Deirdre Moore | August 2016

Setting and Reaching Your Goals

It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to a close and it’s time to head back to school.  For some, the school has already begun and for others, it is just around the corner.  Just as January is a great time to set personal new year’s resolutions or goals, September is a great time to set professional new school year’s goals.  Of course, setting goals and making resolutions is all well and good, but how can you be sure you are staying focused on reaching your goals and realizing them?  How often do you set a goal and find that within just days or weeks, you’ve already fallen away from it?

The first thing to consider is whether the goals you are setting are realistic and attainable.  Why set yourself up for failure?  The idea of creating SMART goals is a well-covered topic here at Education Closet by myself and other writers.  I have written about what the acronym stands for and what it looks like in practice.

But once you’ve set the SMART goal how can you make sure you follow through in reaching your goals?  Here are just a few ideas that might help you realize your specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goal!

Enlist the help of others. 

Either work with others who have identified the same goal as you or simply tell your goals to someone else and then agree upon set times to meet up or check-in.  Being accountable to others is always a good way to ensure follow-through in reaching your goals.

Create a visual reminder.

There are lots of ways to implement this: put a sticky note on your mirror, hang a picture on your refrigerator, clip the mantra to your keychain, etc.  If you put a reminder where you will see it every day, it is more likely to stay in the forefront of your mind.

Create a mantra password. 

Along the lines of the visual reminder, if you have to type it every time you log in to something on our computer, that too will keep it front and center in your consciousness.  Three times a year I have to change the password to log into the system for my school district so I like to use a word or short phrase that encompasses the goal for which I am striving.

Keep a journal. 

This doesn’t have to be time-consuming.  This could be a quick 5 minutes at the start of the day, the end of the day or both.  Regardless of how you have chosen to evaluate your progress having a set place to record your progress is key.  If you take a few moments in each day to reflect on the process, you may learn something important about yourself and make the necessary adjustments to your plan as you go.

Create a visual tracker.

This can be in lieu of or in addition to the journal.  Having a visual tracker hanging in a highly visible area can keep you honest about your progress and motivate you to keep going.  This may even serve as your visual reminder.

Good luck with your new school year and happy goal achieving!

About the Author

Deirdre is a teaching artist and AI coach in the San Diego public schools dedicated to helping classroom teachers make arts an integral part of their teaching. Deirdre has an MEd in Arts Integration and over twenty years of classroom and performing arts teaching experience. Email Deirdre.