Set Goals, Not Resolutions

We have all been in that place. The new year brings with it the hope of a new you. It signifies a time where you decide to take something about yourself and make it better. Sometimes its a larger part than others. We also know that most New Year resolutions don’t make it to the end of January.

So I can’t help but wonder. When we experience this failure; is it because we actually

  • get frustrated and give up on being better at whatever we decided to choose
  • or fail to plan a realistic path to success

No matter the ultimate reason for this failure, the fact is we feel the full force of it when it occurs. This is due in part to falling short, but is more often directly linked to the personalization of the failure. We don’t see it as missing a goal, but instead a judgement on how we view ourselves. We only resolve to change things for the better. When we break that resolution there is a finality to it which indicates we are less than what we wish we could be. A goal on the other hand is about incremental change that even if you fall short you are capable of noticing progress and growth. In turn this leads to a middle ground of continuously improving and a healthier mindset towards falling short.

I have learned much by listening to and reading about multiple individuals explain the proper way to set and monitor goals. There are TONS of practical tips, but three broader strategies stay with me each time.

  • Consistently executing small steps
  • Having a partner
  • Public accountability

It is because of these steps and my foundational belief of modeling that I have decided to write this post and share my first quarter goals. This is a more condensed version, but they are here; the small steps, partner, and well…this is a little public. The accountability you ask? I will be reporting my results at the end of the first quarter along with my next set of goals.

Goal #1: Continue to Make Strong Progress Toward Fulfilling My Professional Goals
Partner: Superintendent and Members of Leadership Team
Small Steps:

  1. Continue to create and sustain a culture that delays and minimizes teacher burnout
  2. Continue to examine and look to create a new building schedule
  3. Implement an increase of S.E.L. practices in the classroom
  4. Craft a new Vision of the Graduate that will be used to drive decision making, improve student outcomes, and fulfill NEASC requirements

Goal #2: Be More Intentional About Increasing Quality Family Time
Partner: Mary (my wife) and two boys
Small Steps:

  1. Create and maintain a family only evening
  2. Create and maintain a date night twice a month
  3. Outline two family travel vacations to be taken by August

Goal #3: Improve Physical and Mental Health to Create a Greater Capacity for Positive Leadership
Mary (my wife) and Better Leaders Better Schools PLN
Small Steps:

  1. Become 30lbs lighter
  2. Consistently read for 30 minutes each day
  3. Implement ideas from educational leadership podcasts
  4. Schedule 30 minutes thinking time each day

Goal #4: Improve and increase both my own and others level of voice to the broader community
Danny Bauer and Better Leaders Better Schools PLN
Small Steps:

  1. Start (SEEing Your Staff) podcast
  2. Regularly post on my blog
  3. Design and implement a tighter routine for weekly newsletter and staff update
  4. Design a schedule for Department chairs to regularly contribute to the newsletter

So there they are in broad daylight. Now, each will require other steps as well, but this post has been descriptive enough for you to see how the system I will be using works. One last thought if you are going to be focusing on goals instead of resolutions; put them in a place where you are constantly reminded of them. There will be times during the day that you are tired or wonder what you can be working towards. There is no better time to revisit the small steps and knock one off.

Personally, I open my goals every morning and make note of the main tasks I need to accomplish that day. Then I get after it. My daily goal is to complete 100% of those tasks (usually 4-5) that are completely tied to my goals. When I do that, I feel more successful and fulfilled having taken one more step forward. As I always say and firmly believe; success is a process, not a destination. See you at the end of the quarter!

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