• Lindsay Mangold

S.M.U.M.P.! Something Messed Up My Plan!

"Dream a little smarter."

This episode of one of our favorite podcasts, Hidden Brain, explores why goals go unmet and dreams are not realized. A big reason is that we are actually too confident and content in our wishes. When we think about our goals with optimism, we don't consider the pitfalls that may stand in our way, and we don't consider the effort that it may take to reach the goal. We end up failing at the first sign of adversity simply because we didn't see it coming. The podcast suggested a planning format called "WOOP", but we found that the language was too difficult for elementary students. Instead, we have the SMUMP.

This lesson gives students a cute yet menacing creature to depict the hurdles in the way of our dreams. We have affectionately named them "SMUMPs" - when something messes up your plan. We challenge students to not only know that SMUMPs can and WILL get in the way of their goals, but also, plan how they will behave when the SMUMP arrives.

Think about what stands in the way of your goals.

The example in the lesson is a messy teacher desk. The students watch and contribute as we consider what is standing in the way of having a clean desk, then, match the behaviors for facing the SMUMP.

Consider your own adult goals. Think about the SMUMPs we have to face when it comes to losing weight, balancing obligations, meal planning, saving money... we had to stop ourselves from unloading our lengthy lists. Imagine what would happen if you not only planned for things to get in your way, but more importantly, planned what you would do in that moment. I snack on junk food in the afternoon. When this SMUMP arrives, I will drink a glass of water and answer an email instead. I spend too much on dining out with friends. When this SMUMP arrives, I will make our next get together a game night in after dinner. The possibilities are endless. Talk about this with your students. Process SMUMP facing out loud. You will find yourself more ready to meet your goals and your students will be ready for the effort ahead.

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