January 01, 2019 3 min read

I’m in the car with my wife, Andreana. We’re returning home from a trip to Atlanta, GA for the Peptalk series for teachers. This was the first time we’ve ever sold our products in person - and it was a lot of fun! We plan to attend many more conferences this year.

We’re big fans of broadway music. On the stereo right now: “Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes...”

If you’re not familiar, it’s Seasons of Love from Rent - and that’s the number of minutes in a year.

Today is New Year’s, so, appropriately I have been thinking about resolutions, and how most of us make resolutions to change something every year, and most of us fail. Why?

It seems kind of crazy to me to make a resolution for the whole year. A year from now is so far off that it feels like you have time to make that change later. Didn’t change it today? Oh well, there’s always tomorrow - after all, I have 364 days left...

Well, I have a challenge for you. Don’t make a New Year’s Resolution.

Instead, make a resolution with a closer goal date. Let’s pick February 15th. Far enough way to give you time to actually change something, but close enough to give you a sense of urgency about it.

I know it’s cliche, but goals that are SMART actually get done - or not done, in which case at least you learned something. I’m going to help you with the ART of it:

Specific – you’ll have to do this one
Measurable – you’ll have to do this one too
Assignable – who will do it? You will!
Realistic – keep it focused on your classroom and your students. You’re not trying to change the whole educational system.
Time-related – your goal date is Feb 15th.

To help motivate you to get this done, we are running a contest around this goal. To enter, fill out this form by 1/8/19. If you’re not already on our email list, this will subscribe you.

I’ll state my goal here publicly.

I’m a private piano teacher, and for many years I’ve had several false starts of creating online piano courses, because there are already so many out there, many available for free. Well, I want to push past that now. Here’s my SMART goal:

I will devote one hour a day to writing blog posts, recording audio for podcasts, or creating video for courses. (My ego is already throwing up road blocks. “But you’re going out of town.” Well, I have a laptop and an iPad. I’m literally writing this while on a road trip. Funny how we talk ourselves out of things, isn’t it?)

By February 15th, I will have written and published 46 blog articles (not at theteachertrove.com but on my musician site andygrall.com).
By February 15th, I will have recorded four podcast episodes and have them stored and ready for publishing.
Specific - yes.
Measurable - yes. 46 blog posts (1 a day) / 4 podcast episodes.
Assignable - me.
Realistic - yes.
Time-specific - February 15th.

Now, I really need to look at the date and think backwards. How will I achieve each step of the process? Writing the blogs is somewhat straightforward.
1. Make time every week to plan that week’s blog posts
2. Make time every day to write the blog posts / edit / publish
3. Make time every week to record a podcast. (I’ve just had a brainstorm that it should be at the end of the week, after I’ve written that week’s blog posts. Perhaps each week is a series of blogs dedicated to one topic.)

Now I’m opening my calendar and literally scheduling the time for myself. Every day Monday through Saturday at 10am, and Fridays from 11:15-12:15 for recording the podcast, 12:30-1:00 for editing.

If you want to achieve your goal, you will schedule it on the calendar. Otherwise it’s not real, it’s vaguely in the future - and before you know it, it’ll be New Year’s Eve 2019 and you’ll have failed again.

So, go forth! Do things. Sign up for the contest. And Happy New Year!


*Featured photo by Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash

Andy Grall
Andy Grall

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