D: Determine Your Goals
D in BURNED-IN Teacher:
As I have read and reflected on my past blog entries, I've realized that I need to simplify my mission and my blog posts. You blog, you learn! Therefore, let's keep this blog simple starting now. Let's start with explaining each letter of the BURNED-IN Teacher Program, letter-by-letter, over the next few weeks.
And the simplicity continues with:
What It Means:
Determining your goals is a BIG step in the process of beating burnout. Without clear goals, you cannot see where you want to go, and (therefore) you wonder to yourself, "What's the point of all of this?" Your goals can, will, and should be very different than others' around you. You are YOU and they are THEM. Also, don't get trapped in the comparison game with this. These goals should be about your professional growth, not about competing to be better than the teacher down the hall.
Let's talk 'smart' goals
A few years ago, I sat down at McDonald's with a friend and we had a mission: change our lives. We had several things about our lives that we were unhappy with, all of them different from one another, but all important, just the same. Here is how we organized our goals:
S: Specific (What, Why, and How) - "My goal is to decide what Master's Degree program I want pursue, because I know that I do not want to continue to be in the classroom, but I want to keep working with teachers and students by doing research."
M: Measurable (Long Term/Short Term) - "I will do research on x types of Degrees by x date to determine what it is that I want to get my Master's Degree in by x date. If I don't find the thing that feels right, I may need to change my goal." (Side Note: You may have an end date for the entire goal to be met, but dates that lead up to that main date to keep you on track.)
A: Achievable (agreed, attainable) - "I am going to look for a Master's Program that I can visualize myself doing and enjoying. My family knows about my goals and are supportive of them."
R: Relevant (measure outcomes, not activities) - "After all of the research, I will decide which Degree program would best fit my personality and how much time I want to spend on the degree, so that I don't quit."
T: Time Bound (time-limited, time-sensitive) - "I will choose what Degree I want to pursue by x date, so that I have time to fill out my application and make plans for my family and myself as I work toward reaching this goal."
Questions You Can Ask Yourself:
What is the ultimate outcome that I want from setting this goal?
Am I setting this goal for ME or to meet someone else's expectations?
Does this goal match my personality type and strengths?
Will this goal help me to feel happier and more fulfilled in my personal and/or professional life?
- Chances are, if you've landed on this site, you've already come to the conclusion that you need help or that you need someone to understand you, your situation, and your feelings about it. If you've already tried talking to someone (or someones) and their advice to you is to, "Just make it to summer, and then you'll feel better," and you know you need more than that, it's time to start searching somewhere else. Try other circles that you've never tried before or try the PRIVATE Burned-In Teacher Facebook Community , where we're here for you, 24/7. Join us and read about other's journeys or tell us about your journey so far, ask questions, or support another teacher. We're in this together!
- Forgive yourself. Seriously. Stop feeling guilty about where you are in your journey and how you are feeling about it. Being who you are, where you are is part of the amazing journey that can and will go wherever you choose. It really is up to you to decide where the path will go. Own it. Be proud of it and, damn it, be EXCITED about it. This is your LIFE we are talking about here. Don't take it lightly.
Things I have used to help me along my journey of "determining your goals":
- The book that started me on my journey out of burnout way back in 2014 was the oldie, but goodie: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephan Covey. This, along side of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do by Amy Morin is a match made in Heaven, I tell you. I'm not suggesting you read them at the same time, but if that's your thing, I'm not going to judge you.
- Read. Watch. Learn. Search for help from articles, YouTube videos, and the opinions of strangers. They may just have that bit of advice that helps you decide what needs to begin to change to help you on your journey to be a happier, more fulfilled human being.
Take a deep breath. We are our own heroes. You can do this. Burn on.
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