I’ll be the first to admit that I have NEVER EVER EVER stuck with a new year’s resolution. I used to love the idea of writing a list of things that I would commit to every year. I used to think “this was the year” that I would ACTUALLY stick with it until December 31. I’d read all the science behind creating goals and habits that would lead to success. Does anyone remember the SMART goals?
For those of you that don’t, the acronym stands for:
And yet, I could never seem to stick with my diet and fitness goals, or flossing my teeth every night, or whatever it was that I came up with that year.
Around the time that Randy and I started dating, I had just started nursing school. That first semester of nursing school was one of the toughest semesters of my life. Combining two part-time jobs with pathophysiology, pharmacology, and a slew of other challenging courses on top of a long distance relationship is no joke, people. Just in case you were wondering, I don’t recommend it. I finished that semester with a 3.2 GPA – the lowest of my college career.
That was when Randy recommended keeping an updated list of my short-term and long-term goals. And it’s still some of the best advice he’s ever given me. Throughout the rest of nursing school, I kept a sticky note on my laptop with an updated list of goals. I say updated, because sometimes goals change. Or you need to modify them because life happens. If there’s one thing to remember about goals, it’s that you need to be flexible in the method of achieving them. It’s never going to happen exactly as you plan, but you need to be consistent and persistent.
On my ‘short term goals’ sticky note, I had specific things like the minimum score I wanted to make on a particular exam, or the number of times I wanted to work out that week. As expected, I consistently updated this sticky note.
On my ‘long term goals’ sticky note, I wrote things that I wanted to achieve within the next 6-18 months. I know that in the grand scheme of things, these goals aren’t too long term, but it was what worked for me. The long term goals were things like graduate nursing school with honors (cum laude), or run a half marathon (a specific one), or save $2,000 for my Japan trip.
In essence, the short-term goals would complement my long-term goals, and together, they would allow me to stay focused on my priorities without getting too distracted.
After adopting this method, I never dropped below a 3.8 GPA! I also finished a half marathon (February 2016 – in the midst of my clinical rotations), and flew to Japan with $3,000 in my bank account!!
It’s a little bit different now that I’m not working OR in school. I haven’t kept up with my sticky note method in a little over a year, but I think it’s a great time to get back to it. I’m moving back to the states in mid-May, and there’s a ton of volunteer and travel-related goals I want to accomplish before moving back to the states. I’d also like to start studying consistently in preparation for my school program that starts at the very end of May! And then I have some longer-term goals like volunteer for the Japanese Olympics (applications come out in the summer of 2018), and increase my running distance so that I can run a full marathon. I’ve been thinking about the goals I want to add to my short and long-term goals lists for a few days now.
The great thing about this method is that these lists aren’t set in stone. They are very fluid and will probably get edited over and over again throughout the year. But then again, I think the key to success is flexibility and consistency.
Lately, I’ve been focusing a lot on climbing and upper body strength. I also have a whole list of math, chemistry, and physics I need to study up on before starting my program in May. As always, I’d like to keep studying German, and attempt some simple conversations with locals. Accordingly, my current short-term and long-term goals will reflect that!
So simple right?! These lists (especially the short-term list) will definitely see changes in the next couple of weeks and months!
Hope this helps!
Happy New Year! Lets kick 2018 in the ass!