I am better off when I'm self-motivated. I don't need to tell other people about my goals, I hold myself accountable. But the minute I tell someone else about a plan, I will crawl over broken glass to fulfill my plan. I can disappoint myself, but I'd rather die than disappoint someone else.
I also love earning gold stars. I keep track when I go to the gym, so I can look at the calendar and see all the days I've kept my promise to myself.
It's taken me quite a few decades to realize that about myself, so I shouldn't waste that insight. I choose how serious I am about a goal. If I'm hopeful but not completely confident, it's best to keep it to myself. If I'm sure I will complete the goal, then I can shout it from the rooftops.
All of this goes back to my classroom, (doesn't it always?)
I want my students to be self-motivated. I want them to complete work for me, but I really want them to learn because they want to gain the knowledge. The best way I can get this to happen is to engage them in relevant, enjoyable tasks. I can show my enthusiasm for my subject, and demonstrate how the skills I’m teaching the class will benefit them.
I’m asking my students to reflect in their blogs on the lessons they’ve completed. I ask them to go home and teach the people there what they’ve learned today. I still need to do more. I need to light fires that they will themselves keep burning.
I take this as my challenge, and since I’ve made this goal public I am required to achieve it. Because I won’t stop until I do.