5 Goal Setting Tips for the New Year

Reposted with permission from blog.texthelp.com

The start of a new year always gets me thinking about what I’ve accomplished over the last year and what I hope to accomplish over the next 12 months. A simple glance at my social media stream and the number of ads I see for fitness centres tells me I’m not alone. So if you are looking to make 2014 your best year yet (as I am), you should know that it all starts with setting goals.

Road sign with Success and Failure written on it


Actually, to be more specific, it all starts with written goals. Productivity and personal development experts such as Brian Tracy have been telling us for years that “only 3% of adults have clear, written, specific, measurable, time-bounded goals, and by every statistic, they accomplish ten times as much as people with no goals at all.

So to kick off the new year right, I’ve included five tips below on how you can set your own appropriate goals to accomplish this year.

1. Don’t over do it – Having 100 different goals for the year will pretty much guarantee that you will not accomplish the majority of them (even if you do write them down). Stick with 6-8 goals that you can easily keep track of over the year.

2. Create a variety of goals – Most goals I read are either career or fitness oriented. For example, “My goal is to make more money.” or “I want to lose weight.” While there is nothing wrong with wanting to make more money or lose weight, try to include a range of goals that include areas such as work, family, fitness, finances and community.

If you are an educator, you may want to break your professional goals into goals for yourself and goals for your students. For example, you may want to earn a new certification (such as our recently updated Read&Write Gold Certification – more information on this coming soon!) or work on keeping up to date by subscribing to a few blogs (such as this one!). This is in addition to any achievement goals you may want to create for your students.

3. Create SMART Goals – If you have ever read anything on goal setting you have likely come across SMART Goals. The reason this method of creating goals has been around for so long is because it works. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive, which are all components of successfully written goals.

Let’s use losing weight as a simple demonstration… Instead of saying that your goal is to lose weight, try saying you want to lose 10 pounds by May 31st. This is specific (lose weight), measurable (10 lbs), attainable (only you will know if this is realistic), relevant, and time sensitive (by May 31st). This is an example of a goal that you can easily track and will know when it has been met.

Or move your goal to the classroom. Let’s say you want your students to increase their reading ability. To SMART’en up this goal you could say that “A minimum of 6 students in my classroom will increase their reading ability by 2 grade levels (based off of whatever testing system you have in place) by the end of the school year. The combination of clarifying and writing down this goal will help you to meet (if not exceed) it by the deadline.

4. Keep it visible – If you were to take a look at the whiteboard in my office right now you would see a hand-drawn web with 2014 in the middle and written goals for different areas of my life coming out from it. Every day when I walk in the office I see it. Writing goals and then filing them away makes it too easy to forget them (whether accidentally or on purpose). Hold yourself accountable by making your goals visible so that you (and others) can see them.

5. Don’t forget an action plan – By definition goals are something that you have not yet accomplished, but that you hope to accomplish soon. Jot down the steps necessary (or the questions you need to answer) to make your goals a reality. Then follow your plan.

Now that you know the system for success, it’s up to you to create your own goals. I would love to hear some of them in the comments area below!

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About Jason Carroll

Jason first learned of Assistive Technology while working on his undergraduate degree where much of his spare time was spent assisting a regional education centre with basic technology needs. Amazed at how this technology could benefit so many students (particularly those he grew up with) he was hooked and immediately became an expert at the centre. After receiving his Masters, Jason returned to the coop to serve as a full time Assistive Technology Consultant serving over 200 schools in the central Kentucky Region.

Since this time, Jason has trained thousands on Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning concepts throughout the United States and beyond. His focus is on integrating research based practices into the work he does and helping others ensure that what they are doing works. He specialises in assisting people to bridge the gap between operation of technology and actual implementation. Jason is a published author, has taught Instructional Technology and Universal Design for Learning at the University level, and spends a significant amount of time on e-Learning and blended learning initiatives. He is a graduate of the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP) from California State University at Northridge and holds a Masters in Business Administration.

Currently Jason serves as Product Marketing Manager for North America at Texthelp Inc. where he oversees new product launches and speaks nationally on a variety of Assistive Technology topics.

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