New Year’s resolutions, almost everyone has made one. But the beginning of the year doesn’t have to be the only time to make changes or set goals. It’s important to think outside of the New Year’s box about resolution making. We all have various strategies for making changes. See a change that needs to take place in your life? Hop on it, no matter what month it is.
Working toward achieving a goal should be a daily practice. We’ve all felt overwhelmed when it comes to completing tasks and achieving goals. Breaking down your goals into daily pieces can also help prevent becoming overwhelmed by them and can give you the space to ease into lifestyle changes.
A to-do list can be a useful tool for achieving daily goals:
- Write down what you need to accomplish and do not remove it from the list until it is done!
- Hold yourself accountable for every item and reward yourself for completing it.
- If for some reason a to-do item cannot be accomplished, make it the very first item for the following day.
- Write a message at the top of your list that will encourage your completion of each task.
Our favorite encouragement quotes?
These messages serve as constant reminders that you do, in fact, ‘got this’ and that your power comes from the work you do. So, get out your notepad and werk!
Making a to-do list isn’t the only way to set and achieve your goals. When we have goals that cannot be accomplished in one day, we look to other tools for growth and development, such as a vision board.
A vision board is a great way to visualize your purpose and long term goals:
- Break out your favorite magazines.
- Cut and paste pictures that reflect your journey onto a large poster board.
- Hang up your vision board in a place that you visit every day so that you constantly see your plan for development.
- Track your progress.
There are tons of ways to visualize your goals and life path. We recognize that creating to-do lists and vision boards, can also be overwhelming. Where do you start? And what happens when you can’t get anything done? How do you lose the stress and get back on track? Answer: We can’t tell you, because you know YOU best. As PhD students, researchers, and instructors, we are constantly on the go. We forget to eat, sleep (which is totally optional in graduate school), and sometimes we forget our to-do lists at home. And then there are moments where we get sidetracked taking self-portraits and posting them (and photos of Ice-T and Napoleon – our cat and dog) to Instagram. These things can make achieving our goals overwhelming, so constantly checking in with ourselves is what gives us room to breathe and get back on track.Make time to check in with yourself and affirm your spirit. Create a time for reflection. Before (or after) you break out your favorite M.A.C lipstick and lip liner, really take time to reflect on who you are as well as your desires and needs. This “me time” may help you realize the changes you need to make and how you may choose to go about making them. Additionally, create a space for reflection. Try decorating a table with your favorite pictures (of yourself and loved ones), affirmations, and letters. Visit this space every day. It could serve as a starting point for your day, and a reminder that you are powerful and loved by the most important people in this world.
We believe that setting goals and affirming one’s spirit are necessary for growth and development. As we approached the New Year, our own self-reflections and our friends constantly reminded us that changes needed to be made. We knew that last year’s goals needed revising and that a new year meant we had to throw out old lipsticks and invite something new into our lives. So, today, as you work on completing tasks and taking care of you, we also encourage you to ask yourself, “Turn down for what?” Perhaps who we mean to quote is Maya Angelou when she says, “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”
Simone Savannah is an English instructor and contributing writer for the Project on the History of Black Writing at the University of Kansas. She is currently pursuing a PhD in English-Creative Writing and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. Her poetry is based on personal experiences she can’t let go—imagined or otherwise. Simone also enjoys making green smoothies, attending Bikram Yoga classes, and laughing uncontrollably.
Aisha Upton is a first year PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh, studying Sociology and Women’s Studies. Her research interests: Black women in service organizations and violence against Black women. She is passionate about many things including community service, lipstick, baking, thrifting, knitting, and being a proud owner of a Cockapoo, Napoleon. At the intersection of being a diligent student, a fashionista, and an activist – you will find Aisha, attempting to find a balance.