Goals vs. Resolutions

January 8, 2013

New Year’s Resolutions. Blah. It’s become a ritual for everyone, everywhere. I almost didn’t want to make it an activity for my students because I thought they’d look at me with boredom as I explained the assignment. Luckily, they didn’t – maybe because some of my English students didn’t know what a New Year’s resolution was prior to coming to the United States or maybe it was because my assignment was a little different. I’m going with the latter.

You always hear the same resolutions being recycled over and over again. “I want to exercise more,” “I want to quit smoking,” and “I want to learn something new.” Okay, but how do you plan to accomplish it?

I encouraged my students to come up with goal-oriented resolutions.

So instead of saying, “I want to improve my English” you’d say, “I want to read two articles in the local newspaper every day to improve my English reading and comprehension.” Once a student has met that goal, she can increase the number of articles to further challenge herself. By doing so, she is more likely to actually do the activity stated in the goal statement and it helps reach her ultimate goal which is improving her English.

Also, rather than making many resolutions that would be unlikely to attain, we only created two; one academic goal and one family or personal goal.

Here’s one student’s goals:

  1. I plan to give my children more responsibility with housework so my family life is less hectic. (When asked how, she said she’ll start out by having her eldest wash dishes and the others make their beds/clean their rooms.)
  2. I plan to watch 30 minutes of American television a week with subtitles to help with my listening skills. (When not in class, or with others who speak English, watching television/newscasts with English subtitle capabilities have been a help to some students who need to work on their listening skills.)

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Do you usually keep them? Did you make any resolutions this year?

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