It's January 1, 2018, and along with others, you have committed to creating a new year’s resolution. Health and fitness, personal relationships, and finances are likely among the three categories of your life where you would like to see improvements in this new year. You buy the gym membership, create a schedule that includes more time with family, and decide to establish an account that directly deposits money from each paycheck to a separate savings or investment account. Everything is in place and in alignment for you to be successful with your intentions for the new year.
Two weeks later and the good intentions established on day one of 2018 have subsided to other life responsibilities. Your workload has increased at your job which prevents you from getting to the gym in the evening. Stressed from work and the extreme winter weather, your spouse wants to just go to bed on Friday evenings instead of staying committed to the weekly date night ritual. Several unexpected expenses have forced you to redirect the automated fund transfer to your 2018 financial goal. I have been there and understand how difficult it is to maintain new year’s resolutions.
For example instead of committing to an exercise regimen that includes 1 hour at the gym 5-6 days every week in 2018, begin with two days of additional physical activity for fifteen minutes and invite a friend.
One of the challenges with creating new year’s resolutions often lies within the formula adopted and the lack of structure to increase the likelihood of success. Frequently, the goals we establish on January 1st are simply too big. While it’s important to think and dream on a large scale, it is also imperative that we are realistic and identify the smaller steps necessary in any worthwhile achievement. For example instead of committing to an exercise regimen that includes 1 hour at the gym 5-6 days every week in 2018, begin with two days of additional physical activity for fifteen minutes and invite a friend. A massive goal broken down into smaller steps and aided with an accountability partner is more likely to be achieved on within the estimated timeframe.
I was disturbed by the intentional failure of students in schools that underserved communities of color.
Before I entered graduate school, I identified one of my educational goals as dismantling the school system. I was disturbed by the intentional failure of students in schools that underserved communities of color. To paraphrase Jeffrey Duncan and Ernest Morrell, too often schools of color are not broken; they are intentionally designed to reproduce social inequalities via state-sponsored practices of unequal resource distribution. With the understanding that many educational institutions of color are designed to fail, I created the lofty goal of restructuring the entire school system.
I entered graduate school nearly eleven years ago and the school system continues to function at its best. My advisor frankly said to me when I told him of my goal, “You’re not going to dismantle the system. Let’s get real!” The statements from my advisor did not intend to discourage me from making an impact in schools; he wanted me to create a realistic path toward measurable services for students from underserved communities.
Obtaining a position as a teacher, completing graduate coursework, finishing a dissertation, and earning a PhD were among the steps to influence educational policy and school culture. Disrupting the entire school system was a bit far off from reality, but there were smaller victories along the path that I could accomplish and lend itself toward my larger objective.
Let’s bring it back to 2018. The goal for this first blog entry of the year is to encourage you to continue creating big goals, while strategically identifying the daily requirements to achieve your ambitions. I want you to successfully make the resolutions declared on January 1 tangible beyond mere words. Begin with small measurable tasks that are observable at the end of each week. As you evaluate your tasks, ask yourself how can I improve?; who am I serving?; and what else needs to change to increase the probability of my success or expand the vision?
If you're in need of an accountability partner who can empower you to meet your goals in 2018, I am available.
Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's convert dreams into reality with one step at a time.