I love New Year’s. I love fresh starts. I love new beginnings. This love of new beginnings is one of the reasons that I LOVE being an educator. The traditional New Year’s season is more of a bonus goal setting time for me, as I generally think about my year from first day of school to the last, rather than January to December. As I was thinking about this extra gift of goal setting and refocus, I began to tally up all of the different markers in my year that I intentionally take inventory and take action.
If I were to have a formal “goal-setting calendar”, it might look a little like this.
- January: I like to focus on a word, or group of words to focus the year.
- February: I take the opportunity to be reflective and set new goals on my birthday.
- March: Budgets are generally due in March, so this is a great time to check in on progress and make plans for the future.
- May: End of year assessment and regroup.
- July: Personal professional goals for the next school year, and the gear up for teachers to return.
- August: My husband and I always reevaluate and talk through our plans and goals and progress as a family at our anniversary. (August is also my 1/2 birthday, so it is a good time to check in on my birthday goals.)
- November: Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge accomplishments, blessings and those that have helped you grow throughout the year.
When I was in the classroom I also used grading periods and unit start and stops to reevaluate and set goals for student support and growth. Now I throw in school board updates, and department meetings.
With all of this reflection and goal setting, you might think that I am a fan of resolutions. I am not. I don’t make them.
Making a New Year’s Resolution seems a lot like the definition here: hard to get through, it means something different to everyone, and can make you want to give up before you start. (Did you even read all of the definition?)
Resolute. This is the one for me. I want to be bold and steady. Marked by firm determination? Yes, please!
Making resolutions is something you do.
Being resolute is something you are.
My “goal setting calendar” is really more about my commitment to the continuous cycle of improvement. For the last few years I have used the PDSA Cycle to think about initiatives, project planning, and change. It also works with party planning, knocking out your Christmas shopping, and reorganizing your closet. This process originated in the healthcare field and has been applied beautifully to educational endeavors. Check out this resource!
Being resolute is about the process.
When David and I were engaged, before we planned any of the wedding details, we went to set up premarital counseling with Brother Tom Hill, the campus pastor at SAGU. After congratulating us, he got out his calendar and was ready to schedule our TEN SESSIONS. After about session three David and I noticed how many times he used the word “process”. Marriage is a process. You will have to go through the process of getting to know each other. You will learn through the process. The next session we may have tick marked how many times he said process on the top of our notes…it was a lot.
It seems silly how clearly I remember this, but the truth is-19 years later, Brother Tom is still right. Marriage is a process. Teaching is a process. Parenting is a process. Change is a process. Learning is a process. Continuous improvement is continuous…it is cyclical…it is a process.
As we move through this segment of the cycle, this portion of the process, I want to be bold, steady, marked by determination, and as always…still learning.
Happy New Year, Friends!