Setting goals has never been so simple!
Every December, I start to hear my friends and family talk about their New Year’s resolutions-- drink more water, eat better, exercise. Let’s be real, teacher friends. These resolutions are too lofty and vague. Failure is sure to follow. What we really need is to get SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely)!
As teachers, we’re very familiar with setting SMART goals for and with students to help them achieve at higher levels in math, reading or to improve behavior. We look at data, determine the target, then plot out how and when students will meet the goal. Research tells us that goal setting is the single most powerful motivational tool because it “provides purpose, challenge, and meaning. Goals energize people. Specific, clear, challenging goals lead to greater effort and achievement than easy or vague goals do.” (Blanchard, 2007)
So if SMART goals work for students, why can’t they help us meet our own personal and professional goals? Here’s how you can transform your tired New Year's resolutions into SMART goals!
Specific. Describe your goal in detail.
- What do you want to achieve?
- Why did you choose it?
- Who will be involved in your goal?
Example: Trying to save more of your money? Consider your financial history and commit to a specific amount per month. An app like Mint can help keep you on track to meet your goals.
Measurable. Use numbers to make it easy to measure your progress.
- What it is you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goal?
- What are the smaller, measurable elements of your goal?
Example: Want to stop biting your nails? Take pictures along the way to measure your progress over time.
Attainable. Pick goals that you can accomplish realistically.
- Do you have the time and energy to achieve your goal?
- What are the expected and unexpected costs involved?
Example: Within 1 year, I would like to take on a leadership position in the district.
Relevant. Your goals should be meaningful to you!
- What habits do you wish to build for your life?
- Is this the right time?
Example: Trying to decrease screen time for yourself? Set a goal that will help you build healthy habits, like eating without your phone in hand or turning off notifications at a specific time of the evening.
Timely. Set a time limit on your goal, but not too far ahead that you lose ambition.
- What deadlines can you install to help make progress visible?
- When will you work on this goal?
Example: Want to get more exercise? Select an event such as a 5K or half-marathon with a specific date.
**Tech Tip: If you’d like a little help, try using a goal tracker app to assist you**
Give yourself the best shot at success by creating a SMART New Year’s resolution. This proven strategy will help you stay positive and focused on your goals through completion. No more failure, teacher friends!
Does one of your SMART goals consist of bettering yourself as a teacher? Take a look at our Learners Edge Continuing Education courses to see how they can benefit you!