New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

The celebrations are over, the morning alarm has been turned back on, and educators and students are back in school (hopefully rested and refreshed). Many people use the new year to set resolutions and goals for the year to come. While we often think first of personal goals (run a marathon, read more books), this attitude can be a great impetus to set new professional goals. Those of us who work in schools get to say “Happy New Year” twice each year and the new calendar year can be a great time to set goals for the remaining school year and even the start of the next academic year.

One of the best ways to set new year’s resolutions is to set tangible goals. I like to set goals based on previous challenges. For example, have faculty been struggling with implementing an aspect our LMS or new operating system? Do I struggle to get devices imaged in time for the start of the academic year? Is there a stack of educational books that I’ve been meaning to read? Whatever my challenges have been in the previous year (or years), this is where I look for my goals.

You may wish to look outside of challenges for opportunities for goal setting. Perhaps there is a new school-wide initiative coming up or a new roll-out and you know technology will play a role. Pick goals that are meaningful for you and your colleagues and that will have a tangible impact on your work and school as well as for faculty, staff, and students.

Use the SMART criteria to establish your goals. SMART is a popular way to set goals as this method helps the goal-setter to write goals out, determine steps, and measure when goals are achieved. The SMART criteria is as follows:
Specific - Goals should target a specific area for improvement.
Measureable - You should be able to quantify or otherwise be able to identify progress.
Assignable - Specify who will be doing what.
Realistic - Goals should be realistically achievable given time and resources.
Time-Related - Specify a timeline and deadline for various steps as well as your goal.

Using the SMART criteria means that the goal setter is forced to sit down and define the goals, specify how to achieve them, make a timeline of events, determine how to measure progress, and identify when the goal is achieved. What I especially like about the SMART method is that if a goal is not achieved, there is a means to analyze the situation and take next steps.

Another key element of tackling and achieving new year’s resolutions is to set up a system of accountability. Share your goals with a supervisor, a colleague, a mentor, and/or a peer. For example, if you have a set a school-wide goal, your direct supervisor is probably the best person with whom to outline and share your goal. If you have set a managerial goal, consider enlisting your subordinates for accountability and feedback. Being transparent with your resolutions and your process help you to stay on track and tackle your goals. You can also receive important and meaningful feedback to further your professional growth.

No matter the method or the subject, the new year can be a great time to harness energy and excitement to set new professional goals and resolutions. Use it to tackle the items on your to-do list and achieve those tasks that you have had on the back-burner.

What goals have you set this year?  Join Jennifer and other ATLIS members on January 23 for an informal conversation about goals, goal-setting, and measures of success.

Jennifer Carey, ATLIS Board Member

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