3 Steps to Meet Your Professional Goals This School Year

Vol. 16 No. 7

PSN eletter vol15 no7 goal

August is rapidly approaching and you know what that means—it’s time to put your school-year planning into high gear.

Starting the school year with a clean slate is an opportunity to set new goals and take on fresh challenges. Whether this is your first year in your position or you’re a seasoned pro with decades of experience, everyone can use these strategies to begin the year on the right foot.

Step #1: Set measurable goals. We often encourage faculty members to help students set goals for the school year, so why wouldn’t we do the same for ourselves? Measurable goals should have four distinct qualities.

  • The goal should be realistic and achievable.
  • There should be a clear path to achieving the goal.
  • The goal should be related to your school’s overall mission.
  • There should be a way to determine if the goal was successfully met.

Some examples of measurable goals could be:

  • I will learn a new technology in the first half of the school year.
  • I will collaborate with three colleagues outside of my department to align our strategies.
  • I will develop a detailed five-year professional growth plan before the end of 2017.
  • I will attend one workshop or conference during the school year and one next summer.

It can be easy to focus on the parts of your job where you excel when it comes to goal-setting. But don’t ignore the tasks you dislike—the most profound professional growth often comes from tackling the uncomfortable. So if you’ve been avoiding reviewing your insurance policies or taking on that huge stack of paperwork, consider setting goals around those to-dos as well.

Step #2: Create an action plan. Now that you’ve set your goal or goals, it’s time to create your action plan. Lay out a step-by-step guide to accomplish each goal, including deadlines for reaching specific milestones.

For instance, if you’ve resolved to learn a new technology, pledge to spend an hour honing your skillset each week. If you’re looking to collaborate with colleagues across departments, set a monthly meeting to discuss open items. Research opportunities for workshops you’d like to attend and submit the necessary paperwork early to ensure you’re approved to go.

Step #3: Assess and refocus. As you reach the deadlines you set for each step, assess your progress. Did you accomplish the milestones as you set out? If not, why? Were they unobtainable? Did other tasks take priority? Should they have?

Be truthful in your assessment, but don’t dwell on the negative. Learn from your progress, adjust your timeline if necessary, and continue to revisit your plan every few months to ensure you meet your goals.

Make this upcoming school year your best yet. Set measurable goals that tie into your school’s mission and create an action plan to achieve them. Assess what’s working and what isn’t, and keep moving forward to help better yourself as a professional and your school as a whole.

Additional ISM resources:
The Source for Business and Operations Vol. 13 No. 8 Reaching Realistic Deadlines
The Source for Private School News Vol. 16 No. 2 New Year, New You
The Source for Private School News Vol. 13 No. 12 Three Research-Based Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

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