Write New Year's Resolutions like an SLP

December 18, 2017
Kira Wright, CCC-SLP
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Resolution season is nearly upon us. In the world of speech/language therapy and special education, school-based SLPs might have an advantage when setting measurable, achievable goals. After all, we write an awful lot of goals over the course of a year, across a variety of skills and abilities. So why is it that we come up with the same vague, unmeasurable, soon-to-be-forgotten New Year's resolutions as everyone else? I propose that it doesn't have to be that way. Put on your SLP-hat and write yourself not just a resolution, but an annual goal!

New Year's Resolutions

3 things to keep in mind when setting resolutions you'll keep: 

  1. Write your roadmap for your resolution. Just like we write our IEP goals with our therapy methods in mind, use your resolution (or maybe some sub-objectives) to set yourself up for success. Instead of setting a goal to "Keep my desk clean," I might set a goal to "Maintain a cleaner desk by religiously... consistently on 4/5 opportunities using fancy new receptacles for mail and recycling." See how you've already addressed the major barriers that might keep you from meeting your goal? And if you need to revisit this goal, you'll know what you've tried!
  2. Tie into something that you have to do anyway. Remember how we write goals for our students to support classroom tasks and general education curriculum? Well, we can be just as practical about our own new year's resolutions. Improving list-making strategies will impact productivity in the workplace, as well as weekly grocery lists, and maybe even weekend household chore delegating! D0 you want to read more research journals to inform your evidence-based practice? If your goal is related to the needs of students you are actively planning therapy for, you might be more likely to follow through! "By March 1, I will review and discuss with colleagues at least 3 journal articles on intervention to support word-finding skills."
  3. Share! We know that the key to acquiring new speech skills is to generalize them across settings. By talking openly about your goals and strategies, you commit to holding yourself to them. Additionally, you might identify a "support group" of colleagues willing to check in on each other, or an "accountability buddy" to inspire you when you need it. 

Wondering what kinds of resolutions are being set by other Hello Foundation folks

"I will maintain on-task behavior and stay focused on a single task for 25-minute intervals with 5-minute breaks when working in and/or around the internet." - Kelly, SLP and digital media specialist

"I will tend to bookkeeping tasks for 20 minutes one day per week in 3 out of 4 weeks." - Helen, SLP

"I will check and edit weekly to do list and monthly forecast given digital reminders with less than 3 dismissals." - Lucinda, SLP

See? SLPs absolutely have a head start when it comes to writing resolutions that will actually bring about meaningful life changes. I am inspired and know we can do this!