How Teachers Can Really Accomplish Their Goals in The New Year

Are you a teacher who makes up the 40% of Americans who set New Year’s resolutions? If so, is your aim to sharpen your craft as an educator or maybe a more personal aspiration around improved health or more satisfying relationships?

Unfortunately, approximately 86% of the goals we set for ourselves in the new year fizzle out in the first four weeks. Once we appreciate why we abandon our intentions, we can better determine how to improve our sticktoitiveness. Consider the following impediments to succeeding with our goals:

  1. Unrealistic expectations: We set goals that are too lofty, such as losing 20 pounds when we have never lost more than five in an attempt. This is common when setting goals because we confuse dreams with reality.
  2. Lack of Resources: Having support to achieve our goals is important as it provides incentive, accountability, and tools. Resources might be a support system, a tool to measure progress, or a way to heighten enjoyment (i.e. a new pair of running shoes).
    1. Measuring Success: We make the common mistake of arbitrary or obscure goals that we can’t measure, such as “be happier” or “get healthier,” without clear parameters for what success looks like.
    2. No Exit Strategy: Successful ventures plan for endings, such as partnership agreements for entrepreneurs who opt not to continue the business. Without a constructive ending and plan for pausing, delaying, or altering our goals, we may feel a sense of failure that decreases motivation.
    3. Poorly Defined Objectives: An objective is a measurable component of a larger goal. If I want to be healthier, I’d like to start by exercising 15 minutes a day/ three times a week. By combining several objectives with clear measures of success, we are more likely to meet our goals.
    4. Self-Discipline: What sounds appealing at one point in time may fade with temptation or a loss of will power. In the morning we hop on the scale and get agitated by the number, vowing to eat better By 9 p.m. we are searching our pantry for something sweet to satisfy our craving.
    5. Forces for Sameness: Resistance, or the interplay between the forces for sameness and change is the least appreciated factor in accomplishing our goals. If we have been doing something one way for a while, we have an investment in that method we need to recognize. Without fully understanding what is, we have less chance of sustainable change.
    6. Low Energy: If we haven’t been taking good care of ourselves with regard to sleep, nutrition, and exercise, we may not have the stamina to add one more thing to our plate. If our energy is low, so too will be our passion to stay with our goals, even with adversity.
    7. Emphasizing Outcome over Process: All transformation, the type of change that is deep and long lasting, focuses more on how we are getting to our destination. The way in which we live our lives or work toward our goal is the ultimate reward, more so than end results which are often times further outside our control.



If we want to be successful in achieving our goals, we will take these ten points into consideration, looking for clarity in the obstacles that have held us back thus far. All good plans have contingencies, the ability to pivot, a firm grasp of the obstacles, and a strong commitment to enduring under duress.

This article is written by Jared Scherz, Ph.D., M.Ed. and CEO, of TeacherCoach a professional and personal teacher health site.

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