Monday, August 4, 2014

New (School) Year - New You

I've been thinking a lot lately about life goals.  In fact, I think about goals in most of my spare time.  The only thing I can do to stop thinking about the future is to hang out with a friend or binge on The Good Wife.  But thinking about goals isn't a bad thing.  Actually, with back to school quickly approaching, I think it's a good thing!

Why wait until New Year's Eve to set goals for ourselves?

With a new school year beginning, we have a fresh start.  We have an opportunity to start anew and to make progress in so many different areas of our lives.

If you're in education, you've probably heard of SMART goals.

SMART Goals are an excellent way for you to reach realistic goals in a certain amount of time.  If you are interested in learning more about SMART goals, check out Adam Sicinski's post.  He offers a ton of valuable information!

I'm more concerned with us Brownbaggers setting goals for multiple areas of our lives.  Clustering our goals.  It's so easy for us to be focused on helping our students, growing as teachers, and collaborating with others in our field. This is great!  But, teaching should not be our entire lives.  Simply said, it's just not healthy. 

Instead, we should have lives that are enriched in various areas.  Spending a considerable amount of time in these areas will help us to feel more fulfilled and positive.  

So I'm going to show you what I am doing in hopes that you might be inspired to do it too!  Here are the 6 areas that I plan to set goals in.  Before I set my goals, I'm going to ask myself a few questions and reflect on what's going on in my life.  After all, reflection is the mark of a true teacher, right?  Only after I spend time reflecting will I then set goals.

Goal-Setting Areas & Questions to Reflect On:
  • Spirituality:  How is my spiritual life? How often am I reading my Bible? Attending church? What relationships do I have that are centered around the love for Jesus Christ? In what ways am I volunteering my time?
  • Family: How often do I spend quality time with my family members? In what ways do I communicate with my family (text, email, phone call, in person, etc.)? Am I okay with that?
  • Friends: How often do I spend quality time with my friends? In what ways do I communicate with my friends (text, email, phone call, in person, etc.)? Am I okay with that? Am I open to new friendships? Do I make an effort?
  • Hobbies: What is my favorite way to spend my free time? How often do I make time to do that activity? What new hobbies have I always wanted to try but haven't had the courage to do so?
  • Work: Based on my actions, how do I think my co-workers view me? How can I make myself more valuable at work? What professional development can I do to serve others better?
  • Fitness: What is my current fitness routine? What challenges can I put on myself? 
It's important that when I reflect on these areas of my life, that I am extremely honest with myself.  Without honesty, I won't be able to improve myself.  From that point, I can move onto setting my goals.  While I won't share my reflections with you (for sake of time and it may be a little awkward), I will share my finalized goals.
  • Spirituality:  Join a small group.  Serve 1x/month in the community outreach starting in August/Sept.
  • Family: Pick up the phone and call my family members (immediate and extended).
  • Friends: Let new friendships emerge by getting contact information, making plans, and sticking to them.
  • Hobbies: Try a Paint Nite class with my friends.
  • Work: Finish reading Creating Magic.  Set and stick to specific times to work on certain projects.
  • Fitness: Run the Hot Chocolate 15K in November.
Some people might ask, why do you need to write your goals down?  It's a valid question.  Really, you don't need to write your goals down.  But I would argue that taking the time to write them down forces you to think more about what you want out of life.  What you expect from yourself, what you want to add to the lives of others, and what you desire from your family and friends. Better yet, publishing them publicly gives you accountability to stick with it. Remember that these aren't set in stone. Reevaluate monthly. Your desires might change and that's okay. It's important to be intentional though. After all, writing without a sharpened pencil is pointless.

So what goals do you have Brownbaggers?  Comment below!  I'd love to hear what you have going on.  Let's keep each other accountable.