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Making small changes

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 3/4


To consider the meaning of resolve.

Preparation and materials

  • Optional: you may wish to show the video ‘A Very Merry Pooh Year Part 6’, in which case you will also need the means to do so. It is available at: (play it from 4.22 minutes to 7.57 minutes)
  • Optional: you may wish to prearrange for a student to read the Bible passage Daniel 1.8-20 in the ‘Assembly’, Step 7.


  1. It’s that time of year when many people decide to make New Year’s resolutions. According to a YouGov poll from 2019, 27 per cent of people in Britain were planning to make a New Year’s resolution in January 2020. Of those, the group that polled the highest was people aged between 18 and 24. The top three resolutions centred on health, with doing more exercise, losing weight and adopting a better diet topping the list.

  2. Ask the students how many of them made resolutions at the beginning of 2021.

    Ask how many of them kept their resolutions for a whole year . . . six months . . . three months . . . one month . . . a week.

    Congratulate all of them for making the effort to try!

  3. Resolving to do something means deciding firmly on a course of action, or arriving at a definite and earnest decision. A resolution has to involve firmness of purpose and intent.

  4. Optional: you may wish to show the video ‘A Very Merry Pooh Year Part 6’ from 4.22 minutes to 7.57 minutes.

    If so, explain to the students that you are going to play a short video where Winnie the Pooh and his friends decide to take action to stop Rabbit leaving.

    Ask the students to raise their hand if they think that the characters will keep their resolutions. It seems likely that none of them will succeed!

  5. Explain that resolutions, like targets that we may set ourselves in school, must be SMART.

    - S stands for specific or sensible.
    - M stands for measurable - we must be able to track progress.
    - A stands for achievable or attainable.
    - R stands for realistic or results-based.
    - T stands for time-bound. How long will it take to achieve?

  6. A SMART resolution for Winnie the Pooh might be only to eat honey once a day. Tigger could resolve only to bounce outside and Eeyore could resolve to think of one thing every day to be thankful for. These would be realistic aims that have more chance of success.

  7. Optional: ask the prearranged student to read the story of Daniel and his friends, which is found in Daniel 1.8-20.

    Explain that Daniel and his friends were being held captive in a place called Babylon. Here, they were instructed to eat food that was not allowed by their Jewish religion. The friends decided not to go against their beliefs. Instead, they arranged to eat just vegetables for ten days. Their guards agreed to this and, at the end of the ten days, the four friends were fitter, healthier and more alert than all of the other captives who had eaten whatever they were presented with. The friends had made SMART resolutions!

Time for reflection

Ask the students to think about the new year ahead of them. Are there any SMART resolutions that they could make? Suggest that these can be small, simple steps; they don’t have to make huge changes immediately.

A good resolution will enable them to see some gradual success and therefore be encouraged to keep going.

Dear God,
Making resolutions is easy, but keeping them is difficult.
Please help us to choose to move forward and persevere.
Please help us when things get tough.
Please help us to make small steps on our way ahead.

Publication date: January 2022   (Vol.24 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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