The Motivated Teacher

Michael Todd Clinton

6 Tips for TEACHERS on Balancing YOUR Life in 2017!

6 Tips for TEACHERS on Balancing YOUR Life in 2017!

So, let me start out by saying this is not a how-to or a step-by-step guide on setting your goals or some self-help guide. I know we are all tired of that by now; marketers start doing their goal setting promotions about the same time that Christmas stuff comes out at Wal-Mart . I do however feel goal setting and working on balancing our lives is something we all must look at, and hopefully it will help us continue to grow in all the important areas in our lives. Last year,  I wrote some generic goals in the notes section of my phone, and I am glad I did, you will see why later. Anyway, back to being a teacher. Think about balancing the school day. This is something all teachers are expected to do with our students daily, so why would we not be doing this in our own life? Given, in the classroom we work on balancing different things like math, reading, science, playtime, reading time, etc. So, anyway here are six tips/ideas for you to think about. I have no idea why I picked six. It just sounded better than five, and ten was too many. Like I stated before, this is not a how-to, this is just some steps that will get you thinking, and hopefully help you in 2017!

6 Steps:


Question yourself by asking a few questions about YOUR life. No one knows YOU better than YOU.

  • What did I do well in 2016?
  • What do I need to fix, or work on that I struggled with last year?
  • Who do I need to spend more time with?
  • What would I like to see myself doing 10 years from now?
  • What do I need to be doing, so I can do whatever popped in your head from the question above? (if nothing popped in your head, read the question above again, and think HARDER about your life in 2027!)
  • If still nothing, then obviously you wouldn’t make it as a fortune teller.

These are just a few questions to get your mind wandering and make you want to read the next 5 steps. I am sure you can think of better questions that you need to ask YOURSELF. You know the questions I am talking about, Bad Habits, Thoughts, Relationships, Communication, etc.

Step 2: Know that YOU need BALANCE in YOUR life:

This is something I struggle with when I set goals or get focused on doing something. It is easy for me to push everything else to the side and only want to work on that one thing.  This is what most goal coaches tell us to do though. Hmm, I can see the tweet now “accomplish all your goals by mastering this one thing, open link below.” However, this is not how you should attack your goals. This did not become obvious to me until I had my little boy, and had to learn to balance a whole lot of different things that I didn’t have to before. Knowing up front that you are working on balance will help you know what to be doing to prepare you for later in life, especially if you do not have kids yet. Learn to prioritize. How I think about this is by thinking about the gazelle in Africa. You know the gazelle’s goal every morning is to get up early and eat some good grass that still has dew on it, but if this is the only goal the gazelle has then the lion will achieve his goal, and the gazelle’s balance in life will not turn out so good when the lion has a tasty breakfast.

I do love the quote though and proud of myself for finding a way to put it in this blog:


Step 3: Now that YOU are aware of BALANCE, set goals in all areas of YOUR life:

  • Your spiritual/faith beliefs

  • Your Family and relationships
  • Your Career
  • Your Finances and Cash flow
  • Your Fitness and overall Health
  • Your Hobbies and Down Time

Step 4: Come up with a plan to work on Your goals:

Ok, so I know some of you are still reading, and still have not made goals. Let me walk you through this like I would walk my students through this:

  1. Get out your phone.
  2. Open the notes section
  3. Title a note MY GOALS: ( you can get fancy here with bold letters, emojis, or whatever)
  4. Copy and paste the bullets in STEP 3 into your new note should look like what is below:
    1. Your spiritual/faith beliefs

    2. Your Family and relationships
    3. Your Career
    4. Your Finances and Cash flow
    5. Your Fitness and overall Health
    6. Your Hobbies and Down Time
  5.  Now come up with something for yourself: Below is what I actually have typed in my phone today 12/30/16: I know I need to make them more specific and I will. (It’s a GOAL, lol)

My Goals:

Your Spiritual/ Faith Beliefs:

Be a better Christian, by becoming more educated with the bible, and spreading gods word to people who are interested in hearing what I have to say.

Your Family and relationships:

This is the same goal I set last year, my phone says I did it on 11/21/15 Why? I donno (Make memorial and lasting moments with your family they will not be here forever) – (This is not on my phone, just thought I would add in case my sister reads 🙂 My sister is great at making memorable moments-Thank You– Brooke for making us go to Dollywood, Disney, Cabin stays, etc.

Your Fitness and overall Health:

Workout Todd, it makes you feel better and gives you more energy through the day to play with Bryce. I sleep better too when I get up and workout.

“Better Sore, Than Sorry.”

Your Career:

Be a better teacher by learning from teachers that are better than me. New this year, help other teachers to become better teachers by sharing what I learned from the best teachers I can find.

Your Finances and Cash flow:

Get out of debt and never get back in debt. (not in my phone) I have a love and hate relationship with Dave Ramsey, I know his program works, and it has definitely helped us. I just hate doing the budget 😦  No for real what Dave Ramsey does is inspirational, and it is simple, It is just hard to follow, given that our society expects you to drive new cars, live in fancy houses, and “Keep up with the Jones.”

Your Hobbies and Down Time

Have fun doing something that gets me and Bryce outdoors. Try to break 90 golfing, and remember this is down time and should be fun time. “It’s part of balancing life”  (not in phone) 90 is 18 holes not 9-B. I am not great at doing down time because I always feel there is something else that is more important, like painting the kitchen cabinets which I am doing now, it sucks. Some words for encouragement from the great Corey Smith, “Maybe Next Year.” Okay, so I guess that is not the point of getting things done and balancing life, so replace Next YEAR with “Maybe This Year 2017!”

Okay, so now that I look like an idiot, and will get all kinds of people emailing me on how to make my life better, maybe at least you can come up with some goals of your own. Who knows, maybe a year from now you will be writing a blog as well telling others how to balance their life. (weird, I know) Anyway, I did not say accomplish these goals because not all of these you are going to accomplish this year or ever. The experts say, to pick specific goals for each of these, and I guess I agree, but don’t overwhelm yourself. To make them more specific you could have daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Coming from a special education teacher, “be sure to make these goals specific and measurable.” If you are a SPED teacher you know what I am talking about, and it is funny and would probably deserve a LOL if your into that kind of stuff.

Step 5: Check in everyday or “New Day” I like to say and reassess your goals:

What is great about New Year’s or New Day’s for that matter is that it brings new opportunities to start working on your goals again. You are going to have crappy days when you accomplished nothing and days that you just feel like Blah, recognize that, and start over the next day. Treat your life like a teacher, pre-assess, learn, post-assess and repeat daily.


Step 6: Live YOUR Life how you want to live it…

I hope these 6 tips help you get 2017 off to a great start. Don’t overwhelm yourself when setting your goals and coming up with a plan to accomplish them. Remember, schedule time for your faith, family, fitness, and fun. I have a great idea “do them together”. Now, find some motivation and LETS Go!



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