Vision Boards and One Word Goals to Kick-Start the New Year

“The most important thing to maintaining a habit is getting buy-in from yourself.”

-Adithya Chakravarthy

At the start of a new school year and/or new calendar year, teachers and students can kick-start their goals by creating vision boards and one word goals. It’s important to note how important the journey is and not just the end result. I love kicking off the new year by showing this Ted Talk by Adithya Chakravarthy.

You can have students reflect on the video with a 3-2-1 reflection. There are a variety of ways you can structure the 3-2-1. Some possible ideas: What are three things you learned, what are two a-ha! moments or connections to your life you made, and what is one SMART goal you have going forward or one question you have about goal-setting?

Vision Boards

Vision boards are a wonderful, visual, and tangible artifact that can ground us in our goal-setting. They are not stagnant and can be added to over the year and even years. It is wonderful to have a vision board present in a place that can serve as an anchor. Some have told me they have their vision boards on a bulletin board on a wall in their office, bedroom, or closet doors, among many other options. Smaller versions like the ones shown below can be placed on smaller walls, binders, desks, etc. These boards can anchor students, teachers, and really anyone to their goals. Having a visual serves as a reminder of what we’ve committed to. It can also be so inspiring each day to look at our goals and realize the action steps we’re taking each day can help us reach those goals.

Possible ideas to consider:

  • One word I want to anchor to (see below for one word ideas)
  • A social goal to improve my relationships
  • A physical goal to stay healthy
  • Ways I can make the world a better place
  • An inspiring quote
  • College aspirations
  • Career dreams
  • Something I struggle with that I want to overcome
  • Something I’d like to try
  • Five ways I can be my best self with my family and friends
  • Something I want to learn or improve academically
  • Places I’d like to travel
  • and more!

When engaging in vision boards with students, it will be important to scaffold what goes on the board. Primary students may need a clear list and graphic organizer while secondary students may just need an outline. Technology also enables us to create digital vision boards. In the image and resource below, I used Google Slides. I gave students two template options and allowed them to use the graphic organizer template on Google Slides or by hand, or use the blank template and also choose to complete it on Google Slides or by hand.

Template on Teachers Pay Teachers

Vision Board Bulletin Board

One Word Goals

One Word goals are also a wonderful way to anchor to a goal. Pick a word that can ground you to something you want to accomplish for the year. Brainstorm with students and show them some different words.

Guiding Questions:

  • Do you want to be more organized with your belongings and time?
  • Do you want to be more positive with your friends, family, and/or general outlook on life? 
  • Do you want to be more consistent with your grades, homework completion, sports, and activities?
  • Do you want to be physically and mentally healthy?
  • Do you want to have more motivation to follow-through with your tasks and responsibilities?

Have students engage in something like AnswerGarden to collect possible one words. Students type a word in and press “submit.” The more a word is added, the larger it is. Let your AnswerGarden grow! 🌱🌷🌻

AnswerGarden Brainstorm

Create a S.M.A.R.T. goal to help you stick to that one word goal.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals:

  • Is it Specific?
  • Is it Measurable?
  • Is it Action-Oriented?
  • Is it Realistic?
  • Is it Timely?

A sentence frame you can give your students for their S.M.A.R.T. goals can be:

“My One-Word for (year or school year) is _________. I chose this word because __________. In order to achieve this goal, I will ______, ______, and ______. (Action steps). This goal will be a year-long goal. In order to hold me accountable, I will check in on my one word progress every ____ weeks. I will know I have shown progress on my goal when __________, __________, and _________ (list some outcomes that will come out of your one word goal).”

One Word Bulletin Board

A New Year is a motivating time to set some goals. If you created one new specific goal a year, think about how truly amazing your life story will become. Consider making this a journal activity with students as they reflect every few weeks or so on their goals, progress, and continued refinement going forward. Accountability is key and, like Adithya says, it is more about the

“It’s not about enjoying the outcome. It’s about enjoying the process and only then will the outcome follow.”

-Adithya Chakravarthy

Do you have strategies and lessons you implement with students at the beginning of the school year or new calendar year to motivate students? How do you keep them motivated once that goal is set? Share any ideas you have below!

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