Getting SMART with your CPD goals
Dean Evans MITI looks back at what he has achieved in the last CPD and considers what changes he needs to make to ensure he meets all his goals in the year ahead.
Is anyone else wondering where the last year went? It feels like only yesterday I sat down to write my blog post about CPD goals and planning. And yet here we are – the new CPD year has started and it's already time to set new goals.
As I discussed in that blog, the first, crucial step in planning your CPD for the year ahead is to review what you did the year before. So join me and dig out your 2021-22 plan, download your CPD Summary from My ITI and see what you achieved.
Maybe you smashed every one of your goals – in which case, chapeau! Keep it up! But what if your comparison shows there are goals that you didn't achieve, or ones that are still pending or need tweaking slightly?
CPD year in review
I had two main goals in 2021-22 – enhancing my editing skills for documents where the author's first language isn't English, and focusing on some subject knowledge training. So, how did I do?
I made good progress with my first goal. Over the year I attended several CPD events, including Joy Burrough-Boenisch's workshop for ITI on source language interference and Ana Frankenberg-Garcia's webinar for the ITI French Network about using corpora. I also watched Joachim Lépine's webinar on "Smoking Hot Syntax" and took his workshop on "What Makes English… English?".
All four gave me some great pointers for boosting my translation, editing and general writing skills – some of these tips are now neatly displayed on post-it notes around my monitor so they really sink in!
All in all, I'm happy to tick this goal off for now (further development might involve some training with the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), but that would be a story for another day).
Sadly, I wasn't quite so successful with my second goal. I'd planned to undertake some form of online, long-course training in my subject areas, but despite finding and bookmarking interesting-looking courses, I never quite got round to signing up (that old chestnut!). How can I stop that happening in future?
The main reason I didn't achieve this goal was that it wasn't SMART. It may have been Specific (I found the right courses and knew what I needed to do), Measurable (completed or not completed), Achievable (over the course of the year – definitely!) and Relevant (shoring up my subject-specific knowledge to enhance my client work).
Crucially, though, it wasn't Time-bound. I didn't set myself a specific time to take the course(s). And as it turns out, "by the end of the year" wasn't very helpful and other work and commitments got in the way.
So, if you're like me and didn't quite achieve as many goals as you'd have liked, this year try and keep them SMART.
Make sure you know exactly what you need to accomplish and the steps you need to take to get there. Have realistic, relevant goals and ensure you can readily track your progress with them. And try to set aside time specifically to work on them. It could be a particular hour or so each week, or a part of the year that is always quiet when you know you'll have more time to focus on larger CPD courses – to use one of Joachim's favourite words, my courses are now slated for August.
Setting SMART goals will help you focus on your CPD for the year ahead and hopefully you'll be able to tick every one of them off in 12 months' time.