Working in Student Affairs, we’re well versed in goal setting. We talk about it with our departments and stress the importance to residence life staff during training. We know why it’s important to set goals, know the tools to use to reach them and what to do to stay accountable along the way. Just because we have this expert knowledge, does not mean that we’re expert goal setters or achievers ourselves. I know I’m sheepishly raising my hand right now, admitting to being a part of that group.
Because September, not January, is more like the “new-year” for those who work in education, it’s the perfect time of year to reflect, revise and reset. Reflect on the previous year: What was amazing? What do you want to change? What do you need to accept and move on from? Revise your goals from the previous year and reset yourself. Use the new year as a new chance to start over in areas you want to continue to improve upon.
I had a great opportunity to put goal setting into action during residence life staff training this past week. Like many of us do during RLS training, we went bowling one night. There were five of us on a team, none of us expert bowlers to say the least. The first game, we did okay. We had fun and didn’t pay much attention to our score. I think we ended up with a total team score of 380, or somewhere in that ballpark. For our second game, we set a goal. We agreed we wanted to achieve a team score of 500. With encouragement, commitment and a lot of cheering, not only did we reach the goal, we surpassed it! We ended up with a total team score of 517 (see photo for proof of sheer joy in zooming past our goal). While this was all in good fun, it did make me think. If we took the same level of encouragement, commitment and cheerleading to all of our goals, I’m certain we’d have some pretty stellar success stories to tell.
I have some pretty big goals for the upcoming year. Some are professional, some personal, some health related, others focusing on finances. I think where I have faltered in the past with goals is not having sound encouragement, strong commitment and no cheerleaders. If I’ve learned anything from the big bowling win, it’s that I need those things to be able to successfully achieve my goals. If I don’t tell others about my goals, how am I going to stay accountable? Who will cheer me on when I need it most, if they don’t know to. Who will I celebrate with if I try to go it alone? These are all important questions that I’ll need to remind myself of along the way.
I’m excited about the goals I’ve set out for the year ahead. It’s going to be a big year, I can just feel it. I hope you are just as excited to get it started, and I look forward to embarking on the year with you all!