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Five Tips to Help You Stick to Your 2016 Resolutions

What are your resolutions for 2016? Get organized? Stay ahead of grading? Or maybe you want to be more patient with your students. Regardless of what you want to change this year, it is possible to make a plan and stick with it.

When picking your resolution, remember the word “SMART”.

Setting SMART Goals

Specific: It’s great to want to make your students more successful, but in order to do so, you have to define what the word “successful” means and how you’ll make it happen. Make your goal as specific as possible. For instance, your goal could be to reduce disruptive behavior and classroom interruptions by 50% by the end of the school year. The more specific your goal, the easier it is to know when it has been accomplished or when it’s time to set a new, more challenging one.

Measureable: How will you know when your goal has been achieved? For the example above, you can create a chart to mark the number of times you need to quiet the class or stop instruction because of disruptions. Analyze the chart each week to see how you and your students are doing.

Action Oriented: What steps will you take to achieve your goal? Create daily or weekly procedures that will help you along the way. For example, to cut back on disruptive behavior, you can schedule one-on-one meetings with students each week to understand why they are acting out and determine how you can support them. Then, analyze the disruptive behavior chart from Step 2 to see if these meetings are helping to reduce negative behavior.

Realistic: How do you know you can achieve this goal? If the goal is too challenging, you’ll get discouraged and give up. For instance, it’s probably not realistic to set a goal for all of your students to have perfect behavior by the end of the year. Instead, pick a goal that you believe can be accomplished. You can always set another more ambitious goal later in the year.

Timely: When do you want to achieve your goal? Set a date, mark your calendar, start a countdown, and get working! It’s important to have an endpoint in mind, or you may get lazy or forget about your goal. A great idea is to set check-ins before the deadline so you stay on track and know where you stand and how much work is ahead of you. Share your progress with your students and their families; when they are on board, you have a better chance of success.

To make sure you never forget these easy-to-follow steps, we created free printables for you and your students. Use this chart to fill out your own goals and encourage your older students to do the same. Click here for a printable for younger kids. For more resolution ideas, classroom projects, and inspiration to start 2016 on the right foot, check out our Pinterest board.

Try these SMART tips and you’ll be on your way towards a fulfilling, productive, and successful 2016!

If professional development is on your list of 2016 resolutions, visit our website to learn about our courses.

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