Saturday, December 28, 2013

3 out of 4 of you won’t keep your new year’s resolutions, unless...

It’s that time of year again. Everyone you know will start talking about their “New Year’s Resolutions”.  With great intentions, everyone will make a list of what they plan to do that will make this year different than every year before it.  Be careful though, studies have shown that 3 out of every 4 people, yup that’s 75%, give up on their resolutions within three months!  If you don’t want 75% of your group to give up on their resolutions, read on for simple tips to help avoid falling into this trap.
Let me start by saying that I’m just like you.  Every new year I think about what will be different this coming year.  I’m excited by the prospect of positive change.  Sometimes I even write down 3-5 specific things I will do differently.  January is always a refreshing month.  For the first few weeks I make changes, and they work!  I feel great!  But then life catches up.  I fall behind on a project, or I get sick, or I get lazy one day, or I over-commit myself to too many responsibilities.  Ultimately, something happens and old habits start to resurface.  By March, I’m right back to where I started.So, how can we avoid this trap?  Simple, make your New Year’s Resolutions a team effort. Ever notice that going to the gym with a buddy is always more likely to happen?!  When you count on someone else AND someone else counts on you, you are much more likely to follow through! Here’s a simple 5 step process to Team New Year’s Resolutions you can follow:

Step 1: Pick your team
Anywhere from 2-4 people is suggested.  Can be family, co-workers, classmates, etc.
Step 2: Pick your resolutions
We suggest that you pick resolutions that you can all agree on.  We also suggest that you only pick 3-5 resolutions.
Here are some possible team resolutions you might consider:
·         Do something you love every day
·         Give each other positive feedback every day
·         Learn/Try something new together every week
·         Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day
·         Tidy your {home, office, class} for 15 minutes every day
Step 3: Do it!
Once you’ve chosen your team resolutions, make a plan for implementation.  Trying to take on all of your resolutions at once may be too difficult.  Make a schedule and set goals.  Make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound).
Step 4: Hold each other accountable
This is the key step!  This is why so many people fail with resolutions.  It’s so easy to tell yourself that you will just go to the gym tomorrow instead (which in my experience never happens either!)  If everyone has the schedule and goals documented and you check in with each other regularly, you are far more likely to succeed.
Step 5: Stop waiting for the new year to get better!
Something we say a lot of at the Dynamix office is: “The day we stop trying to get better is the day we start getting worse.”  It always puzzles me that so many people are only going through this process once a year when New Year’s comes around.  It is critical that you and your team evaluate your progress and adjust your goals throughout the year.  What you thought might be best in January may no longer be relevant come May.  Start by setting 4 dates in the year that you will check in with your team and re-evaluate your resolutions.

Good luck to you and your ‘team’ in your quest to achieve excellence!

Written by: Mitch Zeltzer, December 2, 2013

Dynamix: Team-building for Kids and Teens, since 2002.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

THE GREATEST holiday gift on to find out what it is!

Are you looking for the PERFECT gift this holiday season?  Lately we've been hearing a whole lot about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. etc. sale after sale, results in tons of frantic shoppers looking for the BEST gift they can find for their loved ones. The stress of contending with packed shops and malls is nothing compared to the stress we put on ourselves to get our kids an amazing gift.
Well, what would you say if I told you that your efforts, while admirable, will be fruitless?  If you find yourself looking through catalogs or lining up at stores for the “in” toy this holiday season, you are going about it the wrong way!!!
Recently I read and shared a great article that talked about the Gift of Not Giving a Thing.  I loved what this article was all about.  If you haven’t read it yet, you should, but if you don’t have time, here’s a summary:  You don’t need to buy anything to give a great gift. The best gift you can give is your time. Long after your kids forget the stuff you got them, they will remember the stuff you did with them. 
But if you are like me, you also derive great joy in watching the excitement on your children’s faces as they unwrap those gifts!  So, what do we do?! Well, challenge yourself to give your kids gifts that have family time embedded in them.  A great example of this is actually something my mother-in-law did for my son for his recent birthday.  Instead of buying him a toy, she took him to a concert.  He not only loved the concert, but will forever remember that his grandmother was there to share in the experience with him. (Warning: bragging session about to begin) And, it wasn't just any concert it was a reunion concert for Sharon, Lois and Bram, who haven’t performed together in years! (If you’re curious to see what that looks like, have a look at the picture included!)
There are countless ways to embed family time into your gifts. 
Your son wants a new sled... give it to him with coupons he can exchange for rides down the hill with Mom and/or Dad on board.
Your daughter loves cars... get her a model car that you can build and paint together.
Your nephew wants to be a doctor when he grows up... give him a doctor kit and be his first patient.
The point here is that a toy is just stuff. Stuff is never enough, UNLESS you use the stuff to create opportunities to connect with the child. Get on his/her level, play with him/her, this is the GREATEST GIFT YOU CAN EVER GIVE!  Your time. Long after that stuff is broken, lost or forgotten about, the memories you created together will still be there.

Happy Holidays!

Written by: Mitch Zeltzer, December 2, 2013

Dynamix: Team-building for Kids and Teens, since 2002.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How to Prepare Students for Jobs that Don’t Exist Yet

A recent report by the US Department of Labour revealed a startling statistic for educators and parents: 65% of current students will eventually be employed in jobs that haven’t been created yet. This finding obviously begs the question: how do we prepare our kids for a future we can’t even imagine?

21st Century Fluencies, a new educational philosophy currently embraced by the TCDSB, suggests that we need to focus on the development of social skills. This paradigm is based on the idea that children need critical and dynamic thinking skills in order to succeed in the new century. We need to ensure that our children are equally as fluent in collaboration and problem-solving as they are in English and Math.

Employers agree on the importance of these fluencies in the ever-changing workplace. The general feeling is that interpersonal skills will become even more important as technology progresses. According to a new study, 98% of employers look for communication skills and 92% look for teamwork skills when hiring new talent for the long-term. These social skills even outranked job-specific knowledge, work experience, and education!

Any language takes training and practice to master, and becoming fluent in these 21st century skills is no exception. Teambuilding and leadership programs are one of the most impactful and memorable ways to develop these fluencies. Hands-on activities that focus on group dynamics give your students a great opportunity to enhance their social skills in an educational environment. At Dynamix, we believe that the job market will always have room for creative and collaborative thinkers who can work well with others. Let us know how we can help prepare your kids for their future careers!

And please don’t forget to leave a comment below! What do you think of 21st Century Fluencies? What is most important when preparing our kids for future success?

Written by Shira Lurie, Toronto lead facilitator.

Dynamix: Team-building for Kids and Teens, since 2002.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

R- E - S - P - E - C - T

Respect – An age old term parents and educators beg of children with exhaustive repetition. If only children were respectful, we probably wouldn't need rules. If children were respectful, they would walk in the hallways, be considerate of one another, keep their hands to themselves, listen when spoken to. In fact, if kids were respectful, every decision they make would be in consideration of their peers, adults and environment.

So, how do we get children to just be respectful? Let’s first consider the hours in a day trying to get children to behave the way we expect them to. It often involves bribery, arguments, debates, threats, negotiations and punishments. By doing this, are we, in fact, teaching children how to be respectful? Or are we simply controlling their behaviour and actions? Is a child respectful when they do something nice for someone to avoid punishment? The simplest and most effective way to teach respect is to be respectful. All too often, the very behavior we expect our children not to engage in is the behavior we use to control them. Yelling at a child is only effective if we expect our children to do the same. 

Consider your relationship with a police officer. If an officer stops you for rolling through a stop sign at a snail’s pace and then berates you for the infraction, how would you feel toward the officer? Would you feel respected? Would you feel you deserved to be berated? Now, imagine this happened on a regular basis. Imagine the frustration and sense of hopelessness you would feel in the presence of the very people you thought were there to help and protect you. Now, imagine you are to the kids what the officer is to you.

My grade 9 teacher epitomized what it means to teach respect. He was the only teacher who did not require students to ask permission to go to the washroom. Sounds crazy? Not only did we not require permission, we did not take advantage of his lenient class management style. We would go one at a time and return promptly. So, what was the secret? It’s simple. Respect. He modeled the behavior he expected from us. By respecting us – we, in turn, respected him. And by respecting him, we learned to respect others. So, with all the tricks in the bag, the foremost method of raising respectful and considerate children is by modelling the behaviour. Speak like you would like to be spoken to, when you say no to a child, provide a fair reason and remember to make sure they always know how much you care.

Written by: Corey Szwarcok, Dynamix Co-founder.

Dynamix: Team-building for Kids and Teens, since 2002.

Picture taken from Google Images, source:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Do It Yourself Teambuilding - Hippo

Activity Name: Hippo

Materials: Up to 10 soccer balls, 1 Hula Hoop per team

Setup: Spread the Hula Hoops out around your playing field as much as your space allows.  Set one Hula Hoop up for each team.  Start with players standing around their team's hoop with everyone in their team in a circle  holding hands.

Goal: To get as many soccer balls as you can in your team's hoop

How to play:
Teams start at their designated hula hoop.  As a team, they must travel while connected to each other in a circle.  Using only their feet, they must try to bring as many soccer balls back to their team's hoop as they can.

The rules:
- Players must hold hands with their teammates the entire time
- Teams can only take one ball at a time
- Players cannot steal a ball from another team
- Players cannot touch the balls with their hands

- Was the activity hard or easy? Why?
- Was it hard not to be able to use your hands?
- How did you use teamwork to get the balls to your hoop?
- How can we use a better strategy to get more balls next time?