Thursday, January 2

goal setting: what worked in 2013

I really appreciate the way Lara Casey's goal setting series is encouraging me to reflect and think deeply about where I am right now as I set goals for the new year.  I thought I'd share my ideas about what "worked" for me in 2013, and I hope you'll share yours in the comments!

What worked in 2013:
  • Making my "work friends" part of my social life.  I was kind of hesitant to do this - I think I was worried that if I spent too much time with my co-workers outside of school, we'd get tired of each other.  Mr. Q and I have been spending more time with some of the other teachers in my department and their husbands, and I've started inviting them to more outings with my friends, and it's been awesome.  My friends love my coworkers and vice versa.  When I was student teaching, something that really made an impression on me was how close the third grade team was - they were clearly there for each other no matter what, knew each others' families, and spent time together outside of school.  It helped them function even better as a team, and I think it will do the same for my department.  
  • Giving students a clean slate.  At the end of the 2011-2012 school year, the sixth grade teachers passed a box of party noisemakers to the seventh grade team leaders.  In the 2012-2013 school year, the seventh grade teachers were frustrated, depressed, and worn down.  Veteran teachers were writing referrals, yelling, and developing health issues they'd never had before.  We eighth grade teachers were kind of living in fear over June and July.  In August, we met as a team and decided that the most important thing we could do for our students was to never mention their reputation.  We had a grade-level assembly that I tried to make as much like a summer camp opening assembly as possible - high energy, welcoming, positive.  Yes, this group is kind of needy.  But we have had nowhere near the types of discipline issues these same students' teachers dealt with in previous years.
  • Scheduling exercise.  I signed up for a weekly yoga class this past semester through our local parks and rec department.  I was the youngest person in the class, but I ended up absolutely loving it.  I hadn't done yoga in a class since college, and this class is so great - no pressure, no competition, no intimidation, just a guaranteed hour of time to do something that is good for my body and mind.  I have learned over the past two years of so that forcing myself into exercise I don't enjoy - like going to a gym - is NEVER going to pay off.  Making time for what I do like - yoga, walking, dance, biking on the greenway - is so important.  I was worried that I wouldn't have time for my yoga class, but I've never felt like that hour could have been better spent.  I am definitely signing up again this month!
  • Meal planning.  Using the weekly savings as a guide to look for recipes and plan at least three real meals every week has saved money and time, and I've gotten a lot more confident in my cooking skills.  I also tried brussels sprouts for the first time this year and they are one of my favorite foods now, so there's that.
  • Being available to volunteer opportunities.  Spending a week at the 4-H camp where I used to work as a volunteer this summer was so wonderful.  The first few years in the adult volunteer role were kind of awkward - I felt left out of what my friends who were still on staff were doing, missed teaching a class and leading songs.  Now enough time has passed that the people on staff were campers when I was a staff member and they were great to work with.  I also felt like my knowledge about camp was really valued by our camp directors.  I tried to be really flexible - I offered to bunk with another county's campers because they were short on volunteers, and to help with horsemanship because no one usually wants to, and by offering to do both of those things I was able to forge some great new friendships.  I also agreed to help with state 4-H Congress this summer and got to spend an afternoon with two wonderful friends.
  • Saying "yes" to being weird - sure, I'll dress up in a Goodwill grandma sweater for wacky tacky day at school, go to a cat circus, have colored cornmeal thrown at me.  Why not?
Your Turn!

What worked for YOU in 2013?  What were your greatest successes?  What surprised you?  What are you most proud of?  I'd love to hear it in the comments :)

Linking Up:


  1. I really need to make time for exercise in 2014. I so rarely do it, and know and want to do it more. But I just never make it happen.

    And I recently tried brussel sprouts too, and was surprised by how much I didn't hate them. My mom never liked them, so she never served them to us. But now actually trying them, they're definitely something I'd love to have more often.

    1. Joining a class really helped me make sure that I got at least some exercise into the week. Since I'd already paid for it, I reminded myself that I'd basically be throwing away money if I skipped - it's the same thing that my parents held over my head when I wanted to skip dance class as a child so maybe I have some residual guilt :)

      I think our generations' moms just had no idea how to cook brussels sprouts. The one time I tried them as a kid I think my mom boiled them, cabbage-style, and they were disgusting. I always sautee or roast mine and I love the way they taste.