It’s just about 2014. And that means it’s time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished in 2013 and what you’d like to tackle in the new year.
Resolutions help us create and stick to goals throughout the year. While sometimes cliché, they truly do help many people accomplish great things.
And that’s exactly why your students should create them, too.
Students don’t normally set goals until much later in their school careers. But, they should be setting goals from the second the step into their first day in kindergarten. Here’s why:
There are some adults who simply don’t goal plan. And it’s because they never did it when they were a kid. What you do and learn at an early age is imprinted in who you become as an adult. No goal planning as a child means no goal planning as an adult. If you start early, when students are in elementary school, they’ll be goal setters for life.
When students come home from school, there are one thousand things they could be doing. Maybe they eat a snack, read 10 pages in their social studies text book, or toss the football around with their older brother. This is is great, but it doesn’t create an overall focus for the year. One large goal can be broken down into smaller daily goals that require focus to complete. For example, if your students want to read 100 books this year, how does that break down into books/month and pages/day. Focus helps goals become attainable.
“I never seem to get anything done.” It’s the classic line you’ve likely heard from adults and students a like. There simply isn’t enough time, they never complete anything, etc. By setting a goal, and giving your students a year to complete it, they’ll finally see a project to completion. Once completed, they’ll likely be motivated to set another goal. Completing one project is great. Completing three is better.
If you put your mind to it. While dry and motivational, it’s true. Having been part of trying to motivate students to get things done in businesses classes throughout Vermont, I’ve seen first hand how discouraged some students get. They simply don’t attempt what they want to accomplish. Get them to set smaller goals. As these goals are met, they’ll see that anything is possible if they put their mind to it. And when things start going their way, not only will they set more goals, but their entire outlook on life changes. And that’s where the real magic happens.
It’s a lot more challenging to make something happen by yourself. With a team, you’re able to strive towards a common goal and work through challenges together. Let your students create team goals. Partner with a couple other students – or even the whole class. Pick a goal that everyone is excited about. Watch how each student works together, motivating each other through the time times and celebrating the high points.
Teamwork is the crux of any organization – whether you work at a small business on main street or a large corporation downtown – a horse farm or an airplane – everyone works as a team. And school is one of the best environments to reinforce teamwork. As mentioned in the last list item, setting class-wide goals is the perfect alternative to individual resolutions. For example, if every students gets above a B for the semester, you’ll have an ice-cream social. While it may not be the best motivator, you’ll get to see how students work in teams to make each other successful. When one student is down, another is there to pick them up.
With New Year’s resolutions set in stone, there’s one thing left to tell your students: They may fail. They may not accomplish what they wanted to. In essence, they failed. However, this is one of my favorite learning opportunities. When students fail, they get discouraged. But, it’s what they do next that is their shining moment. Take the opportunity to show them who else has failed in history and let them know one of my favorite quotes. Those who have succeeded have fallen seven times, but have gotten up eight.
I should have done this. I could have done that. These regrets plague successful goal setting. Don’t let your students fall in a sea of regret. Let them venture out into the un-known. Let them find out what it’s like to experience something different. If they don’t, they’ll simply be stuck saying “I coulda, shoulda, woulda…”
Don’t let your students slouch over in their desks, painfully waiting for the bell to ring. Motivate them to take action. It’s the true difference between winners and losers. Those who take action are successful. And if they fail, like in reason #7, at least they learn from their experience and take action again. It’s one thing to plan. It’s another to execute. Show them how to execute.
Goal setting, while often written off as boring and useless, is actually quite fun. For students who are just getting their first taste of goal setting, it can be daunting. But, let your students create any goal they’d like. And the set them free. Watch them work with themselves, other students, and maybe even you to show them how much fun it is.
There are many people who view New Year’s resolutions as something that’s ripe for failure. Sure, a lot of New Year’s goals fall through the cracks, but what about the successes? The people who have changed their lives for the better, done something they never thought was possible. This is why people set goals – to crush the barriers between them and success.
Get your students on the path to success by setting a New Year’s resolution that’s specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely – because, well, that’s the smart thing to do to.
Have your students made New Year’s resolutions? How have you turned it into a fun and engaging lesson plan?