If I had a dollar for every time I overheard someone say or post, “New Year, New Me!” I’d have a whole bunch of dollars. I’m probably guilty of it myself in my past life, but these days, I’m a little more realistic. And let’s be real- this past year has been REAL. Real tough, real long, real real. With each new year, there is always pressure to set big goals and make resolutions. If you’re like me, they don’t always pan out like we promise ourselves they will. How can we plan smarter and actually stick to it? To steal a line from my daughter’s beloved Paw Patrol, “Let’s dive in!” to goal setting tips for 2022.
Get to know SMART Goals
If you’re an educator, chances are you have encountered SMART Goals in your professional development areas. Even if the acronym itself isn’t familiar to you, the concept is a solid one that students, families and teachers alike can effectively use in a variety of ways. So many times, we approach the new year as a magical threshold to cross into where we’ll eat all the vegetables, make it to that 5 am spin class and stop over spending at Target (*cough cough*). These are all great ideas, but do they work for you? Let’s use SMART goals as a foundation for our goal setting for 2022.
First, what is a SMART goal? Though I have come across different variations of the words within the acronym, the goal setting concept remains the same.
A SMART Goal is:
- Time- Bound
Plan your roadtrip!
I like to look at most things as a journey. Journeys are best enjoyed with fun sights mapped out along the way from point A to point B. First and foremost, decide where you are and where you want to end up. Is your goal to lose a certain amount of weight in the course of the year? Maybe it’s to pay off your student loans or to save up to buy your dream car. Whatever the goal setting or resolution you envision, make a plan, stick to it and own it.
A good way to begin is to brainstorm what you most want to achieve. Use the following prompts to start things off.
- I want to:
- Be …
- Feel …
- Do …
- Have …
Tip: Don’t overthink your responses. What is the first thing that comes to your mind? For fun, I posed the prompts to my son and he responded that he wants to be a professional wrestler, be powerful, eat cookies and have 100 Nerf guns. So, you know, no pressure to save the planet or anything like that. Have fun with it!
Review your responses. Highlight ONE that either pops out at you first, seems the easiest or is just your favorite for any reason!
Goal Setting and YOU
In order to be successful at what you set out to do, you must tailor your plan to suit YOU. Open up this free downloadable SMART goal template to get started making your plans.
- What is the SPECIFIC goal you see for yourself? In order to plan out your strategy, you’ll need to determine what it is that you hope to accomplish. Be detailed in your response, you can always go back and make changes and edits.
- Is your goal MEASURABLE? How will you know that you have accomplished your goal? This will tie in later, but having a barometer to gauge your success is critical.
- Is it REALISTIC for you to achieve this goal? Will YOU be able to attain what you set out to do? As a side exercise, brainstorm what your challenges and roadblocks might be. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, but know that the temptation of ordering out for lunch is your kryptonite (lookin at you, Chipotle), commit to ordering out once a week or once every other week. Or, maybe you want to run a marathon. If running is new for you, start with smaller bite- sized goals to work up to your Big Kahuna. Complete a 5k and then build up to 10k runs and so on. Your knees will thank you.
- Is it RELEVANT to you? Is this something that you feel passionately about? Will it bring meaning and significance to your life? When you accomplish this goal, what will you hope to have gained? If your response feels superficial, maybe revisit your earlier list and reconsider your plan. Don’t be hard on yourself. It doesn’t have to be Nobel Prize worthy material. But, it does have to matter to YOU.
- What is your TIME FRAME? This is last, but certainly not the least important of your goal setting strategy. When do you want to see this goal accomplished by? Maybe you’ll give yourself the whole year or maybe something smaller, like 3 months. Whatever the time frame, remember that you can adjust where needed.
Beyond the goal setting
Depending on the time frame that you set, the challenges you face and life in general, you will undoubtedly experience a great deal on your goal setting journey. PLAN FOR THIS! How, you ask? Easy. You know yourself. Brainstorm what you can do if you lose motivation, get off track or get overwhelmed. First of all, IT IS OK. If everything was easy, everything would be perfect. But life is not easy and it’s not perfect.
- Document your journey. I’m a visual learner, so I like seeing plans neatly out lined with fun colors and graphics. Maybe create a vision board.
- Reflect. Revisit the prompts from above as you move through your plans. Do you still envision the same outcome? Do you still feel connected to your plan? Has your plan evolved over time?
- Recruit an accountability buddy. Certainly, if you don’t tell anyone your plans, then, in theory, you can’t fail. Take a leap, be bold. Share your plans with someone who supports you. Make sure the person you choose is positive, supportive and empathetic to your aspirations.
It’s a new year (almost) and you can be anything you want. Believe in yourself, breathe and know that you’ve got this. Drop us a comment here or on our socials. What are YOUR goals for 2022 and beyond? We can’t wait to cheer you on. Happy New Year!
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.