How to Stay Motivated (Series: Part 5)

In the last article in this 5-Part series “How to Stay Motivated During Covid-19”, we will explore how goal setting can help build motivation in your life.

As we have explored so far, finding motivation during the lockdown may be very difficult. And it’s through no fault of your own. Our entire world has been built on expectations and routines — routines that have been developed over the last forty years.

Going to work, socializing with people, meeting at Happy Hours, and finishing work on Friday with expectations for the weekend.

This was just “normal” life for millions of us. But the world changed dramatically in March 2020, when businesses shut down and only some people went to work at all — the essential workers.

And businesses closing wasn’t the only thing that shut down — motivation went along with it.

Of course, for the first couple weeks — it wasn’t that bad. Of course people weren’t earning any income, but America as a whole needed a “vacation.”

There was not one segment of our economy that wasn’t working at warp-speed before the shutdown, so the forced stay-at-home order might have been a blessing in disguise, but the longer the shutdown lasted — the more it started to destroy our economy and our psyches.

The question now is — So Now What?

If you have a job, how do I stay motivated besides the “fear” that I will lose my job?

And if you don’t have a job, how do I find motivation to find a career position and not just any job to meet bills and expenses?

Because let’s face it — if you HAVE to go to work — it might be more worthwhile to get paid for something you like to do rather than something you MUST do.

When I was a Superintendent, I would frequently ask interviewees this question, “Why do you want to do this job? Because you could make more money doing something else.”

And it was interesting to hear people give answers. Sometimes you could tell they were fishing for a good answer — but deep down you knew they just “needed” a job. They could care less what they did.

And other times, people were able to explain that they had always wanted to help children and help them be successful in life.

And this is where GOAL SETTING comes in. In the last article, we talked about creating your Hero Story — and what motivates you today. Now it's time to look ahead at the future, and determine what do you want to accomplish tomorrow?

Is it monetarily? Is it professionally? Is it socially?

What are your goals?

In education we like to use S.M.A.R.T. goals to help kids focus on targeted goals that can be attainable. And that is the key — coming up with long range goals that aren’t so lofty that it’s impossible to see the path in front of you — that doesn’t help you or anyone else.

Let’s break down what S.M.A.R.T. stands for first:

S — Stands for Specific

M — Stands for Measurable

A — Stands for Attainable

R — Stands for Relevant

T — Stands for Time Bound

Why is it important to stick to S.M.A.R.T. goals? Because when you follow the formula for S.M.A.R.T. goals you give yourself every opportunity to be successful.

I will highlight my S.M.A.R.T. goals as an example that you can adapt them to your situation. First, my specific goal is to create a Master Teacher Academy. What that will do is help Teachers build teaching skills and strategies they need in order to rise through the ranks as a Teacher.

I will measure the success by the number of Teachers that join the Master Teacher Academy and the subsequent Formal Observation scores those Teachers receive from their supervisors.

This will be attainable through a website that I am developing and I have 20-years of experience, knowledge and expertise in training and coaching Teachers.

My goal is relevant because now more than ever — Teacher Quality — is critical for student success. And unfortunately, Teachers are being blamed for the problems of schools — so I want to arm Teachers with relevant information and data that helps them explain to parents — what the real underlying problem with public school is — Hint: It’s not the Teacher.

And I am setting the next few months as my time-bound check-in. So by January 2021, if I don’t have Teachers enrolled in my Master Teacher Academy, then I know I need to take a closer look at my strategic plan and see where I went wrong.

You can do the same thing. Pick one goal. Outline the S.M.A.R.T. goals and then build a strategy around it.

I would love to read your S.M.A.R.T. goals. Knowing that you got value from this series “How to Stay Motivated” means that I helped you in your life. It’s also great to get the feedback from you. As a career educator, writing for an audience you cannot see is a new concept. Typically a Teacher is receiving direct feedback from students, either through facial expressions, raised hands, or questions about confusion.

All of these cues help Teachers determine if the class is on-task, or if the class is lost. Either way, the feedback helps.

You can check out the other articles that I have written so far. If there is a specific topic that you hope I cover, please leave it in the comments.