We often consider a new year as a time for fresh starts, for change, for rejuvenation. But statistics suggest that 92% of New Year’s resolutions fizzle out by January 15 unless they are written down (Goalband)! According to other research (Mace 1935, Matthews 2015), setting goals and writing them down are the first steps in making the invisible visible. In addition to the act of making a written record of one’s goals, the motivation—and eventual success in reaching those goals—depends on sharing them with a trusted friend.
Teachers might facilitate the goal-setting process by repurposing the Treasure Map. By inviting students to create Treasure Maps, we make New Year’s resolutions more relevant and increase the likelihood of dreams coming true. The map provides a written guide for reaching a goal or goals and makes the plan more concrete. Without a plan, our goals may roam inside our heads, but we don’t have an exact path to lead us to their achievement. Without a plan, we become like Lewis Carroll’s character Alice, who falls down the rabbit hole, encounters an unfamiliar world, and tries to find her way:
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” (87-88)
The map provides a tool for navigation so that the path to goal fulfillment is purposeful rather than aimless. If January 1 has come and gone, you have no excuse for disregarding this idea. An important traditional festival observed in Asian countries and Asian territories, Chinese New Year's Day is Friday, February 16, 2018, so there’s still time for Treasure Mapping while adding a cultural lesson about the Year of the Dog.
Once created, the map should be displayed where it can serve as a daily reminder. As we glance at our plan for the year and the paths we hope to take, the goals we aspire to accomplish, the desires and dreams we will pursue, we can adjust our behavior to meet those expectations and draw on the images and inspiration for strength. Teachers can encourage students to take the following steps and to think of the treasure as the New and Improved You; to think of the journey as the stages and the steps to take in 2018 to make that version/that vision a reality. These goals are stops on a treasure map that guides its maker to success and possibility.
Although I have used this lesson, Treasure Maps for Any New Year, successfully with ninth graders, it can be modified so that even second graders develop the habit of goal-setting and achievement. Buy it now for $1.00 at www.thinkingzone.org
Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass. Puffin, 1948.
Carson Phillips, Paula, Kerry D. Carson, and Ronald B. Heady. “Cecil Alec Mace: The Man
Who Discovered Goal-Setting.” International Journal of Public Administration vol. 17, no. 9, 1994, pp. 1679-1708.
“18 Facts about Goals and Their Achievement.” Goalband, 2014, www.goalband.co.uk/goal-achievement-facts.html.
Gardner, Sarah. “Study Focuses on Strategies for Achieving Goals, Resolutions.” Dominican
University of California, www.dominican.edu/dominicannews/study-highlights-strategies-for-achieving-goals.