving our goals, but alas a recent survey by the Australian Institute of Management found that only 57 percent of Australians manage to keep more than half of their resolutions. So what’s the secret to success? You will be pleased to know that Dr Lishman has some advice on this too. “Some of the resolutions we promise ourselves are too big, too ambitious,” she says. “In order to be attainable they need to be broken down into small goals or steps that involve actions”.

Facing stiff competition against The Kings School from Sydney, The Southport School on the Gold Coast and Scotch Oakburn College in Launceston, our First XI Cricket team needed to be realistic and strategic in their goal setting. Instead of focusing on winning every game, they instead broke down their goal of being highly competitive into manageable chunks. The team and their coach didn’t talk about score lines or overall results, instead they focused on things like, maintaining energy and encouragement in the field for periods of time, partnerships of 10, 20 and then 50 runs rather than large individual scores and maintaining pressure through tight bowling stints rather than bowling the opposition side out. The result was that the teams enthusiasm and confidence grew with each game. Each player enjoyed a shared understanding of the teams goals and remained positive as targets were reached. Whilst, the Pulteney side enjoyed a convincing win over Scotch Oakburn College in the final game, the common feeling amongst the group was how well prepared they now felt for the upcoming season as a result of a successful Quad cricket Series.

This year, Pulteney staff attended a retreat at the picturesque Nunyara Conference Centre located on the doorstep of Belair National Park. The retreat proved the perfect opportunity for staff to get to know each other better and welcome new staff to the team. A key focus of the retreat was devoting time to setting personal and professional goals for the year. Staff relished the time together and started the new term, optimistic about reaching their intentions for the year.

At the recent Pulteney Leadership Summit, convened at ‘Outside the Square’ Café on Whitmore, our senior student leaders engaged in leadership activities, listened to presentations on leadership styles and began to plan ways they could practically support our school community. However, despite their enthusiasm, I couldn’t help but notice that many were starting to feel a little daunted at the prospect of fulfilling the important role of School Prefect while also juggling the demands of their Year 12 studies and time spent with family and friends. Our student leaders could be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed at the enormity of the task if their focus was on individual future achievements. Rather, they are encouraged to ‘think big and start small’, share the load and enjoy the journey. I am confident they will see their ambitions realised if their plans involve the efforts of many rather than a relying on the few.

So what is the secret to achieving your New Year’s resolutions and goals? “It’s all about micro goal setting for maximum long term gain,” says Dr Lishman.

The start of the new school year brings much excitement and a sense of anticipation. I can’t wait to work alongside our staff and students as we set micro goals that are achievable, manageable and best yet, lead to successful and rewarding results for members of our school community.

Greg Atterton

Deputy Principal

Acknowledgement: ‘Small Steps for Big Wins’ by Lucy Collins, Inflight Virgin Magazine, Jan 2020.