It is time for a New Year’s Resolution Progress Report! (Ah, you thought I forgot, didn’t you?)
Inspired by the beauty that is Special Education, I created a handy-dandy 2013 IEP (For Me) in January 2013 to design and track appropriate self-improvement goals in five (5) skill areas. Analysis of RTI data in previous years had found that verbal resolutions were broken within 2-3 weeks of January 1; written resolutions were held onto only slightly longer, in part because they lacked a public accountability component.
The original document, which can be viewed in full HERE, includes some additional target lists, benchmarks, and key accommodations.
Progress on 2013 goals stands as follows:
MID-YEAR PROGRESS: Progress on this goal was impeded by the purchase of a smartphone in late January 2013. Intended to increase productivity for communication and social goals, this “useful” item caused severe obstruction to effective time management. My delayed entry into the iPhone era brought 24-7 access to time-sucking Apps and mindless entertainment, and resulted in many wasted minutes trying to get calendars to sync.
As texting-induced carpal tunnel syndrome will most likely demand reduced phone usage in the near future, progress on this goal for the last half of the year looks more promising.
MID-YEAR PROGRESS: As anticipated, a high level of regression has occurred related to this goal, and since it was so noted on the original document, any harsh judgment on lack of progress shall be suspended.
The year started out well, including the running of one 5K race, in which my partner and I did NOT come in last place (finishing ahead of several small children and moms with strollers).
Additional accommodations for the summer months (which offer a cruel combination of necessary swimming attire and miserably hot temperatures that inhibit the ability to exercise outside) were added, including: Allow a T-shirt and/or shorts to be worn over a bathing suit without the threat of secret videotaping for candidacy on the show “What Not to Wear.”
With the exception of a marathon moving session, which caused a brief burst of exercise – moving heavy items up and down stairs repeatedly over a week’s time – this goal has been put on hold for the remainder of the summer. This will be revisited in the fall (which in the desert means at least November), and shopping for pants that fit will have to wait until then.
MID-YEAR PROGRESS: Slight progress on this goal has been made by incorporating these strategies:
- Waking up prior to the child, and self-medicating with coffee to reduce early morning clashes.
- Presenting instructions in written form when resistance is likely. Words on paper have the double benefit of being read as “truth” and communicating clearly without emotional overtones.
- Reciting “Zen-like calmness” as a mantra in times of desperate need (e.g. daily).
However, as with Goal #2 [Physical Health and Well-Being] above, the advent of summer has provided additional roadblocks to progress on this objective. Excessive downtime, close quarters, and lack of school-based respite have, in general, increased negative attitudes for both parties. With the new school year pending, progress on this goal for after-school hours is expected to improve. In preparation for back-to-school early morning conflicts, an automatic-bedside-intravenous-caffeine drip will be considered.
MID-YEAR PROGRESS: Significant progress has been shown on this goal, as evidenced by attendance at a small number of outings, movies, plays, dinners, and other social functions that involved being in physical proximity of other real people. However, as the apple did not fall far from the tree in this respect, work needs to be done to encourage independent initiation of social interactions, with and without the presence of children.
All accommodations as noted on the original IEP still apply, and may be reviewed with participants prior to any engagement.
Additional accommodations to ease the social obligations that coincide with a new residence (meeting neighbors, inviting guests over, family dinners) are recommended as follows:
To increase the likelihood of an invitation, upon entering our new house, guests shall:
- Ignore the unpacked boxes. Anyone who comments will be required to unpack something before they leave;
- Reduce the stress brought on by the obligation to feed houseguests by bringing food or beverages and/or suggesting take-out;
- Suspend any extravagant house-warming presents, as reciprocity is impeded by a lack of funds [Please refer to Sheldon Cooper’s theory of gift-giving HERE and HERE].
MID-YEAR PROGRESS: Scattered progress has been made for the benchmarks noted above:
- Although the amount of vitamins and supplements purchased has increased, this goal does not allow for “it’s the thought that counts.” Supplements on the shelf still far exceed the amount consumed.
- A visit to the dentist was completed during the first half of this year (although the expenditures incurred will deter further medical appointments until late in the fourth quarter). The next benchmark for this goal is the eye doctor, as the shortness of my arms is beginning to impede my ability to read.
- Let’s be honest: Cookies are still way better than fruit. This benchmark has therefore been discontinued due to lack of will power and clear intention to change behavior. 2014 will have to tackle this one.
Here’s hoping 2013 is treating you well, and that you are either on your way to achieving your goals, or at least finding new ways to rewrite them!