#SH302: Goal Setting

by | May 6, 2018 | 77 comments

9 min read

Goal Setting

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. ~ Tony Robbins

How serious are you about achieving your goals and living a life of fulfillment? Do you know what you truly want to get out of each day, week, month, and year? Setting goals is a critical first step to uncovering the life you truly want to live. As Thoreau wrote in Walden, “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” At TheSchoolHouse302 we don’t purport certain achievements, wealth, status, or epic lifestyles. Our desire for ourselves and others is for individuals to be committed to living a life of passion and attaining a desired way of life that individuals want to live and that compliments all of humanity.

To pursue this noble endeavor, we suggest that you revisit and recommit to your personal and professional goals. To do so with the balance necessary to be successful, we first offer TheSchoolHouse302 Blockchain of Life that encompasses areas of your life that should have clarity for goal setting. We first offer this model, prior to discussing goals, because there often exists a huge gap between goal setting and goal getting. At times, people mistake the two and fail to actuate their goals, focusing on starting something new but necessarily the persistence it takes to finish something (Acuff, 2017). This model is designed so that people understand how each area of our life is interconnected as a system. The purpose of the model is to understand the harmony needed within the system and to feel inspired and motivated by its simplicity.

  • Wellness–your fitness, health, energy levels, and overall feeling of wellbeing
  • Spirituality— your faith, religion, self-reflection, and a feeling of connectedness to the world
  • Family–your relatives who you keep closest in heart and mind  
  • Friendships–the people you rely on for social activities, fun, and candid conversations
  • Work–your role in the organization, your impact on the vision, and your financial earnings
  • Growth–your personal and professional development  

TheSchoolHouse302 Blockchain of Life

That brings us to our three very simple strategies to maximize the blockchain to your goals. Once we internalize the blockchain, we can select any given goal that we have in life and use these three very simple but powerful techniques to realize even the most massive accomplishments.

Be Specific.

Deciding to set goals is probably one of the most important decisions you can make, but most people don’t set clear goals in their life. ~ Thibaut Meurisse

Consider you are setting goals within “work” on the blockchain and you are weighing the pros and cons of going back to school to develop additional skills since you think it will lead to higher pay and a possible promotion. The goal of “going back to school” isn’t specific enough, nor is developing some “new skills.” However, identifying precisely what you want to pursue and definitively why you want to pursue it is critical. This is what Napoleon Hill describes as a clear concise mental picture, which provides the needed clarity and purpose for your goal (Hill, 2016). This step is vital because going back to school will require time, energy, money, sacrifice, and commitment. Yes, the higher pay may be something you want, but the goal has to be bigger and worth more than the tradeoff or it will not be worth pursuing and you may even resent the massive commitment it takes for the minimal reward. “Out tendency to rely upon external motivators is ironic considering how ineffective they are” (Meurisse, 2015). Being specific requires you to not only be precise on what you want to achieve, such as a Master’s of Science in Marketing in the case of going back to graduate school, but also specific on a why that goes beyond the extrinsic. The power in specificity comes from within you when you identify the internal reward that you seek, beyond more money, position, and power, to stronger personal autonomy, concept mastery, or purpose in life.

Technical Tip: Developing clear goals is challenging. There are six elements to the blockchain and we suggest you focus on each of them over two months. Three elements the first month (in the first three weeks of the month), with a week of reflection at the end of the month, and then three the next month, again, with a week of reflection. Although this may seem drawn out and you could push this exercise much quicker, we advocate for a slower more thoughtful and reflective process, which is why it takes a considerable amount of time. This methodical process is a play on Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues, which he identified and then focused on only one virtue per week to develop and to improve himself over time.

Find Time.

If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities. ~ Maya Angelou

Have you ever purchased a gym membership to only find that the closest you got to the gym and working out is when you put the gym key tag on your keyring? If going to the gym is an avenue to reach your wellness and fitness goals then you have to deconstruct your day and find opportunities to fit gym time into your schedule. This means evaluating what is occupying your time throughout the day and week to identify gaps that you can maximize. This also requires you to prioritize what is important to you. When we fail to do things, it’s typically because we don’t value them enough. “Many people fail on their professional development goals for the year because they take on a lot of goals–goals that they feel they ‘should’ do but ultimately don’t energize them” (Saunders, 2016). Two major factors in finding time for your goals is to 1. Narrow them down to the goals that are most important to you, and 2. Quit something that you’re currently doing that isn’t aligned to your long-range plan.

Technical Tip: Quit Something. Don’t continue to do the same routine and expect something new or different. If your goal is to read more, then you might need to give up one of your favorite TV programs to do so. As Einstein said, “the definition of insanity is doing something over-and-over again and expecting a different result.” Remember, this is about reaching your goals, whether growing as a leader, living a healthy lifestyle, or being a better parent, you have to look at your actions and ask tough questions like, is this TV program helping me reach my goals? As Dr. Henry Cloud writes in Necessary Endings, we have to approach ourselves and our life like a skilled gardner who knows pruning is the key to sustaining healthy and beautiful roses.

Write It.

Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. ~ Francis Bacon

Don’t waste time telling everyone about your goals if you don’t have them written down. About 87% of people don’t have clear goals, another 10% can articulate them, and only 3% of people actually write them down. We advocate for a sticky-note in multiple places, like the mirror where you brush your teeth, the horn of your car, your coffee mug in the AM, or your daily planner. Write your goals in places that you will see them often, which is an accountability strategy. If you can’t hold yourself accountable to your own written word, no one can. Not only is writing your goal an accountability measure but it supports the specificity we started with in this model, which completes the cycle of goal setting and allows you to stretch beyond your dreams and into reality. Writing your goals is the first step in making them real–they go from being thoughts to words to actions.

Technical Tip: Use a journal, often, day and night. If you don’t commit to writing your goals, all of your hopes and dreams, your chances of success are very limited. Also, don’t restrict yourself to just words. Use pictures to augment what you write down in your journal to track your progress and ignite the passion and emotion necessary to trigger action. At times, words alone don’t fuel excite the mind the way a great picture can. Utilize photos, and other visuals, to document where you are now and where you are going to chronicle your journey. A well-kept journal is the key to reflection and reflection opens doors that our mind’s eye wouldn’t otherwise have seen.

TheSchoolHouse302 Goal Setting Model

That’s TheSchoolHouse302 model for goal setting. We hope that you use our technical tips in your life and work so that you can lead better and grow faster through stronger goal setting. We contend that if you are specific with your goals, you make time to fit them into your day, and you write them down, you’ll achieve successes greater than ever before. If you want more help with goal setting for the leaders in your organization, don’t hesitate to contact us, we can help.

Let us know what you think of this #SH302 post with a like, follow, or comment. Find us on Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, & SoundCould. And if you want one simple model for leading better and growing faster per month, follow this blog by entering your email at the top right of the screen.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J.


Acuff, J. (2017). Finish: Give yourself the gift of done. New York: Penguin.

Cloud, H. (2010). Necessary endings: The employees, businesses, and relationships that all of us have to give up in order to move forward. New York: HarperCollins.

Hill, N. (2016). Think and grow rich. OPU.

Meurisse, T. (2015). Goal setting: The ultimate guide to achieving goals that truly excite you.

Saunders, E.G. (2016). Stop setting goals you don’t actually care about. Harvard Business Review.



  1. hollybriel

    I am a goal oriented person. Every January I create a chart with my short term (for that respective year) and long term personal and professional goals. I include things that are related to my career, my relationships, and my health. I post these goals on my refrigerator as a daily reminder to hold me accountable.

    In my first year as an administrator I decided to do the same thing. I established 3 goals that I would like to accomplish this year:

    1. Collaborate with the other administrators (be a team player)
    2. Advocate for teachers (effective communication, open door policy, meticulous documentation)
    3. Establish a good rapport with the students (get to know as many students as possible, acknowledge good behavior)


    • TheSchoolHouse302

      Thank you Holly. Each goal is powerful and the details you add after the general goal, such as meticulous documentation, is helpful in guiding your work. Very often our goals need to be broken down into smaller elements so we know, on a practical level, what we want to achieve. Another step, is then breaking the goal down into what we call, DBPs–Daily Best Practices, that make your goals actionable each day. Lastly, I look forward to hearing more about how you and your school will recognize students, which is a positive way to develop a nurturing school climate.

    • Kerri Carr

      I like the three areas for goals that you picked. As a new administrator, those are three big areas that we have our hands in. Working with other administrators is key in forming a cohesive team. In some schools, I feel like the element of advocating for teachers is sometimes lost and this is important in creating a positive school climate. Establishing rapport with the students is critical as well in creating relationships with the students.
      Good luck as you continue into the school year.

    • L'Tanya Cain

      Wow Holly,

      Thank you for sharing great ideas on how to hold yourself accountable for your personal and professional goals. I think the posting on the frig is something I may try and implement for myself as a daily visual.

    • Erik Wilson

      Holly I love how you set three goals and seem to have a plan I place to help you achieve your goals.

    • Miya


      These are great goals. You have covered three great aspects of the school campus. How often do you reflect on these goals to ensure their accomplishments by the end of the year?


  2. Dean Johnson

    I am “one of those” task driven people who are given a task and then I work diligently to accomplish it; I don’t like to have things hanging over my head. When it comes to goal setting, I don’t usually write them down; I try to keep a mental inventory of what I want to accomplish and then work towards the end goal that I have in mind. I am usually fairly successful at accomplishing most of my goals but could definitely use some new strategies to assist in accomplishing all of my goals. I like the idea of making a list and posting it where I can constantly be reminded of my goals.

    As a new administrator I have been fortunate to have been promoted from within my school. My 11 years here have allowed me to know the staff, the daily procedures, and has made my transition from a classroom teacher to an administrator easier. If I had to list 3 goals that I would want to accomplish in my tenure as an administrator I would like to:
    1. Develop a solid working relationship with my administrative colleagues.
    2. Work to breakdown the traditional “Administrator/Teacher” barriers that always seem to exist.
    3. Be available to the students and teachers in the school. I want to continue to build positive relationships with my former students and teachers and be a presence that is accessible to all.

    • Justin Comegys


      I used to keep a mental inventory of my goals also, but what I found was that I wasting time prioritizing tasks that weren’t aligned with my goals. I decided to start writing them down on sticky notes and keeping them posted on my desk. It was a quick reminder of what I wanted to accomplish. This eventually transitioned into a planner that is a little more detailed, but the stickynotes worked great and it was hard to miss them.

      I really like the goals you have listed. I hope you’re finding success as we move into October.

    • Shani Benson

      I really like goal number two. We are all working for the good of students and I often feel like there is this us vs. them mentality. I work hard to build trust and seek to have an open door where teachers trust that I am working in their best interest daily.

      • Tracy Calhoun (@TCalhoun115)

        I also see the importance of goal #2. As a new administrator to my building I took the summer as an opportunity to invite all staff members to schedule a time to chat with me before the beginning of the school year. They had the opportunity to tell me about their family, themselves as teachers, areas that are strengths and areas that they would like continued growth. As administrators we are currently holding reflection meetings for each staff member in our building. This is a way for us to touch base regarding what they are most proud of during these first 8 weeks of school, how we can support them, etc. #relationshipsareimportant

    • Gary Zoll

      I love the goals, I am just wondering how you are going to measure them. As a new principal in a new building this year, I am working hard to try and do the same things by spending a minimum of 50% of my time in classrooms working with teachers this year. I think that is an easy way of breaking down the barriers that exist and show both students and teachers that I am here for them.

    • Gregg Johnson

      Dean, I am also a new administrator and have been promoted within my school. I have been in this building for 11 years now. I am working on your 2nd goal this year as well. Trying to make sure I that I am open to hearing their concerns and when possible trying to get them to be a part of the solution to the problem or concern. So far it has gone over well.

    • Cristina Kalesse

      You and I are in similar position. I have also been promoting within my building and after 11 years working with the staff, I feel like I know them very well. You second goal is one that I have been concerned with but also wish to have happen as well. More cooperation and communication is a good thing.

  3. Justin Comegys

    I appreciate the simplicity of your goal setting/achieving strategy. What really resonated with me was the idea of writing the goals down. Not only does writing your goals down make them visible, but also helps you become more reflective. For me, the reflection process allows me to refocus my daily activities and align my decisions with my goals. To assist in this process, I began using a Full Focus Planner towards the end of the summer, which has allowed me to maintain my focus and continuously reflect on what I need to do to achieve my goals. This system helps me be more specific and ensures that I prioritize my goals.

    I also think there is something to be said for sharing your goals with someone you trust. It’s a lot easier to blow off the gym if you are the only one you’re letting down. Friends, family members, and co-workers are all great resources that can provide the encouragement and accountability you need to be successful.

    • Ashley Holmes

      Justin, I agree about writing the goals down! If we don’t write them down, 47 other things will take their place. I have found that I not only have to write them down but I need to schedule them into my calendar. Only when I carve out a space for these things do they actually happen.

      • Kathi

        Ashley, I also feel as though I need to schedule them into my calendar. I often write them down each week and then find time in my calendar to implement them. I find I am efficient even when I need to bump it if an emergency comes up! I just edit to the next day!

    • TheSchoolHouse302

      Justin, next session you should share the power of the Full Focus Planner and how it has served you well. Also, if you can find the “right” people to share your goals with, they can also help you “see” your growth along the way. When we choose a goal like losing weight, the scale serves as evidence of our progress, but growth goals, such as being a better listener is often difficult to quantify. However, among the right people they can provide you the necessary evidence to help you know if you are making progress.

    • Ayanna Johnson

      I love that you share your goals with someone you trust. My husband is my accountability partner. We create personal and family goals each year and post them in our house. We review to make sure that they are ever present in our minds. We even made a vision board this year and it is hanging in my dressing room. I’d like more infor on the Full Focus Planner.

  4. Jenna Argo

    3 Thoughts on Goal Setting:
    1. I love the thought concerning how many of us actually “actuate” our goals. Simply stating a goal is very much like a New Year’s Resolution. Without a tangible reminder of what we can accomplish, it is just merely an “idea.” I like the idea of writing our goal on post-its to visually conceptualize our endpoint.
    2. I think reflecting on our goals a few months after we set them is critical. Very much how we progress monitor students, we need to reflect on our progress toward our goal. I have staff write themselves a letter at the beginning of the year prior to students returning outlining their hopes and goals for themselves that year. I then return the letters to them at the mid-point of the year so that they can get a sense of the excitement they had at the start and to reset that enthusiasm to finish out the remainder of the year.
    3. Finding time really is a true indicator of how we prioritize our goals. If I’m really not dedicated to allotting time toward a specific goal, that indicates that I am not committed or have too many other “balls in the air” and rather than create a sense of failure, I can jot down that goal and re-visit it at a more appropriate time.

  5. Ashley Holmes

    I find the diagram very eye opening. When I think about my life, work tends to take up 5 of the 6 points and everything else gets scrunched into the one space that is left. When thinking about which three to begin with, it is refreshing to think about giving myself the time and space to focus on friendships, spirituality, and wellness. In turn, when we do these things, we are better collaborators and have longer stamina for the work at hand. I look forward to trying this out for the next two months and recognizing that each block is just as important as the next and they are all important for balance.

    • Christy Kerr


      I must say that I completely agree with you. The visual reminder that all things need to be in balance was an eye- opener for me. It is so easy to fall into the trap of creating goals that occupy too much of our lives causing other areas to suffer. As a first year principal, striking this balance has proven to be challenging- thank goodness I have a patient family. :)

  6. Kerri Carr

    Goal setting has always been top on my priority list. I will often make goals for myself and break them into smaller manageable chunks. This helps me see the big picture, but not stress on how to get there. I find that sometimes my smaller goals have to be changed because I was not able to meet that part on time or was unable to meet that part of the goal, so I have to think of a new plan for that small part. But that doesn’t derail me from the larger goal, just a bump in the road!

  7. Shani Benson

    When thinking about goal setting, I do feel it is so important to put it in writing. I have accomplished most things I have written down or signed up for. However, I find that little goals, like getting a certain number of walk throughs done each day or prepping my food, always find a way to get forgotten. I am easily distracted when the goal is something small. I have tried organizers and calendars, but none of those tools have held me to my small goals. I like the idea of simple sticky notes. Placed in the right location, I will see them daily and remind myself of the small things I need to do to reach my overall goals for myself and my school.

    • TheSchoolHouse302

      Shani, thank you for your honesty. One thing you may want to consider and be sensitive to is identifying those “small things” that you should build into your daily routine and determining if you work with someone that can hold you accountable. A secretary is powerful in this regard since they can help keep you on track and remind of you of tasks that need to be done.

  8. Gary Zoll

    This year, I have tried something a little different, and so far it is a mixed bag of results. On my calendar, I set aside time each Friday to look back at my previous week, and look forward at my next week to see if I am using my time wisely, but also to put specific things into my calendar to try and make sure that I am working towards my goals. I try to fill up any free time with walkthroughs or coaching time, and put a specific grade level and subject into the fields so I know exactly where I am going.

    • Vincent DeLillio

      Gary, Thank you for sharing this proactive reflective strategy. The idea of setting time aside to review the previous week and plan for the week ahead is a great idea. As a new administrator I’m finding a meeting with a staff member or an outside stakeholder that occurred early in the week can seem as if it happened weeks ago. Setting time aside to reflect on the previous week is a great way to revisit meeting notes to make sure the objectives have been met or scheduled to be addressed for the upcoming week.

    • Tracy Calhoun (@TCalhoun115)

      Thank you for sharing Gary. I am also reflecting on my calendar each week to see where I spent the majority of my time (discipline, walkthroughs, PLCs, etc.) and is it linked to our school and administrator goals. As I preparing for my walkthroughs for the week it is helpful that we (Principal and AP) have mapped out our walkthroughs for the year. Each week we take on different grade levels (1,3,5 or 2,4,Related Arts) and this helps us organize our schedule to ensure that we see as many teachers as possible. We also have ourselves scheduled into a lunch duty each day which enables us to free up teachers for PLCs and build relationships with our students in each grade level outside of their classroom!

  9. Sue Jackson

    I found your article to be very timely with beginning of the school year goal setting. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. ~ Francis Bacon… this hit home. So often we aspire to reach our goals but lose ourselves within accountability. We set a goal, and work hard, but writing our goals down is definitely that piece that might be missing for many that can help get from goal setter to goal getter (definitely going to use that line). I also think simplicity is key- making your goals meaningful and impactful by picking where you can make the most change/get the most benefit and not trying to do too much too fast.

  10. 685classblog

    I definitely agree with Technical Tip: Quit Something. If you truly want to change or make a difference you have to make a change. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. We as educators would like to see change occur so student achievement may improve, but many times we keep attempting the same process over and over, but just calling the process something new. We also jump on whatever is new coming down the freeway of education. We never give the new process the time needed to see if the change is beneficial. In education it’s give the process 2 – 3 years, and then throw up your hands and state well that process is not working. At this point educators now want to attempt something new regardless if it is a good process for your school or your students. When I started working towards my masters I had to quit something to achieve this goal, and it was watching 3 – 4 football games on the weekend. I only concentrated on my home team, and with that 3 hour block I would turn the volume down, and complete my school work in that 3 hour window. We always have to give up something for a greater achievement in life.

  11. Stephen Lovellette

    Being specific… Ultimately, I am seeing the metaphor of organizational leadership here. Where do we want to go? What can we do to reach our goal more effectively? What is counterproductive? Once implemented, how can we ensure fidelity?

    Finding time… Consequently, I am a true believer that if “it” is important then you will make “it” a priority. I know those that say, “I don’t have time to make it to the gym.”– My response is get up earlier. “I don’t have time to get into the classroom.”– My response is plan to; block off the time and make it clear you cannot be bothered during this time. My life revolves around my calendar; when I wake at 4am, I check my calendar, then I check my emails.. Before I go to bed at 10pm, I check my email, then I check my calendar. These daily checks are not solely meant to view “what’s next”, but also to reflect back. What kind of conversations did I have that I will continue today/tomorrow? Who do I think requires more of my attention today because of how they presented in the meeting yesterday?

    Writing it down… Let’s face it.. Most of us are control freaks.. I’m good with that. With being a control freak– the art of organization from our perspective only levels the playing field more in our favor, so we can pivot easier when Murphy’s Law comes into effect. God knows, I’m not implying an epitaph should be written; but you should always have some sort of “vision board” created.. and it should be paved with your daily notes.

    • Rhiannon O'Neal

      I agree- I think it is much easier to accomplish the goal when it is specific. It becomes more attainable and not so overwhelming.

      • L'Tanya Cain

        Agree Rhiannon, I make my goals specific to my task and I create a checklist with deadline dates to ensure they get done.

    • Gary Zoll

      Interesting you talk about your calendar. I make sure to look at my calendar every Friday afternoon and fill in walkthroughs and observations in any empty time on my calendar. That way I know where my priority is.

  12. Travis Bower

    Every great leader has goals, both professional and personal. Having the resources and pathway to them is a great way to create the vision for them. As you discussed, what is important is finding the time to work on them. As principals, our jobs are never a traditional schedule and, as Sue commented, we get caught up in accountability. I know I struggle personally with finding the time for the personal goals, and though I have them clearly laid out, there’s never enough time in the day.

    When making goals for my staff and school, I am explicitly clear with them and the process we’ll take to accomplish them, which sets the plan and tone for the tasks at hand. For myself, I tend to not write them down as much, but rather have a different kind of “tangible reminder” as Jenna said. It keeps me accountable, but also give me a reminder as to what I’m trying to accomplish.

    The piece about Benjamin Franklin is a good reminder to me as well, as we often want immediate results in our life. As leaders, it’s important to know that sometimes achieving goals is not a sprint, but a journey. I’ve seen several great administrators who had a clear goal for their school that took many years to accomplish. As long as we’re working towards achieving them, we’re headed in the right direction, which is the most important part.

  13. Rhiannon O'Neal

    I write down 3 daily goals every morning-1 health, 1 work, 1 personal. At the end of the day I see what I can cross off. If I can’t cross it off, it goes onto the next day. If there is a goal that keeps being written down, then I try to make it a smaller goal that i something that I can accomplish. I started this about a year ago, and found it has helped me in a lot of areas of my life.

    • Marisa Hockman

      I LOVE this idea, Rhiannon! I think it is a great way to hold yourself accountable and can work either professionally or personally.

    • Amber Augustus

      I like how your goals involve 3 different areas as it makes the need for balance actionable. It is easy to claim we strive for balance but then establish our daily focus and goals in only one area.

    • Susan Reitz

      I really like the idea of writing down your goals. I keep two personal goals on my mirror in my bathroom. I use an erasable pen to track my accomplishments. This way I see it everyday in the morning. Sometimes, if I am not constantly tracking or reflecting on my goal, I loose track of what I am working for.

    • Adam Domski

      Rhiannon – I love this idea! I think this is a great connection with the Blockchain of Life. Often, I focus my goals into only one or a few areas, but do not think about the entire focus of my life. If I stay focused on specific areas long enough, other aspects of my life suffer. And, I feel it emotionally. Thanks for the tip

  14. Marisa Hockman

    I think that the idea of being specific is HUGELY important when setting goals. I often find goal statements (including Mission and Vision statements) to be vague and undefinable. Specificity allows us to take a lofty goal (one that may seem hard to accomplish) and break it down into concrete steps that we can take in order to make forward progress. For me, specificity is one area that I’d like to work on when creating goals, both professionally and personally.

  15. M. Boutte

    As I reflect on the article, I think about how I spend a lot of time in my professional life writing short and long term specific goals.I feel a heightened sense of accomplishment on the job. However, the goals I set personally aren’t specific or written. I find it interesting that my personal goals require a lot more energy, and I don’t have the same sense of accomplishment I feel professionally. I wonder how productive I could become if I transform the way I set goals in my personal life?

    • shealyn wiley

      I am in total agreement. I don’t do a good job writing or tracking personal goals, but professionally I am religious about it. I think I am going to begin to write down goals on post-it notes and put them around my house to remind me what I am working towards personally. I think that another part of my problem is even when I am at home I am still thinking about work. So I think once I learn how to get more of a work-life balance, I will be able to do better with focusing on my personal goals

    • Adam Domski

      I printed out the Blockchain of Life and posted in my office to serve as a reminder that balance between these areas of life is important. Oftentimes I find myself focusing too much on some areas of this model, while ignoring others. Upon reflection sometimes I feel like I’m “dropping the ball” in one of these other areas. So, when reading about and seeing how the aspects of the Blockchain are interconnected, I understand that balance within each area of life is imperative.

      I also like the idea of quitting something in order to free up more time towards one’s goals. As part of my daily practice I plan on asking myself, “Does this move me closer towards my goal(s)?” If not, stopping and doing something else that propels me forward.

      Another takeaway from this is writing goals down and posting them in areas I frequent most often. I feel like this practice will keep me more focused on my goals. But, I also know that I need to keep these goals updated because if something is posted in a place long enough, I tend to start ignoring it. I write down my daily goals and find a lot of satisfaction in crossing them off when I achieve them.

  16. Gregg Johnson

    I have noticed having my goals written in different areas that I cross most days have been helpful keeping me on track. I have a set on my wall in my office at school and at home. Another place that I keep my goals posted is my night stand. In addition to keeping my goals on my night stand I have a pen and paper there as well. There are times when I am thinking before going to bed when I have ideas that would help me reach or maintain the growth towards my goal. That is something I started this school year. It seems to be helpful.

  17. Cristina Kalesse

    This model is intriguing, however I have always found that if there is something I really want in my professional career, I do what I need to get it done. I have sometimes thought that if I gave up on something, it was because I lost interest or maybe that wasn’t the right thing for me at that time.
    The model presented here organizes the process of achieving goals in a way that I think is helpful. So maybe a few of those things I have given up on (like knitting my niece’s baby blanket) will happen if I follow the three steps. (Please notice I wrote it down so that is my first step to getting it done.) Additionally, I appreciate that there is consideration for multiple parts of our lives and how they are all interconnected to the goals that we set.
    Because it is my first year as an administrator I know that I will be overwhelmed and have much more on my plate then I did as a teacher. Therefore I have one goal for this year: Get my DPAS II evaluations done in a timely manner and find ways to help them grow professionally. This will require some research and thoughtfulness when writing and conducting the evaluations. I know that is just one thing and there will be so much more that I can do in the year, but, for me, this is a good starting point.

  18. Erik Wilson

    I found the article interesting. I also have discovered that work/life balance is more important now then ever. I have found that sharing my goals with my support network makes me accountable and helps to keep me focused

  19. Tracy Calhoun (@TCalhoun115)

    As new assistant principals I think the most difficult task we encounter is balancing time. Each day we are learning more about our positions and the varied tasks needed to truly serve as an effective instructional leader in our building. Some of these include managing safety, testing, behavior/discipline, transportation, etc. How do we balance all of this important work? The answer is through goal setting. What goals do we have in these areas? How are we going to get there? FIND TIME: As we are new to these positions, we need to look at how we are spending our time and identify if we are spending time on our most important work. Each day brings its own needs and challenges, so we need to be reflective and flexible in order to make time for other important work throughout the week. BE SPECIFIC: What is the important work? We need to identify the critical tasks we need and want to accomplish to promote and support our school programs. WRITE IT: Not only should we write down our tasks and goals, we should save them. This serves as a reminder of the critical work we have completed and can help us to further reflect on the ways we are utilizing our time during the day.

  20. Emily

    I find that as a new administrator the two highlights that stick out to me are finding time and write it down. I have always been a list person, and keep a running to do list in addition to a calendar in a few modalities- on my outlook calendar I set reminders for myself to complete and then I use an agenda with checklists every day. This has been particularly helpful with making the time to attend weekly team meetings and completing walk throughs. If I have already built that time into my day then it feels more accomplished.

    One of the other tips I have used is the post it app on my desk top. I put reminders that might otherwise get lost on my daily agenda such as ideas for Professional Development, long term ideas for the school etc.

    In addition, setting goals goes hand in hand with this. To go back to the walk through example, I set a goal to complete a set number of walk throughs, put the time on my schedule and check off as I complete through the week.

  21. Michael Paoli

    Like many others, I feel that writing down your goals is an extremely
    important part of achieving your goals. I believe that it is equally as important to share your goals with someone that can serve as a mentor to you. With the every changing craziness of our lives, it is very easy to get off course and miss out on the daily focus that it takes to achieve your goals. Having a mentor or someone you can share your goals with, helps keep you on track to success. A mentor can provide the extra push that you may need on a daily bases. Weather it is a professional goal or a fitness goal, a mentor can provide the extra encouragement that we may need. In addition, a mentor will hold us accountable. You may be more inclined to get a daily workout in if you know your mentor is counting on you. Without any sort of consequence, it is way too easy to call it quits.

  22. Ayanna Johnson

    I set goals every year – I call it “My Vision” for the year. The areas that I set goals for are: Spiritual, Intellectual/Career, Social/Emotional/Physical, kFamily, and Financial. Since I am a list person, I add specifics under each category and check it off once it is completed. For instance, under family, I have attend Family Reunions check off because I attended this year. My husband and I set our own personal goals and then we share with each other. Then we add our family goals. It has been a great process for us and has allowed us to accomplish many things over the years. I also journal as a reflection.

  23. shealyn wiley

    I really enjoyed reading this article. Personally I find myself often setting goals that I do not achieve for various reasons. Professionally, I work very hard to set daily and weekly goals all centered around making sure students are getting the services they need. I also set weekly goals of meeting twice a week with my staff to ensure I am supporting them so in turn they can support children. I wish I was more disciplined so that I could reap the benefits of setting goals in my personal life as well. I think that perhaps if I start writing the goals and posting them around my home that I will be more successful in achieving more in my personal life. The model makes a lot of sense.

  24. Shawndell Solomon

    So I’m that person that purchases a gym membership and then never goes, but can’t seem to bring myself to cancel the membership because I think that I will go eventually. Talk about not having clear goals; but this does not apply in all aspects of my life. I tend to departmentalize my life and have very clear, detailed goals for one area and very general goals for another. Guess which ones I achieve? I have very clear goals for my professional life but when it comes to my personal life it’s not as clear and definitely not written. This article has really forced to me think about what I really want to achieve personally and why I want to achieve them. I just need to carve out the time to really sit and get these goals written down. Part of me knows that once I write them then that’s like truly committing to having to do them. This brings some anxiety for me but I just have to get over it.

  25. Miya

    With my current condition, I have to make daily goals. These goals allow me to feel complete for the day. They are personal and jon-related.

    1. Read my daily word and meditate on how I can apply it to my life.

    2. Read my daily calendar to mentally prepare for the day’s activities.

    3. Greet everyone with a smile no matter what!

    4. Before bed, recap my day to determine what happened and whether or not I could have handled situations differently.

  26. Corey Dietrich

    A challenge we face as new administrators lies in finding the balance between moving your school forward without seeming to make too many changes. Often, a strong teacher-leader base in a building can be the perfect bridge between these two. This support system can allow new admin to keep the school moving toward established goals, but perhaps offering a new perspective or slight realignment. Of course, step 2 regarding “making time” is always a challenge in public education. Time seems to be a very valuable commodity.

    • Sean Todd

      I agree! Time is a valuable commodity. I have learned to prioritize as well as schedule and plan. My days never follow the plan, but I may be able to order my days by priorities. Things that must be done and thise that can wait!

  27. Sean Todd

    I have my goals in each of the cube areas in the model shown. One overarching goal professionally is to lead by example. Delegation feedback, correction, redirection, etc. are recieved better ( In my opinion) when we lead by example in all aspects of daily leadership. Students, teachers, staff, parents, and the community are always watching what we do, how we do, what we say and how we say it! The core Leadership is influence.

  28. Jen

    Throughout my life I have set goals.I can remember before high school setting goals and writing them down and doing the same before college. Each year I would create goals for the school year. I would say I am very goal oriented. As a result, I have obtained most of my goals because I wrote them down and I told people who would assist me in reaching those goals. One part I noticed was giving myself a timeline which to most would seem like a good thing; but to me it was added stress. For example, a huge goal of mine since I was young was to receive my doctorate degree. As a kid I didn’t put a timeline on it but as an adult I did. This timeline added stress; it also made me feel that I was unsuccessful. Two years after I said I would achieve it according to my timeline, I have finally started my degree!

    • Amy Tocyloski

      Congratulations on starting your degree! I find that when I enter a new chapter in my life (a new job, a new position, a move) I tend to focus on too many long term goals. As I start this new chapter, I am trying to narrow my focus onto more specific and measurable short term goals. Historically, my blockchain has resembled more of a flattened, lopsided box. I hope to embrace the idea of alternating my focus over several months. Giving myself “permission” to find balance is definitely a new approach.

  29. Kevin Thomas

    1. I will find equal time for family, work and hobbies. I plan to learn a foreign language (Spanish)

    2. I would like to be a better listener. Give my full attention to the speaker and not let my mind wonder. Let the speaker finish before I start talking.

    3. Learn to accept things I cannot change. Accept people for who they are and things for what they are. Work to change things in my life that I have the ability to change. Know the difference.

    • Allison Gerni

      I need to be a better listener as well. I think it is very important to give full attention to the speaker, which is difficult in a work environment. I do try to position myself away from my computer to make sure I am focused.

  30. Deangello T Eley

    Becoming a new administrator has challenged me to be more specific and intentional with my goals. I find that my daily duties are becoming more manageable if I’m specific and write them down. I’ve learned to put the ‘big rocks’ in first and fill the sand around my ‘big rocks’. My big rocks are the ‘must-dos’ and the sand are things that are important but not as important as my ‘big rocks’. As far as goals for my new administrative role, I’m in the process of working with my department to identify areas that need development. I have a few ideas and I’m in the process of educating myself and attending professional development to achieve this new goal.

  31. Kathi

    Thank you for the visuals! The line in the article about having a huge gap between goal setting and goal getting hit me! I do sit every Sunday evening and set goals. I just never go back and reflect on if the weekly goals were met or not! I just bump them forward, and If I get to it – or not, depends on the week. I will now add the reflection piece to my Sunday evenings. I also really thought about having harmony with in each system to feel inspired and motivated. Looking forward to going slow in order to make smart goals and time for reflection.

    • Jen

      I too make my goals over the weekend but yet I always push them to the next week! I really need to do more reflecting as to why my goals were not met that week!

  32. Anthony Pullella

    I agree that having a balance between family work and personal life is critical to a long term and successful career.

  33. Pauline Hurst

    I loved the “write it” portion of the article. I have always written my goals down for my broad future as well as my daily self-expectations. I find that taking time to reflect daily on my accomplishments allows for a clearer prioritization of the coming day. Some days, it seems that the list is too long; however, I have found a balance with creating priorities and understanding what can move forward. As leaders, we need to be futuristic in thinking ahead to meet district and school obligations/needs.
    I carry the following ideals with me daily:

    1. Support teachers and remember what it was like to be on the island we call a classroom. This is great for morale.
    2. Support the development of the “whole child”. As educators at all levels, we help create individuals who are educated academically and socially for citizenship and overall success.
    3. I am in the processing of learning the culture of a new school district. I have found collaboration at all levels to assist in my development of our district policies, procedures and expectations culturally. Corey, I loved your teacher leader comment.

    Perhaps the most challenging aspect of my administrative position is finding a life balance with time. I want to ensure that I take care of my health, which includes exercise and healthy eating, my family, a balance of quality time, and also my spirituality. I have learned to change-up my days.

    Reflection is also an important aspect of growth. I have a long commute, but the positive side of this commute is it allows me time to reflect on my day to ascertain my goals and how I might have handled things more effectively.

  34. cariteach

    The difficulty I have had with setting and attaining goals has been finding the balance across the six elements. I tend to go full force into one or two of the elements, particularly when starting a new endeavor, which leaves the other elements neglected and therefore my life out of balance. I do think setting up a more structured system for accomplishing my goals by using more specific, smaller actions towards the goals in a few element areas at a time as well as requiring myself to reflect on my progress could help me find better balance and more success with my goals.

    • Kelyn Marmolejo

      I also find myself focusing on two or three of the six elements and end up neglecting others. Finding the balance is a challenge, but also critical in achieving success. I think the key is, like the post stated, being specific and breaking our larger goals into smaller action steps so we don’t end up feeling overwhelmed and giving up completely.

  35. Kelyn Marmolejo

    Great read. I need to be better about writing my goals down and also tracking my time spent on activities throughout the day to see where I can make adjustments. I know it will be a reality check for when I’m saying “there’s no time in the day…” I am sure that if I journal, track and reflect on my goals, I will see that there is room to improve and what areas I can improve upon to become a better leader, co worker, friend, mother and wife.

    These three strategies are simple and easy to manage. I look forward to posting my sticky notes all over the place to hold myself accountable!

    • Brandy Cooper

      I find that tracking time is not something that I currently do well, which causes me to not have time to accomplish other tasks. The part of the post about cutting out tasks in order to make time for those more important to us really resonated with me. I think tracking time plays into this, as well. This is a goal of mine moving forward in order to fit some different priorities in my life that have taken a back seat.

  36. Allison Gerni

    I enjoyed reading this article about goal setting. I have never reflected on the fact that goals are interconnected as a system. We need to look at our goals as part of who we are and who we want to be. I also think that writing down goals are extremely important because we often times forget our goals. I think that is imperative for remember what we made our priority and look at it daily.

    Additionally, I think that sometimes we don’t want to quit something to make time for other priorities in our life. We need to structure our days so that things that matter the most to us don’t disappear. I have realized this with running. I love running and working out, but it is difficult for me to find time after working all day. I then gave up sleeping in an extra hour and getting up in the morning to run. It has improved my mood immensely.

    • Chrissy Bevenour

      Giving something up or quitting something is definitely a challenge because I think sometimes in our minds, everything we do is important and is a priority and to quit doing something doesn’t make sense. I, like you, have sacrificed an extra hour of sleep to be able to work out because it is difficult finding time. I think giving up an hour of sleep is better than giving up an hour in the evening with spending time with my daughter. I think that is when prioritizing becomes a huge component in our goals.

  37. Brandy Cooper

    I enjoyed this reading about goal setting. I have always been a task-oriented person, so I find that making lists is the best way for me to accomplish necessary tasks. However, it wasn’t until I was in the middle of my last degree program that I realized the power of writing down my goals. I was struggling with time management, so I began creating outlines of when I needed to accomplish specific assignments or chunks of a larger task. I found that once I had written down my “calendar” of goals, I made meeting those goals a priority; time management became less of a problem for me when I was clearly planning ahead.
    As a new administrator, I have found that my school’s admin team already has this practice in place. Spending time in classrooms, or currently in virtual classrooms, is a priority. We have a calendar of who will complete walkthroughs for each week, and there is a large dry erase board outside of our offices where we mark down completed walkthroughs. Having this written helps me stay on track; it’s not just “one more thing” that I need to remember to get to each week!

  38. Chrissy Bevenour

    This article was intriguing to me because I set personal and professional goals but I approach them differently. I’ll be honest, it isn’t too often that I write out my personal goal(s), actually I may have wrote my goals down once or twice only because it was a beginning of the year meeting that we had to do it. I don’t know if when I wrote them down, I felt obligated to or just didn’t care because I didn’t achieve those goals and I still don’t remember what those goals were. When I have a goal in mind, it becomes a challenge (more mentally) to me to assure I achieve that goal. I develop a plan on how to accomplish it and I think of what could prevent me from achieving that goal and have an alternative course of action as a just in case. I feel that the biggest challenge, for me personally, is finding the time to achieve those goals. As mentioned in the article, you have to give something up to make time. I will say that setting goals in my personal life compared to professional life is completely different. At work, I do write them down and they are very specific. I have a plan prepared and I find the time at work to achieve those goals because if I set goals at work, I feel that they are important enough for the staff and students that it becomes a priority. In my personal and professional goals- I always keep it to a minimal (2-3) then once I achieve those goals, I come up with more. I do have a larger set of goals as well, but I have found for me, setting a couple at a time and achieving them, drives me more to feel the sense of accommplishment.

  39. Amanda Noll

    The Schoolhouse302 Goal Setting model is clear- find time, be specific, and write it down. This model is not just true for one’s professional life, but personal as well. Finding a balance between all, in fact helps make all goals more achievable.

    • Kevin Moreland

      I enjoyed reading your post and agree with you in that goal setting also needs to apply to personal life. I agree with you in saying that when there is balance between work and personal goals, more can be achieved. This is very true because you are able to move away from one goal and work on another while spending time with family or friends. It allows time for someone to shut down one portion of their brain and not worry about it for a little while. Some people find this hard to do because they don’t know how to compartmentalize.

  40. Shelby Gordon

    I agree that setting goals are a crucial step toward effective leadership. Like many, the balance and time commitment is often the most challenging barrier when obtaining goals. I appreciate The Wellness Model for the continuity that it identifies between goal setting and your overall wellness. The model illustrates that every aspect of your life should align with our set goals, with our goals providing a measurable target and focus.

  41. Kevin Moreland

    I am the type of person that sets goal for myself and often writes them down in my calendar. This is a great daily reminder of my goals, however at times it can frustrate me. I become frustrated at longer term goals if I do not see the progress towards that goal. I have found that I need to set smaller, short term goals that will lead to the eventual long term goal in order to keep myself motivated and less frustrated. I have given up on goals when they seemed too unrealistic or too far away from my present state. This may mean that I need to apply more simplistic goals as the article suggested. I may have to revisit these goal that I gave up on and determine whether they continue to align with where I eventually see myself.


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