Goals and Dreams – setting them and living them

Happy New Year! Are you ready for what this year is going to hold for you? I know that I am excited about the possibilities that this year can bring, about the things I can see happen, and what it all means for my family. It is time for Goals and Dreams! (Yes, that does make me excited hence the exclamation mark.)

Are you someone who sets resolutions? I have always resolved not to set any. So far that has worked. Most resolutions fail within the first few weeks. Why? A resolution is a good thing. It is a determination to do something. But we can be so very determined and still not fulfill these resolutions. This is why I believe goals are better than resolutions. A goal provides you the steps to achieve the resolution. 

I am a goal-oriented person. Goals help me feel in control of my life and to stay organized. I have learned over the years to set them in many aspects of my life. It took some time to truly work out the best way to make sure they were achieved. I wasn’t taught about SMART goals until after I had finished university, which is surprising because SMART goals were first introduced in the 1980s. It would have saved a lot of stress if I had been 😉

When I am working with students, in particular, the teens, I always teach them about goals. It doesn’t matter for what reason they are coming to work with me (learning difficulties, just needing some coaching) – I will always help them learn how to set goals. Usually, this is because the first thing they say to me is “I want to do better in school.” The moment I ask “How?” I get the deer in the headlights look and then, sometimes, a little moment of panic. Have no fear! This is where SMART Goals are going to help!

What is a SMART Goal?

A SMART Goal is simply a goal that follows the acronym of SMART:

S – specific. An airy-fairy, wishy-washy goal is never going to be achieved. Be specific in what you want to attain. Think about the who, what, where, when, why. 

M – measurable. Can you measure progress? Can you see if you have met the goal?

A – achievable or attainable. Is it actually something you can achieve? Do you need to learn new skills in order to achieve it? Is your goal practical?

R – relevant. What need does your goal meet? Does it relate to you and the task at hand?

T – time-bound or timely. A goal needs a specific deadline to be truly effective. 

smart goal acronym - great for goals and dreams

So, how does this work with students? Let’s look at the main one that they want to achieve

 I want to get better grades.

That’s great. That is really nice. But how? Where do you start? By when? How are you going to do it?

Here it is as a SMART Goal:

By the end of March, I will make a high B average in all subjects by doing all classwork and homework, assignments and studying for tests.

Is this SMART? Yes. It is specific in that it states “a high B average in all subjects” and also states how this can happen. It’s measurable in that you know from your report card whether or not that has happened. It is attainable/achievable if that is the type of student you are. It is relevant in that it is about their life at the present time. School is important. And it is time-bound in that a date has been set – the end of March. 

Note: If I know a student is capable of getting all As then that is what it would be. If they are really only a B student, then we will set that as attainable. I do not believe in pushing students to try and get what they are not capable of. Not every child is a fantastic scholar and not every child is an A student. Don’t get me started on what I think of places offering rewards to children all As on their reports!! What about those students who did better than they expected/hoped for? Don’t they deserve recognition? Now, I am all for recognizing students and their efforts, but by making it all about the top grade then we disempower other students who are trying.

Here is another example:

I will get better at reading…..or, I will read for 25 minutes every night for 1 month to improve my reading times, by reading picture books, novels, magazines, and other printed material. 

Which one is going to be achieved?


Do you have any parenting goals? I have a bunch, some of them are SMART, others I need to make SMART. It can be good for us to have goals as parents. One of mine right now is “I will not lose my temper and shout at the girls in frustration by taking a deep breath when the frustration arises and choosing to speak nicely with kind words, or walking away to have a few minutes by myself and then coming back to talk through the issue.” I have done a fair amount of apologizing in the past few months for losing my temper. I am not my best when I am tired. I am working on that too. Thankfully, in talking through this SMART goal with the girls, they can see I am trying, and they are trying to follow it too. 


Do you have family goals? This is something I have been thinking about lately, especially with the girls getting older. Right now we certainly have some hopes and dreams for the future. I am not sure if we can set some of those dreams as SMART Goals yet, but it would be fun to do so and then see when we can achieve them by.

rv traveling to snow capped mountains
Family goals are fun to set


Are dreams important? I am not talking about the weird machinations our brains go through at night, but the hopes, the desires, the future wishes. I do believe they are important. Without a vision, the people perish. I have friends who make a dream board every year. It is their visual reminder of hopes and goals. I think they are a great idea. I’ve never actually made one, but I do write down my dreams. 

Dreams and goals go hand-in-hand. The goal is just the step by step process of achieving that dream. You can have the dream of going to Disney as a family, and you can set the goal of when, what needs to happen, and how to achieve it and get there.  You can have the dream to travel more as a family and set the goals to do it. 


I think we should all dare to dream. Let our imaginations take flight with our hopes. This is for us parents, as well as our children. They need to be able to dream.  We all do. What do you dream for this year? Or the future? Are you ready and able to make goals to help achieve some of those dreams? Go for it! Let us find something worth pursuing this year. And is it ok if these dreams and goals aren’t met this year? Absolutely. You just have to start somewhere, and if you aren’t aiming for something you will never get anywhere. 

Make those goals SMART. Let resolutions happen because you were determined. 

May 2020 be a fantastic year for you!

(Have you checked out the Teaching Feelings post? This is something that has helped me, especially with not losing my temper with the girls. Even I have to revisit it sometimes.)

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