Online Professional Learning and
Technical Assistance for
21st Century Community Learning Centers


February 7, 2023

an image looking down of a young school age girl doing homework It’s early enough in the new year that you may be living off the momentum of that new planner you bought and the gym membership you signed up for. In years past, these promising practices may have fizzled out instead of becoming regular habits. No doubt, you had every intention to color-code your meetings and conquer that rowing machine once and for all — not only for yourself but also to set a good example for your students. After all, it’s no secret that young people watch and imitate their adult role models’ behaviors. Feeling the pressure? Relax! Here are some insights and ideas you can use yourself (and share with staff and students) to prep for success.

Designers, Let’s Get to Work!

Before we “walk the runway” to a better role modeling career, let’s explore why resolutions and goals often fall by the wayside. The research is there, so it’s no big secret.

First, instead of being centered on what you want to be doing, your goals of the past may have been based on what you think you should be doing. Ever heard of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation? Intrinsic motivation involves doing something because it’s personally rewarding to you. Extrinsic motivation involves doing something because you want to earn a reward or avoid punishment. Think about the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for your current job. You might do your job because you get a paycheck (extrinsic) and because you have a passion for helping students succeed (intrinsic). Both are valid reasons to do your job! Both can motivate you to get out of bed, get dressed, and show up at work each day. But sticking to that routine will be easier and more meaningful if intrinsic motivation is in the mix.

Second, make sure your intrinsic motivation, whatever it may be, is attached to goals that are SMART enough to help you follow through and stay focused. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound. The “A” in the middle is important because when you write a goal that’s achievable (like “walk a mile before noon every day this week”) instead of impossible (“climb Mount Everest this year”), you feel hopeful and encouraged about pursuing that goal. This applies to your staff and students as well. The “T,” which stands for “time bound,” adds a sense of urgency. Maybe you’ve heard it said that “a dream is a goal with a deadline.” It’s true! Try having staff and students write their SMART goals on sticky notes and stick them in visible places, either in the program environment or in a personal space of their choice. These reminders can help them pursue their dreams. Check out Y4Y’s tool on writing SMART goals for concrete guidance.

Down the Catwalk We Go

Managing your time is a crucial part of forming productive lifelong habits. Research shows that people who practice good time management techniques are more productive, have more energy for things they need to accomplish, and feel less stressed. Time management looks different for each person because everyone is unique, so it may take some “shopping around” to find what works for you! Try out these tips in your everyday life, and provide support to help your staff and students to do the same:

  • Know how you spend your time. Keep a time log and identify your most time-consuming tasks. Where is most of your time devoted? Are you investing your time in the most important activities?
  • Set priorities! Not all the tasks on your to-do list are equally urgent or important, but without order, it can feel like they are. Ranking your tasks in order of urgency and importance helps you say “no” to extraneous activities and give a starting point to your day.
  • Use a planning tool to help you keep to your schedule. Technology is a wonderful thing! Whether you prefer visual or audio reminders, there are plenty of programs to help you stay on task and on schedule.
  • Y4Y can help. From our Effective Homework Time Training to Go, which can keep homework time engaging and effective, to our tool on Creating a Home Learning Nook for a more productive learning experience, we’re behind you 100% in your efforts to model good habits and instill them in your students.


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