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Goal Setting for Professional Advancement

This past year, COVID-19 caused many of us to slow down, with social events postponed, family events canceled, and the closing of many of our favorite stores, restaurants, and places to go. Perhaps you used some of this down-time to reflect on your career and where you hope to take it. Did you find yourself pondering a change within your current position (teaching a different age group) or advancing to the next level (from assistant to lead)? If you have, now is a perfect time to set goals. Use the tips below to achieve your professional goals during 2021.

Write it Down

With any goal, the hardest part is usually getting started. Write down a specific goal and place it in an area where you will see it regularly. You could place it on a mirror, on your computer monitor at your desk, or where you do lesson planning. A consistent reminder of it will help you take guide more actions toward reaching that goal.

Do Your Research

Once you have written down your goal, it is essential to do your research and learn how to achieve it. If your state follows a professional development career ladder, find the level you are currently at and assess what steps you will need to take to advance to the next one. Talk to someone, a supervisor or coworker, to determine what steps and actions they took to reach a higher number and achieve their position or professional goals.

Find an Accountability Partner

According to U.S. News, almost 80% of those who set resolutions have abandoned them by February. Talk to a trusted coworker, supervisor, friend, or partner about your long-term goal that you hope to achieve. Perhaps they, too, have a goal that they are hoping to achieve. Together, you can also serve as accountability partners to help push each other along the path of attaining your goals.

Set Achievable, Short-Term Goals

There are often many steps to completing a goal. Use customizable SMART objectives to define short- term goals that will keep you on the path of achievement. If your goal is to earn your CDA, 120 hours of training will need to be completed. But if you were to create a SMART goal of completing at least 10 hours of training each week, you could complete 120 hours of training within 12 weeks. Write them down and place them near your overall goal. After you achieve each short-term goal, reward yourself! Doing so will help you stay motivated to reach the next short-term goal.

Get Started Soon

Maybe January 1st is not your start date, but perhaps January 1st is the day you start investigating and ordering necessary materials. Use your accountability partner to set a specific date to get started and a specific date by which you wish to achieve your goal. Selecting your start date as soon as possible and locking it in with your accountability partner will take away the “Oh, I’ll just start next week…or the week after”.

Implement these tips and view the COVID-19 pandemic from a new perspective to help kick start changes in your professional advancement this year.