I haven't written many blog posts recently because, like many of you, I've just been trying to keep my head above water and get through the end of the semester. But here it is, we've made it through. Whether you passed or failed, are exhausted or invigorated, you are here. At the end of every semester, no matter the circumstances, I like to spend a few minutes taking stock of the last 4 months.
- What were your accomplishments? No matter how challenging your semester was, how exhausting your personal life was, how difficult the last six weeks were, you accomplished things. Write that list down and give yourself some major kudos. Accomplishments do not have to be awards or publications or anything else "big." Accomplishments might be paying your bills in spite of hardships; leaving the house regularly for a walk and staying stable during incredibly challenging times; realizing that you volunteered and helped others get through this time...
- What will you adjust, moving forward? No matter how much of a success my semester was, there are always areas where I think I could improve. In that spirit, I like to leave myself notes for the next semester. Small things I want to change about the classes I teach, the writing I do, or the way I approach my home routines.
- What are your goals? As I close out one academic semester, I like to think about my future goals - both big and small. Setting attainable short and long term goals is an extremely important driver in feeling motivated and working with purpose. If you know your goals, then you can begin to map out a path for getting to those things. These goals should fall into 3 categories: short, medium, and long term. I like to start with the long term goals, then work my way backwards. This allows you to think strategically about where you want to go and how to get there.
- 3 month goals: What are your goals for the summer / next academic semester? These goals center on things like grades, exercise, applications for jobs or graduate school, internships, etc.
- 1 year goals: This still falls into the "short term goals" category, and they are basically the same as above, but with a slightly longer time horizon.
- 5 year goals: These goals have to do with more major aspects of life and career. Where do you envision yourself being in 5 years? What would you like to be doing? These goals might center on career, home life, finances, or personal relationships. But they should give you an idea of some of the bigger things you are working toward in your life. These goals help us find purpose to motivate the short term goals.
- 10 year goals: These are big, long term goals. These goals are often more vague, and they might change over time. That's okay. Very few people (no one) really knows what their life will be like in 10 years. But, it's a good idea to have a general idea of where you see yourself going and what you might want to do to get there.