Blog 17



 Andrea C. Valente, Teaching Commons Tutor

At the very start of a fresh year we face the same old question, ‘What’s your New Year’s Resolution?’ Whether it is a rhetorical question or not, it is here to remind us of old promises we annually make ourselves – exercising more often, eating healthier, quitting bad habits and so on. We also know that these resolutions may soon fade away if they are not well strategized. Setting goals helps us to achieve our New Year’s Resolutions, and the best way to tackle them is through an action plan, or better, a SMART model: a simple five-step approach to help us achieve our personal and professional goals. So, what does SMART mean?

  • SPECIFIC – define your goals with precision by answering WH-Questions (who is involved? What do I want to achieve? Why is this goal important for me? How can I achieve it?). Select goals that are meaningful and relevant for you to make a change.


  • MEASURABLE – keep track of your progress to make sure you can reach your goals. Ask yourself ‘how do I know I’m on the right track?’, and use measurable tools to evaluate your progress.


  • ATTAINABLE – before you hit the bull’s eye, first you have to set the steps, strategize yourself, visualize your goals, and figure out ways to manage and achieve them.


  • REALISTIC – make sure your goals are within your capabilities, as you don’t need to be Hercules to accomplish them. Setting goals that are too low won’t help you either. Your goals should be challenging enough to keep you motivated every day.


  • TIMELY – set a time-frame to keep track of your progress. When visualizing short and long-term results, you keep your goals realistic and attainable.

Now that you are familiar with the SMART model, you can set creative goals to yourself this year.

Why don’t you try a New Year’s Teaching Resolution? Think of your current teaching practice, and identify persistent issues or challenges you face during your lectures, tutorials or lab; you know it’s high time to solve them… So, set SMART goals to help you overcome those issues, and look forward to celebrating your teaching accomplishments in 2016. Happy New Year!

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