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It’s never too late: Setting goals in Week Four

By Theresa Bryce, 4th-year English major

As we get through Week Four a lot of us are seeing Reading Week on our horizon, and looking back, our new year’s resolutions are no longer in sight. I want to remind you that just because it isn’t January 1, 2015, doesn’t mean goal setting should be thrown out the window! It is never too late to start again. To create a new habit we must repeat that habit until it is second nature to us. It doesn’t matter if you start on January 1st, February 1st, or even today! Here are a few tips about how to get back into your resolutions.

Firstly, it’s important to reflect on your accomplishments. If you have broken your resolution to work out three times a week, or to eat healthy, or to review your notes for 10 minutes after every class remember first to reflect on what went well! Take five minutes to write down when you were able to accomplish your goal, what went well, how did it make you feel? Everyone always says to learn from your mistakes, but remember to continue doing what has been working for you too!

Secondly, turn that negative language into positive self talk. Instead of focusing on the fact that you are too busy to complete your goal, review your goal and set new terms. Instead of “I have too many readings to go to the gym three times a week” your goal could be “Go to the gym once a week and do burpees and skip rope in my room twice a week”. Create goals that are attainable and adapt with your schedule. Then reward yourself with positive self talk: remember it’s an accomplishment to set goals too. You already have the motivation to try something new this year!

Thirdly, keep yourself accountable by creating something visual to remind yourself of your accomplishments. If your goal is to review your lecture notes every Sunday afternoon you could create a calendar and give yourself a check mark or sticker when you complete your goal. You could write a blog about how your new fitness goals, how you feel what are the changes week to week. Work on a goal with a friend. Find a way that works for you to prioritize your goal in your weekly schedule.

Lastly, remember our S.M.A.R.T goal setting model to set yourself up for success!

  • “S” for SPECIFIC: “Eat vegetables with lunch and dinner” is better than “be healthier”.
  • “M” for MEASURABLE: How will you know that you’ve reached your goal and can move onto the next one?
  • “A” for ACTION-ORIENTED: Try “Finish my readings for Biology every week” instead of “Do better in school.”
  • “R” for REALISTIC: Aim for challenging, but do-able. This will build your confidence!
  • “T” for TIMELY: Set a deadline so you have a reason to start now!

Goal setting is not something you can fail. It’s an ongoing tool that you should review and revise as your situation and priorities change. Sometimes that means you just have to start again! It doesn’t need to be January first to work on yourself. You gotta do you 365 days of the year.

Check out Motivation and Procrastination for more strategies!

Photo courtesy of Barrett Hall under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.