With a new year comes a chance for a fresh start. It’s a time when many of us make resolutions that embody the goals we want to accomplish this year or the ways we’d like to do better in the new year. For some of us, that may also mean recycling last year’s tossed-aside resolutions in the hope that we’ll have the time, the drive, or some mix of the two, to make them a reality this year.

In FOCUS on College and Career Success, Constance and Steve Staley give us an overview of what it means to FOCUS on goals that will serve you well—both in this new year and for those yet to come.

  • Fit: Think about your values and your personality—is the goal that you’ve set for yourself in line with your character? If the resolution or goal you’ve chose is at odds with your personal values or traits, you may want to rethink it a bit.
  • Ownership: Does the thought of success electrify you? Being passionate about your resolution and owning it is a step on the way to success. Think about the word resolute. Are you unwavering in your commitment?
  • Concreteness: Make your resolution as specific as possible. “I want to finish writing my book” is far less concrete than “I resolve to finish writing my first draft by April 20th by committing to write between seven and 10 p.m. each Monday and Wednesday.
  • Usefulness: What purpose does this goal serve? Think about it in the big picture of the kind of person you want to be. Do you have a career aspiration in mind? Think about whether that fits into the vision of who you want to be down the line.
  • Stretch: Why work toward our resolutions if they aren’t going to help us grow as individuals? Keep in mind that although your goal shouldn’t be outrageous to expect of yourself, it should ask you to reach beyond where you’ve been and challenge yourself. (p. 44)

Keeping this FOCUS as you set your resolutions can help you ensure your success—and hopefully next year you’ll be building upon your goals, rather than revisiting them.

What are your goals for your classroom this year? Have you resolved to try something new to engage your learners? Please share with us in the comments section below.

Reference: Content adapted from Staley, Constance and Staley, Steve. 2012. FOCUS on College and Career Success, 1st Ed. Boston, MA. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.