The students are coming back! Whether you’re scrambling to perfect your syllabus, stocking the dining hall kitchens or remaining in denial sitting on your back porch basking in the sun, the students are coming! Lucky for us, we know (mostly) what to expect, unlike the freshmen who will be getting lost on campus approximately 9.5 times. While we may know where we are going on campus and the general structure of the school year, we might not know how to intentionally create and implement a vision for success.
Ask yourself: Do I ever take a moment to plan, set goals or envision what the next year could be like? Do I sit and have a moment of self-reflection about how I could improve or how I could make this year better than the last? Well, my friends, today is our chance to do just that. Give yourself the gift of time today to create a vision for achieving success this school year. We will be walking you through the 5 steps to making this the best year yet!
- Create a Vision
Our vision for our lives and our future is the spark that can ignite us into action. Sometimes, vision by itself will not be enough, but our vision for our future can act as a compass, guide and source of inspiration for us throughout the goal-setting process. To create a vision, first think about what you would like to change about your life. Then, imagine a vision for how your life could be better. Allow yourself to feel the excitement and emotions that can come with inviting more joy, clarity and peace into your life.
Ask yourself questions like, what matters most to me right now in my life? What will ignite my desire to live a passionate and authentic life? What does my best year look like? What will make this year better than the last? What would success look like this year?
- Formulate an Action Plan
We now have a vision and are ready to jump in and create a plan for achieving it! For starters, grab a pen and a piece of paper, find a spot where you can be alone and get ready to start planning. With your vision in mind, think about each of the steps it would take to achieve your vision. For example, what system might you need to put in place to become more organized? What actions would you have to take to lose those unwanted pounds? What steps would be required to work out in the morning? When asking yourself these types of questions there will likely be many steps that come to mind. Write them all down, but know that you do not have to overwhelm yourself by trying to start them all at once. In the next step, we will break down these steps and begin setting small, manageable goals.
- Set Goals
It’s showtime, folks! Time to set goals and commit to achieving your vision, one manageable step at a time. Jeffrey Hayzlett, prime time TV and radio host and author shares The 5 Golden Rules of Goal-Setting. “Goals are a way to measure your level of success — they give you focus, direction and a sense of purpose while providing you a tangible benchmark to determine if you’re actually succeeding,” he explains.
It is important, however, that these goals add up to create a lifestyle that you can live with long-term. For example, don’t commit to going to the gym for two hours per day and cooking every night if it isn’t realistic to maintain. We are busy people with busy lives, and good intentions aside, we must still be realistic. Start off small and then add on as those changes become a habit. For instance, once you conquer cooking a homemade meal three times a week then consider adding in a fourth. It’s best to build on our successes once we have mastered the skill and goal at hand.
- Get Support
We all need support in the form of a mentor, accountability partner or thoughtful friend. Our support system should consist of people who will encourage us to achieve our goals, assist us in meeting our goals to the best of their ability and are a source of inspiration and/or knowledge. Finding an expert or someone who has achieved what you desire to achieve is a great role model to have. The Center for Healthy Living (CHL) on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus provides benefits-eligible Boilermakers (and dependents covered on a Purdue health plan) with health coaches, employee assistance counselors, pharmacists and a dietitian who can all assist you on your journey to success. Health coaches can provide you with guidance, accountability and encouragement while employee assistance counselors, pharmacists and a dietitian can help you to achieve success in their specific field of expertise. An added bonus? Health coaches, the dietitian and pharmacists are all available for telephonic wellness coaching! That means, no matter where you are, you have access to wellness programs offered by the CHL.
So, now you’ve accomplished some of your goals, gained confidence in your ability to persevere and feel committed to focusing on making this the best year yet. Bravo! Celebrate your newfound success with your support team, family and friends. Bask in the glory of your victory and allow yourself to be proud.
According to Psychology Today and author Polly Campbell’s Why You Should Celebrate Everything blog post, “… any celebration, big or small, is really about taking a beat to notice the good stuff in your life. It can also be a reminder of our talents and abilities, skills and persistence. Drawing on those things can motivate us to keep working toward our goals.”
Making changes and adjustments is no easy feat, and we applaud you for making your life and your health a priority! One day, one year at a time we can create the lives we want to remember and continue to learn and grow.
Be Kind. Be Well. Boiler Up.