SMART (and Creative) Goals

I turned in my professional goals for the upcoming academic year today. I’m good at setting goals. Our goals had to be SMART:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Time-sensitive

I love the start of a new school year, where we are always beginning. Like New Year’s resolutions. Usually, my resolutions consist of having nicely manicured nails and working out regularly.

The first year at this new teaching job, I made a ton of goals. And my mentor told me, basically, “Don’t overreach.” Wow! Really?! Okay, but I love the dramatic big goal. I followed her advice and set myself up to read an excellent book about teaching, The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. And I shadowed some brilliant teachers and colleagues. And that was all and it was enough.

This time around my professional goals are again fairly humble.

And in my personal goals, I aim to cultivate creativity. To live contentedly. To squelch the dramatic impulse. To remain calm in the face of adversity.

And to read. Let’s face it, there’s nothing I love more than reading a book in bed, on the couch, or on a picnic blanket. But I don’t do it because there are bills to pay and news to catch up on. Especially in this crazy day and age. I don’t want to miss a news alert or a pithy tweet.

I believe I have this desire to know every little thing because I grew up in a large family and married into a large family. And we were (and are?) always in each other’s business.

But today, I don’t have to know every emotional twist and turn of my siblings, my in-laws, or even, yes, my children.

This brings me to the hardest part of my current empty nest quandry. I flounder and flutter, wondering what are my kids up to. I don’t get to see their ever-changing emotions on a daily basis. And sometimes, I think I’m only hearing from them when things are challenging. Naturally, I worry.

I remind myself to be the captain of my own ship. Cultivate my own creative life. Detach.

So, although my SMART goals for the school year are modest , my life goals include.

1. Stay healthy.
2. Mind my own business.
3. Read a book.
4. Do my best.

And today, in the course of the day, I received a couple of messages from the universe. The first was from the Mass for Saint Francis. “Let me not seek so much to be understood as to understand.”

And then, I noticed this on a colleague’s desk: “Remember when you wanted what you currently have.”  Amen to gratitude.

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