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Making Goals That Work: Special Education Edition

January 30th, 2007 at 06:33 pm

Ive seen alot of people making goals on here lately. Whether that's weight loss or saving money or cleaning or whatever, alot of goals get made around January.

Some of the goals I've seen arent very specific - they're too vague, or have no deadline.

So, here's "How to Write Goals 101" as written by a Special Education teacher who has to write goals ALL THE TIME for students.

There are a few rules when making goals.

Goals need to be:

1) Time sensitive
2) Achievable
3) Measurable


Goals need to be TIME SENSITIVE. You need a solid deadline to come up against. Without a deadline, it becomes this amorphous "someday" dream. This ISNT a dream, it's a goal, so pick a time limit and stick to it. Anywhere from about 3 months to a year is usually a good limit.

Goals need to be ACHIEVABLE. It has to be realistic, something that can actually be done. If you decide, "Im going to lose 10 pounds in 5 days," that is both unrealistic AND unhealthy. It has to be something that can be done within your time limit. If you CAN'T do it, but you've been working your butt off, then you feel like a failure.

Goals need to be MEASURABLE. I cant tell you how many times Ive seen on an IEP (special ed paperwork for each kid), "So and So will LEARN his multiplication tables." Well, honestly, that doesnt tell me a darn thing. How can I tell he learned it? "alia will save money." I picked a penny up off the floor yesterday and I saved it. Hooray! Give yourself something measurable. If you're losing weight, pick an amount. Saving money, decide how much.


Let's get started with a sample:

First off, pick a topic. My sample goal will be saving money, as that is what I am trying to do. I need to save money for April, when I have to go to Anchorage to wait to have the baby.

Goal 1: Save money for Anchorage

Now, there are some problems with this goal.

Its vague.

There is no time limit stated, and there is no money amount attached to it.

So, we revise.

Goal 1: Save $1000 by April 6, 2007

There. That's much clearer. Now I know exactly how long I have to come up with that exact amount.

Now, we have the big goal. Now we need OBJECTIVES. These are the steps we're going to take to get to that goal. We write out the steps, because otherwise, we have to stop and think before doing anything on our goal. It helps to have it all written out.

Again, they still have to be TIME SENSITIVE, ACHIEVABLE, and MEASURABLE. The only difference is that they are shorter term and they depend on your goal.

So.

Objective 1:
-determine how much is currently in savings


Ok, but again, where's the time limit? April 6 is only about 3 months away, so I better get cracking! Plus, I have more than one savings account.

Let's revise.

Objective 1:
-determine amounts in ING and Wells Fargo savings by January 31, 2007


Clear, and it gives me the exact step I need to do first. And, it's something I can do by tomorrow without having to scramble around frantically looking for paperwork from the bank or anything. You can make your objectives as picky as you like, but at first, I would suggest anywhere from 3 to 5 objectives.

Objective 2:
-determine how much to save per month


Unclear and no time limit. Revise!

Objective 2:
-by Feb 1, determine how much to save between Feb 1 and April 1


I cant be more specific, as Objective 2 builds off of Objective 1. I have to know what is in my savings first before I can determine how much extra to save.

Objective 3:
-deposit money


You already know what Im going to say. REVISE! Time limit! Specificity!

Objective 3:
-deposit set amount of money into ING account on Feb 1, March 1, April 1


It tells me WHEN I am making the deposits, as well as WHERE. It doesnt tell how much I am depositing, as I havent actually done objectives one and two yet!

Congratulations! You've written a goal! One you know you can keep, can identify when you've reached your goal, and how long you have to do it!

The whole thing looks like this:

Goal 1: Save $1000 by April 6, 2007

Objectives:
-determine amounts in ING and Wells Fargo savings by January 31, 2007
-determine how much to save between Feb 1 and April 1 by Feb 1
-deposit set amount of money into ING account on Feb 1, March 1, April 1


Now, the next thing to do is get started. As soon as I get my first objective completed, Im going to update my next two objectives.

Let's say that in my ING savings and my Wells Fargo savings, I have a total of $400. Now, I can revise objective 2 and 3 to be more specific.

I need to put $600 in savings before April 6. I have Feb 1, March 1, and April 1 to do this.

Objective 2:
-save $600 between Feb 1 and April 1


Objective 3 I can then rewrite.

Objective 3:
-deposit $200 into ING account on Feb 1, March 1, and April 1


Simplistic? Yes. And that's how it should be. Goals are what to want to achieve, which means you need to spell it out to yourself exactly what you want to accomplish and, more importantly, HOW you are going to accomplish it.

Hopefully, that helped someone. If you have any questions, or need help making goals or objectives, let me know!

1 Responses to “Making Goals That Work: Special Education Edition”

  1. shiela Says:

    That's how I always write my goals, it keeps me focus and motivated.

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