I think we often underestimate the power in goal setting for both us as teachers/leaders and for our students. If done properly, setting goals with your teachers if you’re a coach or administrator or with your students if you are a teacher can truly create a path directly to achievement. By incorporating true goal setting, you are giving others an opportunity to truly take ownership of their own successes.
Goal setting has to be done right, though. If you just write down a goal without a plan for achieving it, then you are setting yourself up for failure. The often-used saying of “Failing to plan is planning for failure” holds so much value if you really sit down and take it in. For example, think about a diet or weight loss plan. Let’s say you set a goal to lose 10 lbs before the new year starts. If you do not set a specific goal, set how you will lose that weight, create a plan to follow in order to make it happen then you will not ever meet that goal. Simply stating that you want to lose 10 lbs without meal prepping, working out, or planning how you will lose it will not do the trick.
Goal setting in your schools and classrooms work the exact same way. If you say you want your school to do better about bringing in the community but do not set a plan or timeline for this goal, it will not happen.
This is why I love using the SMART Goals strategy. My first time writing one of these was quite the reality check for how little planning I was putting into my goals. Oh, and another reality check was how hard it was to really write one. I had to dig much deeper into exactly what I wanted to see achieved and the necessities to get there.
When setting your SMART goals, be sure to be very specific as to what you want to achieve. It cannot be that you simply want more students to master standards or that teachers will attend professional learning more often. You need to dig into what “more students” means by adding a percentage or what does more often look like in your school.
If you are helping your students or teachers set SMART Goals, you are really going to want to push them to be as specific as possible in setting their steps to attain the goal. Walk them through each step of the SMART Goal process and help guide them to dig deep into what they are wanting to achieve and knowing exactly what that success looks like. It may be beneficial to stop and let them tell you their ideas while you provide feedback on what they may need to think about. It would also be good to have an example for them to use as a guide in the wording of their own.
As we move into the New Year, I challenge you to sit down and write out a SMART Goal and plan for achieving it. After you have this completed, you will genuinely feel more inspired to get on it and make it happen! You will take more ownership of that goal and already have a plan for success!
If you are interested in editable templates for your SMART Goals, I have a couple of options available. Click the following links to check them out!
Whether you decide to use this SMART Goals strategy with your staff or students is up to you, but I definitely challenge you to try one for yourself! The amount of planning and thought that goes into it really will help motivate you to achieve it! Your goal will no longer feel like it’s too far from your reach.