D: Determine Your Goals
D in BURNED-IN Teacher:
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.
Setting yourself up for success, no matter where you are now and where you want to go in the future all starts with you setting aside time to assess what you want for yourself. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where all of the previous posts about BURNED-IN come together.
now, 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 do you want for you, your family, your profession? The time is now!
What went well last year? What didn’t?
What are you choosing to say NO and YES to?
What are your professional and personal goals?
What’s your word of the year?
- Planning for the future, no matter what it means for you, personally or professionally is sure to send you on a trajectory of hope and anticipation.
- 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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