Strategies for a Southpaw’s Resolutions

Photo by Kolby

Photo Credit: Kolby Kirk

The new year brings with it new beginnings, new relationships, new goals, and those pesky goals we didn’t quite meet last year.

As a PT student, we’re learning how to write goals for our patients, and it is easy to apply those lessons to New Year’s Resolutions. A declared goal is an accomplished one–or at least a more likely to be accomplished one. There are a few components that make a good goal: S.M.A.R.T. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.  Here are my three biggest new year’s resolutions, how I’m going to achieve them, and how you can use my strategies for yourself.

I have always been a big reader, but as the demands of graduate school grow I’ve found myself turning more to mind numbing television, which, while entertaining, doesn’t provoke as much thought as a good book. Originally, I set a conservative goal of 24 books for 2015 — far lower than my undergrad days, but what I feel I have a good chance of accomplishing. Two books a month is doable.

It’s not a challenge if you don’t have to work for it though. I went back and upped my goal to thirty new books. They won’t all be epics like Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance and Patrick Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind, but I think I can find a happy medium. I don’t have specific books planned, but I have a long to-read list on Goodreads and plenty of unread gems on my Kindle to keep me occupied.

S.M.A.R.T. rating: 4.5/5

goodreads 2015 challenge

A common New Year’s challenge is to exercise more. I want to do that as well, but just saying “I’ll exercise more” will get me nowhere. I am setting a goal to consciously exercise at least twice per week for a minimum of thirty minutes. One session should be weight lifting and one should be cardio. That goal may seem low, but after my exercising dry spell last semester, I think it is a good goal for me. To track my exercise sessions, I’ll be using the calendar on my FitBit app, and will hopefully resume exercising with my workout buddy from last semester.  If I can’t do this consistently by March 1st, then I’ll reevaluate my goal, break it down if needed, and see how I can work toward a better one.

S.M.A.R.T. rating: 5/5

Photo by Mike Licht

Photo Credit: Mike Licht

My third resolution revolves around writing. I lost my blogging momentum last fall because I set too high of a goal. I scrambled to post twice a week and struggled. That struggle caused more stress, which made it harder to write new posts and…you get the picture. For this blog, I want to post once a week. In an ideal world, I’d alternate short music posts with longer life-related posts. (If you have any requests, be sure to leave me a note in the comments of this post!) I want to do this consistently for two months (January and February 2015) at which point I will look at my progress and see if I need a greater challenge, am comfortable, or am struggling.

S.M.A.R.T. rating: 5/5. My post topics aren’t planned out, but I can’t really change that. To avoid the writer’s block of “I don’t know what to write”, I’m going to put more effort into my book reviews and music reviews.  If When I keep up with my Goodread’s book challenge, I won’t have any problems. Should a longer post idea strike my fancy (or I receive a request), I will do that.

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 6.09.39 PM

I also want to work on my creative fiction writing. I’ve been toiling away on my first manuscript and am proud of how far I’ve come. After another week or two of work, I’ll be setting aside The Signature of a Thief for a few months. I’ll pick it back up then and reevaluate how I feel about the manuscript. Writing it has been such a learning experience for me, and even if I decide against publishing it, the hours I’ve put into it are far from wasted.

In the meantime, I have two new projects that I must decide between. I’ve started using myWriteClub to track my progress on the last bits of SoaT, and plan to use it throughout the year as I set and accomplish my writing-related goals.

S.M.A.R.T. rating: 4/5 Due to the ambiguity of a novel, I can only be so specific with my goals. Using myWriteClub, I am trying to measure my goals in a more precise manner. Through myWriteClub, I can set short term goals, but I don’t have any long term goals yet for my next project.

What new years resolutions do you have? How are you setting realistic goals?

Bite Sized Bit: .@m_schlitt reveals her S.M.A.R.T. resolution strategies for 2015. Learn how to set your own and stick to them. (Click to tweet)

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