We set goals within our own realm of possibility. But is this the best strategy?

"For most of us, the problem isn't that we aim too high and fail. It's just the opposite: we aim too low and succeed." - Sir Ken Robinson

Goal setting is an essential aspect of achieving success, as it enables you to establish a clear direction and purpose for yourself and others around you. 

We tend to set goals for ourselves that we believe are achievable based on our own abilities, resources, and past experiences. We set goals that we think are within our reach, rather than setting goals that are beyond our capabilities. This can be both positive and negative, as it can lead to setting realistic and achievable goals, but it can also limit our potential for growth and success if we don't challenge ourselves to aim higher.

When it goes well:

Setting goals can motivate you to achieve your objectives and enhance your performance. It enables you to prioritise tasks, plan strategies and monitor progress towards achieving your objectives. This approach can lead to improved personal growth, increased morale and motivation, and greater satisfaction in your achievements.

Goal setting can also help you to align your objectives with your personal vision and mission. When you set goals that are in line with your vision and mission, you can create a sense of purpose and direction in your life, which can enhance your overall success.

When it doesn't go so well:

On the other hand, goal setting can (if not done correctly) have negative impacts on you and those around you. If you set unrealistic goals or goals that are not in line with your vision and mission, it can lead to frustration, stress, and burnout. Moreover, if you prioritise achieving your goals over your own needs, it can lead to personal disengagement and low morale, which can ultimately impact your overall success.

What is the best way forward, based on research:

Education research carried out by the EEF suggests that you should set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). When you use the SMART approach, you can set realistic goals that align with your vision and mission and motivate yourself to achieve them.

Moreover, research suggests that you should involve others in goal setting to ensure that goals align with your vision and mission and are relevant to your needs. You should also ensure that you have the necessary resources and support to achieve your goals.

What do I think?

Goal setting is an important aspect of planning whole school improvement and should be practiced by all school leaders as part of this process. 

However, it shouldn't just be you that does it. Set up time with your colleagues to go through the goals for the year together, focusing on SMART goals that align with your vision and mission and you will see a greater success. 

Keep these realistic and achievable, and keep track as you go along and you will succeed. 


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