New Year’s Resolutions vs. SMART Goal-setting
New Year’s Resolutions.
There was a time every January 1st when I thoughtfully crafted a list of resolutions for the New Year. However, since I am a dyed-in-the-wool
control freak goal setter, I scrapped annual New Year’s Resolutions awhile back in favor of setting goals. Setting SMART goals. Including setting homeschooling goals.
Rather than a list of vague things I want to accomplish, I worked on setting “SMART” goals, a concept from prior years in business:
- S = specific
- M = measurable and defined in such a way that I can evaluate progress
- A = achievable; i.e., challenging, but not impossible
- R = relevant; important to vital areas of my life
- T = time-based; that is, they are linked to a date
So, instead of having a goal that sounds more like a New Year’s Resolution:
It would be written as a SMART goal, such as:
In the next month I am going to lose five pounds by losing at least 1 1/4 pounds per week. In order to do this I am going to exercise at least 45 minutes, five days a week and cut all grain products from my diet.
Writing this as a SMART goal forces me to think specifically about how I would lose weight and what specific steps I need to take to do so. It also gives me a way to measure how I am progressing toward my goal.
Setting Homeschooling Goals
Homeschooling is a perfect opportunity to hone your goal-setting skills! In fact, if you have not set goals for yourself and your homeschooling/child training, you have missed out on the motivating, organizing, intentional action-causing power this process provides.
Here is a former SMART goal from a few years ago:
I am going to be more organized with homeschooling by arranging for my husband to watch the kids so I can spend 3-4 hours on the weekend planning for the following week. During that time I will:
- read over my lesson plans for the following week
- look through and note on my planning pages/calendar any scheduled appointments or errands we will need to run
- plan the subjects/assignments we will cover together and individually
- make sure I reserve my books at the library for the next three weeks’ reading
- grade any papers that need grading before the week starts
- plan to procure any needed material for science, history and art activities and projects prior to their scheduled time
It is extremely motivating and rewarding to make positive changes in your life. Moreover, it is crucial modeling for your children, especially as one of our primary goals is to teach them to become independent learners and problem solvers!
Perfectionists: Set Goals with Caution
Now hear this: setting goals does not mean unproductively comparing yourself, your children or your homeschool with others, especially if you are a new homeschooling mom. Nor does it mean that you are a failure if you don’t meet all of your goals.
You, your children and your homeschooling efforts are all works in progress, so realize that like everything else worthwhile, it takes work to make changes – and it often takes longer than you would think and certainly more than you would like.
First Things First: Start With Yourself
I find goal setting the most productive when I begin with myself. Over the years I have learned that the tone I set with my demeanor and attitude, the way I react to my children’s behavior, the peace I exhibit (or not) all greatly affect our school day. Am I modeling grace? Am I flexible? Am I self-controlled? Am I emotionally, spiritually and academically prepared for the day?
If you are having difficulty in some of these areas and you are not meeting with Jesus on a daily basis – I would definitely begin there. Start small and remember it takes 30 days or so to make something a routine! Work on developing consistency!
Create one personal goal or one homeschooling goal in the next 48 hours. Assess where you would like to be and formulate a goal to help you get there. Work on it until it is a SMART goal rather than a vague statement.
For example, perhaps you would like to have more regular prayer as part of your daily morning quiet time. Your SMART goal might read something like this:
Beginning tomorrow I am going to have intentional daily prayer for my children for ten minutes as part of my daily quiet time.
Note – you may have to set a ‘process’ or secondary goal to achieve your primary goal, so consider that as well. You may have to reword your goal as follows:
Beginning tomorrow I am going to get up 15 minutes earlier to have intentional daily prayer for ten minutes as part of my daily quiet time before the children get up in the morning. I will set the alarm to get up at __ and set it again to make sure I pray for at least 10 minutes.
If you already have that priority covered, perhaps you have other personal areas you would like to consider, such as:
- Beginning or tweaking an exercise program
- Making more time for daily personal reading (for your own pleasure and edification)
- Planning a weekly letter or visit to an elderly neighbor or relative
- Finding one relaxational/social outing per week with a friend to renew your perspective
- Rediscovering a beloved hobby you haven’t taken the time to engage in regularly since you began homeschooling
- Trading babysitting time with another mom and planning a weekly or biweekly ‘date night’ with your husband
- Beginning a blog
- Volunteering at church or in your community
Respond in the Comments
If you are serious about making a change in your life, make your goal public. Sharing it with others = instant accountability!
Would you benefit by setting a personal goal for yourself? Do you regularly set goals for yourself or your homeschool? I would love to hear what you are planning or about any difficulties you have setting goals in this post’s comments!
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