As a profession we are relentlessly and continually in a state of goal setting.
Our goals are supported by plans that are extended descriptions of how we expect we’ll successfully nail our goals.
Often these plans are meticulously descriptive. This thing will happen first, and then this thing will happen and then this thing will lead into this thing and then, well, sometime in the future we will be finished. But we never seem to quite get to the finished part, and if we do get to the finished part then there is no time to stop and smell the roses. By that time another goal has taken over and another supporting plan will have started its path.
We’re strategic planning; we’re staff meeting planning; we’re classroom planning; we’re weekly planning; we’re planning for the term; we’re budget planning; we’re camp planning; we’re planning someone’s going away party; we’re planning curriculum meetings and parent meetings and meetings that’ll precede other meetings. As I said, it’s just a bit relentless.
It’s the thing that makes us human and that, along with a funny looking thumb, sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom and makes us feel like we’re top, well, ermmm, dog.
We can look into the future and predict that there will be a need or a want and we can set a goal and then manipulate the world around that need or want to make it happen. We are so goal motivated that Biswas-Diener and Dean (2007) once famously said, “Pursuing goals isn’t just second nature, it is vital to our functioning”.
But here’s the thing. In the goal setting research world there is a crucial element that constantly needs to happen for any potential goal to be successfully met.
Along with experiencing positive emotions, using your strengths, attaching meaning and utilising a support network, researchers claim that savouring the journey plays a pivotal role in goal achievement.
But yet when was the last time in our plans did we write anything down about how we might enjoy or celebrate the trip?
As we head into the back end of the term and your mind starts to invariably wander along to the next goal, take a little time to stop and smell the roses. Well done. You did it. You pulled it off.
And now, as you start to organise the next journey, deliberately plan for moments in the trip to savour the moment. Call these mini celebrations if you want to, but don’t just plan for them at significant milestones but also at random points in time when it’ll feel good just to stop and say to the team, man we’re doing well, and yes we’re shit hot!
I’m betting it’ll make a huge difference to what you’re trying to achieve.