I like to think of February as the time to really get the resolutions into gear and fine-tune them. For myself, I had some pretty lofty goals in mind for both work-life and academic-life. Spring semester doesn’t start until tomorrow and I’ve already realized that my goals and resolutions needed some fine tuning.
We have students work on New Year’s resolutions when we get back. It’s actually a part of the curriculum, and we grade them based on whether or not their resolutions are “SMART”–specific, measurable, action orient, relevant, and time-bound.
As adults, whether or not these resolutions are “achievable” is the big question. Yes, we want to believe the sky’s the limit and to push ourselves to our potentials. But, like myself, students at USG are often wearing more than one hat, juggling several responsibilities. It seems that the “achievable” requirement for adults should be “achievable without falling apart.”
There are some criteria I’ve recently gone by to determine if my goals were achievable to a reasonable extent–this kind of combines with the “realistic” component.
- Will I be getting enough sleep? A recent article came out linking a lack of sleep to two proteins associated with Alzheimer’s. Reason #2359 to get your beauty rest in above all else. I know more recently, the culture of “grinding” and essentially overworking yourself has become almost an expectation, even glorified. It’s tempting to create a goal that would be achievable if you were a part of that culture but…trust me, it’s not worth it.
- What happens to my work life balance? Ah, the work-life balance. There’s no equation or formula that fits everyone, but I think this article from the Harvard Business Review sheds light on how to make it happen, even if you’re a leader in your domain.
- Is this something that will make me happy if I accomplish it? Too often, we set goals because peers are way too convincing or because some Instagram influencer has been pushing it since before the New Year started. Like a work-life balance, there’s no formula. What one person is doing as a resolution may not do anything for you. Imagine reaching that goal. Would it really feel good? Or is there simply an “OK, what’s next?” If the former, you’re way more likely to succeed in achieving it. If the latter, any bump in the road might be the end of the resolution path.