Do you set goals each year? I want to share some goal-setting strategies with you that can up your game and make goal-setting more effective for you.
Set goals when it works best for you
Most people set goals in January. I, on the other hand, set goals in August or September because that’s the beginning of MY professional year.
And that professional setting totally affects the structure of my personal life too. In 25 years, whenever I’ve had a new job, it’s started in August. If I've ever had a raise, it's happened in August. And a raise really prompts you to do some goal-setting about how you want to use that increase in money.
Of course every teacher knows your daily schedule changes every year, which affects when (and therefore WHAT) you eat, when you can work during the teaching day, and what days you go home early or late.
With all that flux, it’s a perfect time to be thinking about goals and the “new year” set up to my life.
I invite anyone who is a teacher or who has a job like this that has a different annual pattern to consider setting goals for yourself personally when it makes the MOST sense for you.
You don't HAVE to set your goals when everyone else does! It's entirely up to you!
Goal-Setting Strategies: Start with how you want to live your life
I tend to start with big ideas for how I want to live my life differently, and those big themes lead to smaller goals for the year.
Rather than set a series of ticky-tacky little habits I'd like to add to my repertoire, I like to think in terms of themes. I think about what direction I'd like my life to move into and pick themes that match. For example, one theme I had last year was "healing," and another was "mental peace."
Check out this Facebook live video on goal-setting!
Then, I pick smaller, direct-action goals that will help me move toward having my life be the way you I want.
To take one example of "mental peace," I had a feeling like I had too much stuff that was taking up too much physical and mental space.
When I did an inventory of what it is that I value in terms of STUFF, books were WAY too high on the list for the actual enjoyment I got from them== I basically wanted them around but I didn’t re-read them. And I didn’t value clothing AT ALL but kept buying it in the hopes that I would finally like clothes.
So for both of those, I decided to simplify-- for brain space and to save money.
We started going to the library, I started wearing the same thing at work over and over, and life was better.
Goals don't end or stay put
I think the important thing is that goals don’t have to have end points and they can shift as you learn more.
As we tried new things to deal with my knee injury, we eliminated certain things that HAD been goals but were no longer part of my program. So three times a week physical therapy turned into three times a week on the bike, and now I have a whole new plan that is designed to get the muscles around my knee stronger.
The big theme? GET STRONGER and HEAL MY KNEE. Is what I’m doing now in service of that? Yes, even though it's a different goal than I had at the beginning of my journey.
The other important part of goal seting (for me) is tryign to focus on how I want my life to go, not necessarily on short term promises about actions I want to take.
Goal-Setting Strategies: make your plan and enjoy the ride
Sometimes you do need a goal to keep you on track. It took a commitment in the beginning to remember that we’ don’t buy books and clothes, but we did it.
So making a plan is key, and then enjoying the ride along the way keeps you on track.
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So: think about how you want your life to go, how it could be different, and set goals from there. And, no end points or rigidity. Shift your goals as you learn more.
I set new goals for the year but I’m not ready to share them yet! Coming soon, I'm sure.
If you set some goals in January this year, how’s it going? Are you thinking about goals coming up?
Happy goal setting!