Today, for the fourth day of National School Counseling Week, the American School Counselor Association has challenged me to share my goals as a school counselor. And I have to admit I was ecstatic to take a moment to reflect on my goals.
Goal setting for me is an incredibly important process. I find so much value in thinking about the ideal future. A vision is what motivates me, and really drives my ideal future into reality.
And I have many goals. This Spring, our school counseling teams sat down to calendar out this school year and to develop our goals as a team and as individual counselors. At our request, our principal gave us a working day off site to get this done. We set goals for all three domains at all three middle school grade levels: college and career development, personal-social development, and academic development. Additionally, we set goals for all categories of services including one on one counseling, referrals, small group counseling, classroom guidance lessons, consultation, and collaboration. Our goals were in alignment of our overall district and school philosophies of equity, creating and implementing trauma-sensitive schools, and restorative practices. We even mapped out goals for all of our school-wide programming including our anti-bullying program, signs of suicide (SOS) program, college night, career day, high school and beyond plans and transitions to middle school and high school. Additionally, we took time to set goals regarding the improvement of ineffective systems in our total school counseling program and within the context of our school. And it is these goals and our calendaring of them that hold us accountable as school counselors and allow us to perform the roles that we were trained and designed to do as opposed to taking on “duties as assigned”.
However, coming into the 2018-2019 school year the goals discussed above were not my top priority. Sure, we are blowing all of these goals out of the water even if we have had to make adjustments and change timelines. But this year the goal that trumps all is all about self-care. And it is one major reason why I am starting Iloveschoolcounseling.com
Given that I am goal-oriented, or as my favorite podcaster Jenna Kutcher would say “a goal digger”, I usually accomplish the goals I set out to achieve. No Joke. I rarely fail at achieving a goal I set in the school counseling world. I have grit, perseverance, and I am pretty good at the work that I do. My Type A personality and perfectionist like tendencies have made me highly skilled in setting goals that are timely, measurable, and achievable. Hell, I finished my PhD in four years while working full time and as an adjunct professor. I get things done. But as a school counselor of 7 years what I am realizing is that accomplishing a goal that you set is not that difficult. The difficulty is accomplishing a goal and still being in a state where you are balanced, sane, clear, positive, and joyful. Because its no fun to accomplish your goal and be in a state where you feel like you’ve been hit by a semi-truck only to be sent up into the air and be ran all over again. Ive been there. Its painful for myself and all those around me. And I do not want to go back.
So this year I set out to include self-care into my weekly schedule. For me that means the following actions (1) say no to activities or events that do not excite me, (2) do not feel obligated to attend or participate in anything that I do not desire (3) workout 3-4 times per week, (4) include yoga in infrared heat as a weekly mindful practice, (5) establish built in date nights with my boyfriend, (6) get into the mountains a few times per month, (7) leave work no later than 4:30 daily, (8) follow the principles in the book The Subtle Art of How Not to Give a Fu*k at work, (9) meditate a few times per week, and (10) eat healthy to the best of my ability including vitamins and using essential oils.
I am doing something right to accomplish my trump goal of taking care of my spiritual, emotional, and physical self. The other day I sat at 6th grade lunch with my colleagues, which is a rarity. One of the office staff members made a comment that she hasn’t seen me this happy in a long time. I thanked her for noticing and telling me this. And I couldn’t be more happy in that moment. Other people are noticing the work I am putting into my self care.
I was sharing this conversation with my mother a few days later when she gasped and said, “I was just talking about this to your dad the other day. We have both noticed how much more balanced you are.” Thanks mom. I appreciate it. I smiled, knowing its the work I have been putting into my goal of self-care.
This journey is a forever one. And thus my goal to put self-care at the forefront will also be a life long goal. Its not always easy and sometimes I take huge strides backgrounds, but ultimately with persistence, grit, and focus I can accomplish it just like I can accomplish anything else.
Note: If you are interested in learning more about my self care journey check out my soundbath experience or experience in a hot house.