Headmaster Bill Taylor’s first Chapel Talk of 2018 focused on how we view new year’s resolutions. “Mine are not so much things that I resolve to do (or not do), because we often fall short and then usually lose focus on the resolutions. I prefer to focus on goals for the community that would be transformative and enriching for each of us in the year to come,” Taylor explained.

Here are Taylor’s top ten goals for the year:


Work hard – hard work is a transformative value that can be the deciding difference in achievement, success, and happiness outside of academics. Trinity-Pawling’s ethos of effort, manifested in the Effort System, is training for life in this regard.


Laugh – laughter releases endorphins that strengthen the immune system, relieves stress, adds years to our lives, relaxes us, and connects us to others.


Try not to be anxious over things that we cannot control – admittedly a tough one for me, as I acknowledge lying in my bed at 3:00 AM, unable to sleep.


Try something new – join a club, join Mr. Burnham for his weekly improv sessions, sing in the choir.


Practice positivity – know that we can have a positive or negative attitude about the things that come our way. As Charles Swindoll says, “I am convinced that life is about 10% of what happens to me and about 90% of how I react to it—and so it is with you—we are in charge of our attitudes.”


Create new friendships – several new students have joined our community mid-year. Remember what it’s like to be new—reach out to them and welcome them.


Practice empathy – Google has actually worked this type of skill into its employee development program, called the Aristotle Project. They have done this because research tells us that empathy, being able to see the perspective and anticipate the feelings of others, is a critical skill in building community, including a productive workplace community.


Be respectful – recognize that the people, places, and activities that surround you have meaning and value in our lives and will continue to do so into the future. By learning how to respect these entities, our self-respect is strengthened. We live in a world that has become increasingly disrespectful. Let’s push back at this in this community by strengthening our commitment to respect others, including those who have different opinions than us. Let’s not be polarized by disrespect.


Be kind – We are actually born hard-wired for kindness, but it too often gets consumed by self-centeredness. Kindness is a strength, but because it involves making ourselves vulnerable we too often can see it as a weakness. It is actually self-centeredness that is our weakness. Be kind to others.


Be self-aware – allow ourselves to be increasingly aware of our gifts, talents, aspirations, and dreams. Self-awareness is a commodity that can easily get lost amidst that accelerated pace of our lives. We don’t have time to reflect on who we are and want we want to become as individuals. Let’s spend time being dedicated to self-awareness. I think it could be the most important of these resolutions because self-awareness allows us to grow and growth is essential for a healthy life, as individuals and as a community.


Follow Bill’s blog here