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Setting Realistic Goals

by Karen Kohler

As the semester starts just a couple weeks into the new year, it’s easy to want to aim high and finally do all the things you’ve been telling yourself you’ll do.  These are noble ambitions but setting a lot of big, broad goals almost never works.  Setting smaller goals that can eventually help you reach your overarching goal is wholly more effective.  It’s also important to set goals for different aspects of your life.  For instance, you may have an academic goal of generally wanting to do better in your classes.  How are you going to achieve that?  You may want to set a period of time aside to do homework and study or have better organized notes.  Something that has been surprisingly effective is a priority pyramid.  This is just a to-do list drawn as a pyramid and sorted by how important each task is or how soon it needs to be done.  An assignment due tomorrow for instance, may need to be at the top of the pyramid.  

It is important also to set “fun” goals or just things for your own enjoyment.  It may seem like finally watching that movie you’ve been meaning to see for who knows how long or finishing a television series is a distraction from the goal, but it’s still important.  Of course, finishing the assignment that is almost due should be completed first but perhaps this could be lower in the pyramid, serve as a reward, a break, and provide a balance.  

Make it fun for yourself! If a goal is to read more books, get on Goodreads and see what everyone else is reading.  If you’d like to start journaling, start by setting a goal of just once or twice a week, as opposed to immediately jumping to everyday, maybe get yourself some colorful stickers and pens to make it an arts and crafts activity.  Working out more could start by just going on walks or to the gym once a week, making a playlist to accompany you or finding a friend to go with could make it more enjoyable.  If you want a fun routine that you can change to match your pace, check out @benntheredonethat on Tik Tok.  She posts treadmill struts to different themed playlists of songs, including Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, ABBA, Disney songs, and many more.  The idea of these is to find your pace to the first song then slightly up your pace with each song and help make a workout enjoyable!