How to Make and Keep your Goals!

All around the blog-o-sphere people are making resolutions. Although some of this can be all so cheesey, I am a sucker for goals because it motivates me.  Anything that motivates me to be the best I can be and use my talents to their fullest makes me a VERY happy art teacher and person. So, in the theme of motivation, I want to tell you how I organize my new year’s goals and help you with some quick tips to work toward those goals as you enter January.

Coming back from a break from school is a perfect excuse for a fresh start, and hopefully you will feel refreshed and ready tackle something out of our comfort zone for the new year of teaching and learning.

Here is how I organize my career goals- My goals for a new year are more broad and over-arching, but yours may be more specific. However you look at it, you can tailor this system to work for you!  They key to my system is to break it down by month. This make goal setting more manageable and FUN!

Step 1: Brainstorm things you want to accomplish, by writing them down, drawing it out, or cutting images out of magazines. I keep a file folder all year long of ideas I want to accomplish someday. It could be as simple as “learn knit” or as complex as “Start my own business.” My goals are usually a mix of both career and personal “Fun” items I want to try.  Last year, one was to have a dinner party. Another one was to graduate with my Masters.

Step 2: Decide in wich order or priority you want to accomplish them. If it’s one big goal, then break that big goal into small steps and put them in order.

Step 3: On a piece of paper or word processing, write out all the months of the year, starting with January.  Start to dump items from your big list under each month. You are breaking up your goals into smaller chunks under the month you will want to accomplish or work toward accomplishing them.

Step 4:  Let this marinate for a few days and keep adding goals to each month as you think of them.  Make sure your goal goes with the seasons and with your busy times. For example, my goal for starting this blog was in June of last year.  I knew I would have extra time in June to devote the time I needed to the blog, thus making it a manageable goal. December really didn’t have many goals, because December is usually a pretty busy month- You get the picture.

Step 5: Print out your list and put it somewhere you will see it often. I put mine right in the front page of a binder I use every day. Make a copy for work and home. Whatever it takes. When a new month starts, look at your goals for that month and as Nike says JUST DO IT. You only have today and a year can go by in an instant.  I like to highlight things when they are DONE. This is very visual to me.

So, what is included on my goal list this year? I won’t share it all and bore you with my desire to organize my pantry cupboard once again, however, for the career goals, I will share a few:

January: Complete 4 graduate class proposals (I am teaching graduate classes now!)

March: Present at the National Art Educators Conference in Seattle

October: Present at the Iowa Art Educators Conference (I am a chair for this conference)

I like to mix my personal and career goals, because you are the same person whether you are at work or at home. (mostly).  If you have a career goal, most likely it will take some of your personal time and vice versa. By merging the two you are working toward a whole person and bettering your entire self  and of course, finding that BALANCE we are always striving to have.

So… What are some of your career goals for this year?  How do you plan to accomplish them?  I hope this helps.

Look for more post coming up soon with organization tips, time-saving tips and all kids of other motivations to jumpstart your new year in the classroom, whatever your goals may be.

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • The best organizational tool I got for the new year was an iPHONE. I can communicate with my husband during my lunch through texting (which is totally new to me) google numbers quick and call right from my phone, pay bills from anywhere etc. I also can take quick pics of the kids work in process and the quality is okay.

    What has helped me get the most done is saying to myself “put one foot in front of the other.” I have almost finished organizing my basement this break by saying this to myself over and over again:) It’s easy to get overwhelmed and this helps me!

  • I have the iPhone, too! Love it! I would like to hear more about how you use it. The possibilities are endless.
    One foot in front of the other!