Wellbeing Pledge for 2017

Sunday, 1st January, 2017

If you’re familiar with the #Teacher5aday initiative on Twitter, you’ll probably already know about the pledge to share what you will do in the year ahead to support your wellbeing.

If you’ve not come across this before, a quick catch-up can be found here. In brief, the Centre for Wellbeing at the New Economics Foundation was commissioned to develop ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’. The research revealed that a focus on the following 5 areas (even just a small improvement) will help reduce some mental health problems and help people to flourish!

  • Connect
  • Be active
  • Take notice
  • Keep learning
  • Give/volunteer

Some of the pledges from teachers last year can be found here, as examples.

I love the idea of starting new things, and so look forward to each new year (both the calendar new year and the academic one!) … and the refresh or restart opportunities it encourages. So here’s my pledge for my 5 Ways to Wellbeing this year …


#1. Connect


I spent much of the latter half of 2016 with my head down working on my first book. It’s almost done, but I’m well aware that this was at the expense of time with family and friends. I’ve already started to redress this balance by spending Christmas and New Year with my parents, but I know that I need to not only keep this up, but also plan in times to spend with friends.

Connect Pledge – Plan in a day a month to spend with friends or family (the latter live at opposite ends of the country, so will involve more than 1 day!)


#2. Be active

Well aware that changes happen as a result of developing new habits, I’ve recently bought ‘Sticky Habits’ by Barrie Davenport. I’m working my way through the book at the moment, but have already started putting the ideas into practice. This includes creating new exercise-related habits.

When I left teaching and set up my coaching & training business it had a significant impact on my life-style, which became more sedentary. (I know Heads that I’ve worked with say a similar thing happened to them when they moved from the classroom to Headship.) There’s less time spent walking around and more time sitting.

This is a big area of development for me this year, so I’ve got more than 1 pledge!

Back view of healthy woman wearing sportswear and running on the road with number 2017 toward the city

Be Active Pledge 1 – Develop the habit of stretching each morning (for 5 minutes), increasing to the same in late afternoon or evenings

Be Active Pledge 2 – Start running again (twice a week to start, then increasing to 3 times)

Be Active Pledge 3 – To prevent boredom setting in (this can be an obstacle for me!) I will alternate running with other cardio-vascular work-outs. I’ve got several DVDs to choose from!


#3. Take notice

I don’t know about you, but I’m very ‘visual’. I look for answers to problems in my head … I enjoy seeing views from of windows or hilltops, etc. … I love the colours and patterns that you see in different seasons. What I do less of is notice sounds around me. I’m a good listener (to other people), but that’s not the same as listening to my environment. I have 2 dogs and walking them is an ideal opportunity to do this.

My reflections of last year have also made me realise that I spent the year in a rush. So I will be aiming to slow down in certain areas this year, including when eating. I tend to eat food with ‘what I’m going to do next’ in my head, and don’t savour the moment and really enjoy my food.

I also realised that in my rush through the year, I have been trying to do several things at once. This is actually counter-productive for me. What has happened until now, is that I can be in the middle of a task and suddenly remember something else I want to do, or have an idea to solve a problem, and start on that – leaving the original task unfinished. Can you relate to that?

As you can probably tell … this area also has more than 1 pledge!

Stormy ocean waves beautiful seascape big powerful tide in action storm weather in a deep blue sea forces of nature natural disaster.ocean wave in the Pacific ocean

Take Notice Pledge 1 – To focus on what I can hear as well as see (both when outside and in new indoor environments)

Take Notice Pledge 2 – To enjoy my food more (at least one meal a day), which includes taking a little longer to eat

Take Notice Pledge 3 – To notice when I’m getting distracted by other tasks, and not be drawn to leaving what I’m doing until it’s done


#4. Keep learning

I love buying books (not the kindle versions, actual paper copies) I don’t know if it’s the feel of them, the look of them, having that wealth of knowledge at my finger-tips, or the way they adorn the shelves in my office. My difficulty is having time to read them! As they are mainly non-fiction, I tend to dip in and out of them, which is fine, but there are some that have not even been opened.

Concept empty notebook with pencil plan idea business solution creative. Coffee on oak desk. ** Note: Shallow depth of field

Another thing I love is buying notebooks / journals. I even enjoy opening them & writing in them!! So for this area of wellbeing, I’ll be combining the two things …

Keep Learning Pledge – To focus on a different non-fiction book each month and record – in a specially chosen notebook – my learning from each book.


#5. Give/volunteer

Things I currently do in this category include running a CPD group for Coaches and those interested in personal development. I also deliver free coaching sessions to new members. This year I will continue to do this, plus we are extending our CPD choices to include whole day workshops, for members & anyone else interested in personal development.

JpegWriting my book last year meant that my plans to get back into my archery again were halted after a couple of months. I’d made good progress (see photo), and will pick this up again after the book’s finished. It’s a good club that I belong to, and I will be getting involved with helping out at the club again this year.


Give/Volunteer Pledge 1 – To continue to Chair the 3 Shires Coaching Group meetings once a month, support new members, and plan for this year’s whole day workshops

Give/Volunteer Pledge 2 – To volunteer to help out at my archery club events (e.g. Beginners Courses & ‘Have-a-Go’ events)

So what will you pledge to do in 2017 to improve your Wellbeing?


#Teacher5aday Wheel BlankAs you go through the year, keep a record of how you’re progressing with each of your pledges. For example:

  • Buy yourself a journal/notebook
  • Use something like the Wheel opposite to periodically score your progress on a scale of 1-10 (10 being achieved or the new habit is totally embedded). If you’d like a copy of the Wheel you can print off and use, drop me an email and I’ll send it across – debbie.inglis@squaretwo.co.uk
  • Record your progress in a blog

Good luck with your pledges, and hope you have a wellbeing-filled 2017!

_MG_9371-EditThank you for taking the time to read this blog post.

I’m Debbie Inglis, executive coach, trainer & supervision coach, working across the UK and Internationally with leaders and their teams to maximise leadership performance, create more effective, confident, and motivated teams … in a way that brings out the best in them.

If you’re interested in my services, you can contact me here, or pop over to my website to read more here. I also publish a weekly newsletter which you can sign up to here.