“Are goals good things or horrid things--things that you avoid?”
When I read this question, I knew that I had to answer it. For many years I have started each year with new goals or resolutions. Usually after 2 months, they were easily forgotten. Then something might cross my path of life and remind me that I had a goal earlier in the year which would make me feel guilty, at least for an instant. Then life would get in the way and I would easily put it on the back burner. Theses goals were not my priority, at the time. Then when December would roll around, I would feel bad that I didn’t meet my goals and promise myself that I would do better next year. Then the whole cycle would repeat itself.
Then I started thinking about my students and what I do to help them meet their goals. At the beginning of each school year, I look at their Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals and think about what I will do to help them achieve them. Then every 4-½ weeks, I review them and judge how they are going. Short-term objectives move the student forward and by regularly assessing the progress, I can see what we need to work on more or less.
If this works for my students, why was I not doing the same thing for myself? Do I think because I’m not a student, that I should be able to achieve my goals easily without much thought? I wish I could! So, I needed to structure my goals in the same way.
So, for the past 2 years, I made my goals in January. I also decided that I needed to make sure that the goals I made were things that I really felt like were a priority in my life and work towards achieving them. I wanted to make sure they were realistic and achievable. Then I determined what short-term steps I needed to take in order to achieve my goal. After deciding on my goals, I decided that I needed to evaluate them on a regular basis so that they don’t fall in the background and reviewing them monthly was how I would evaluate them. This enabled me to remind myself of what I have achieved and what I haven’t done yet. It made me feel good about myself when I could see myself working forward towards achieving my goal and it gave me a kick in the pants when I saw that I was being a little lazy. At then end of the year I am able to see my growth and be proud of what I had accomplished instead of feeling the guilt that I had in the past.
So the answer to this question is that goals are a good thing for me but only when I review and evaluate them on a regular basis. If I’m not going to do this, then I might as well forget about coming up with goals and wasting my time.
How do you feel about goals? Please share.