Liz Zadnik on New Year’s EVEaluation Resolutions


Farewell 2016!  Welcome 2017!  Liz Zadnik, aea365 Outreach Coordinator and sometimes Saturday poster with some reflections and personal goals.  Let’s toast to our journey so far and hopes for the coming year.

Lesson Learned: I know, I know, resolutions just set us up to fail.  But I like to reframe my resolutions as goals – ways to continue to grow or recalibrate.  I love writing goals and discovering ways to support their success.  Goals also require a certain amount of existing resources, so I can’t just pluck something from thin air for drastic change.  So, for example, I’d like to challenge myself and learn some new strategies and theories on evaluation.  Attending Evaluation 2016 really highlighted the breadth of this work and how much there is to explore.  So, my goal for 2017 is to be able to describe at least two new theories or approaches to evaluation.  

Rad Resource: Members of AEA have access to journals and research on program evaluation.  Research offers space for dialogue and new perspectives, something that keeps the mind fresh and engaged.  

Lesson Learned:  In addition to setting goals, you can also try to build a habit.  Habits are tricky and often talked about in terms of breaking them.  But habits help us feel secure and many times contribute to our wellbeing.  For example, making sure we show affection to our family members and friends is a habit.  So is a bedtime routine that includes brushing our teeth.  So resolutions can become habits.  Incorporating something new into our daily routine for about 30 days       

I’m going to support my goal by practicing a new habit: 15 minutes of reading every day.  I’ll select a journal article and work through it.  Maybe it will take me three or four days to read one article, but that small, incremental pace will set me up for success.  Maybe after a few months 15 minutes turn into 25 or one article per day.  Maybe not.  Either way, I’m learning and growing in my practice.  

What are some of your hopes and goals for the new year?  Is this time of year an opportunity for you to reflect on what’s to come or what you have experienced?

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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