Holidays, Goals, and Instructional Design


How will you use the time you have this month? The winter season is when academic courses end and for some holiday celebrations begin.


I plan to use this downtime from advising and teaching responsibilities to be with my family, work on my crafts, and enjoy time outdoors.


This week I enrolled in two online courses to enhance my skills when classes resume in February of 2021. Through the Coursera platform, I am taking one course on mindfulness practices, and another that explores instructional design.


In addition to a year full of tragedies, 2020 has been a year of tremendous learning.

With LinkedIn Learning, I completed fifty-eight online courses. Twenty-one of these Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) explored instructional design learning theories and technologies. The other thirty-seven courses ranged from social media strategy to self-development topics.


Through my university’s partnership with Coursera, I finished ten MOOCs. I took courses led by university professors on the science of exercise, self-determination theory, and additional topics related to my work in the Education Enhancement Department. Taking almost seventy online courses this year was not part of my 2020 resolutions.


I created goals in January to complete one course per month. Somehow ambition found me, and together we went beyond expectations.


What goals will you make during this holiday season to prepare for the start of a new year?


Over the weekend, I am attending an online retreat to create goals and plan for professional and personal growth in the new year. Although I cannot share specifics in this post, I know that investing in more learning resources and spending time with my family is vital to thriving in the new year.

My passions as a writer, capoeirista, and video editor will also continue in 2021 through disciplined practice, guided instruction, and other support tools. The mission that I have to help boys and men succeed in personal and professional endeavors will guide how my passions serve as empowerment resources.


In March of 2021, I will release my third book, Dear Brother: 82 Powerful Poems to Guide Your Journey to Healthy Black Masculinity. This book includes heartfelt open-letters and beautiful poetry that illustrates my transition from a teenage boy to an adult man. I planned to publish the book in 2020, but life got in the way, and I decided to push the publication date back a few months.


How does creativity show-up in your life?

Creativity takes time. When it comes to anything that requires thinking, such as parenting, partnering, teaching, writing, editing, and exercising, we have to slow down to make the best of our creative energies.


Patience is the crucial component of every day we experience on this planet.


The quiet, simple life in Antigua serves as a reminder to take things slow. Tractors and goat herds in the road force me to drive with caution. Although I've been abroad for four years, I am still working to break some of the life patterns consistent with the culture in the United States.


How did 2020’s social distance practices influence your worldview? Would you call yourself an artist?

You don’t have to identify as a painter, writer, coder, or musician to resonate with the artist label. Surviving life in 2020 is a work of art in itself!


During this holiday break, think about how you can split from conventional ways of living your life. Get outside of the box, square, or triangle where you find comfort and experience more fulfillment.


If 2020 taught us anything, we learned that tomorrow is a gift. From the coronavirus to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, we must remind ourselves of the importance of valuing the small, seemingly insignificant moments.


Pause and appreciate the breath you took to read that last sentence.

Practicing mindfulness is not easy. As I typed a draft of this blog post, my children interrupted me a minimum of TEN times. I wanted to focus on completing this piece in isolation, but the ring of fatherhood persisted in my home writing space. My youngest wanted me to see him skate.


When you plan your 2021 goals, think about how your home environment will impact your productivity. Until the vaccine is made available to the general public and the bravest or most vulnerable members of our population take it without side effects, working while observing social distance protocols is our new norm.


In addition to more adjustments to online work, think about pursuing an independent learning project. Whether we continue in a global pandemic for 2021 or somehow get back to the pre-face mask days, the ability to modify the acquisition of knowledge and skills is an important skill.

Make learning through multiple modalities one of your 2021 resolutions!

In previous posts, I have defined instructional design as the field that helps educators and trainers learn the sciences behind teaching and learning. As you approach the holiday break, think about how instructional design principles can help with goal setting. By this, I mean reverse engineer your professional and personal goals before the new year begins.


Answering these three questions will help you think about the end of 2021 before it starts in two weeks.

  1. Where are you now?

  2. Where do you want to be?

  3. Who are the people and activities that will support your growth in 2021?

Grab an accountability partner to increase your chances of success. A spouse, partner, friend, co-worker, child, or associate can help you with commitment. You need to write down your goals and then establish times to connect with a member of your squad to check in for progress.


Create some rewards and punishments attached to your goals, and you are on your way to moving in the right direction for a more fulfilling 2021.


If you need help, I am here for you. Explore my coaching services at this link. I am offering the first two readers who respond to this post in 24 hours a free thirty-minute goal-setting focused coaching session.


Enjoy the holidays, find time for mindful goal planning during this break, and thank you for reading my 2020 blog posts.


Don't worry! I have one more of these blog entries planned for this year.

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