Gyms typically sell memberships with the expectation that a mere 18% of people will actually use them. <http://www.quora.com/What-percentage-of-new-gym-members-in-January-stop-coming-after-February> People set goals that they will never achieve. In the past I have set some outrageous goals like competing in a mini triathlon, grade all of my students essays over the weekend and unfortunately they were unrealistic for many reasons and they failed miserably. Forbes reports that only 8% of people will achieve their resolution this year. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/> As I start the new year, I don’t want my teachers’ goals to be part of that 92% of failed resolutions.
When it comes to resolutions we ask our students what are their goals and how are they are going to accomplish them? We assume that they now have four months of the year under their belt so how are they going to be better? Many students give the answer that they think we want to hear, “Get better grades”, “ Study more”, “turn in my work on time”. Those are all good resolutions but for many a student, nothing changes. They fail because we don’t give them the tools for their goal to be successful. We think that they know how to set and achieve goals.
As an Instructional Technology Coach, my job is ALL about goals- helping teachers and students to them, and mostly helping them keep their goals. The key to setting and keeping goals are making sure they are specific, realistic and attainable.
What I mean by that is when you are setting a goal make it specific. For example many students love to say they want to get good grades. As good of a goal as that is it is not specific enough to accomplish. What do you mean by good grades? An A, B, C or D may all be good grades to different students. Which class? Which subject? We need to narrow down that goal to the point that we can make a plan for success.
Be realistic! I am going to lose 50 pounds, or go to the health club everyday (when you haven’t set foot in the health club last year) or I am going to get straight “A’s” when they are not passing any of their classes. Being realistic means that you have to set a goal that you won’t get FRUSTRATED everyday. It is not realistic to go to the health club everyday, try setting an attainable goal of 1 or 2 times a week. Then if you miss a day you haven’t lost sight of your goal (and won’t give up too easily). You even have a chance to exceed your goal which will help you keep you going.
Making your goal attainable is more than just stating an outcome. Such as, “I want to lose 50 pounds.” How are you going to get there? Are you going to cut something out of your diet or cut down portion size? Make your goals something that you can reach and stay on task. More importantly your goal should not be weight loss. Your goal should be eating healthier or working out and the outcome will be weight loss. You are not focussing on your weight but on your lifestyle, how do you want to live? Now that’s the goal!
All of my teachers are in different places so there is not just one goal. Every teacher needs to look to where they want go. I am there to help guide them and keep them from getting lost. I am their personal trainer, the one who yells at you when you are slacking at the health club. You hate that guy while you are struggling but deep down you know they have your best interest in mind.
My job is to foster, guide and challenge the teachers so they inturn can do the same for the students. Unlike the New Year’s health club craze (or diet) this won’t stop in a week!
Let’s be the 8% of successful resolutions!