*What’s Your Outcome for 2015?? Share it below and maybe you’ll win a free book!*
Some of you might be thinking…oh no, not another post about new year’s resolutions. If that’s you, then breathe easy because this isn’t about resolutions most of us won’t keep. Voicing a resolution really means very little if it doesn’t have a specific plan behind it. Kind of like IFSP outcomes – if we write them using really general language then they are harder to achieve. Think of the outcome 60% of kids in EI could have: Caleb will use words to communicate his wants and needs. It’s not very meaningful without more information that is specific to Caleb and his family. Without the individualized details in our own resolutions, we won’t know how to reach them or how to measure progress and we’re must less likely to be successful. Instead of thinking generally – like “I will exercise more” or “I will spend more time with my family” (sound familiar?) – let’s think specifically, pulling from those strategies we use to write good IFSP outcomes.
My Outcome for 2015
I have one big goal for the coming year: I want to graduate! I’m in a doctoral program and have just finished my classes (happy dance!). The coming year brings my comprehensive exams (written and oral) and my dissertation research and writing. If I let myself, it feels a little (okay, alot) overwhelming. In order to reach my outcome, I need to first define it. Here’s goes: I will complete my comps by March and dissertation by October so that I can graduate in December 2015. This includes completing the required paperwork by my deadlines, submitting my comps question, writing my exam paper and presenting it, identifying my dissertation committee, developing my prospectus (plan) for my dissertation, presenting and defending that, conducting my research, writing it up, then presenting and defending that. No big deal, right? Sheesh.
In order to reach my outcome, I’ll need to plan out my year, dedicate time each week to working on my outcome, and commit to myself that I will honor my plan. I need to get organized and do the work. I also need to think about how I will balance achieving this outcome with managing the rest of my life. It sounds like a huge undertaking, but when I break it into smaller steps, it’s much less scary and much more manageable. My plan is to chart it all out by actually making myself a checklist to keep track of my requirements (plus I get the joy of checking things off of the list!). This can be a great strategy for achieving any goal – breaking it down into specific achievable steps.
YOUR Outcomes for 2015
So what do you want to accomplish this year? What are the smaller steps you need to take to get there? Take 5 minutes today and write down an outcome for yourself for the coming year. Don’t just write an empty resolution like “I want to exercise more.” Instead, use the other 4 min and 45 sec to map out steps you need to take in your life to make this change. Write down what you need to do, who can help you, when you’ll do the activity/work, and where you will need to be. Imagine that you are writing an IFSP outcome for yourself.
Remember: how you spend your time this year, from the big picture outcome to the minutes of each day, are all up to you!
Share your outcome in the comments below so that your colleagues can draw inspiration from you! Let’s see if we can get 15 outcomes listed for 2015! I’ll randomly draw a name from the list on February 13th and send the winner a free copy of Family Centered Early Intervention: Supporting Infants and Toddlers in Natural Environments.