Tag Archives: goals

A Summer of Reinvention

There’s something unique about the happiness one feels in the summertime–it’s unobstructed and unconstrained. Don’t get me wrong, summer does have its downsides as well, like the all-consuming worry of missing out or the deep sadness one can feel after experiencing what you think as “once in a lifetime joy.” But in order to really take advantage of summer’s offerings, I think it’s important to make a list of goals you can reasonably accomplish to make this summer one of reinvention. Here’s a few ideas to guide you:

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1. Be on your phone less – Limiting your social media usage by deleting certain apps or eliminating those apps’ screen time completely will dramatically help make this summer more carefree and fulfilling. Not having social media apps on your phone will increase your productivity because they are not easily accessible, therefore they won’t be able to distract you. Social media can take a heavy toll on one’s mental health, especially since people tend to only post the most glamorous parts of their life, so deleting these apps may help improve your mental state. If you’re interested in learning more about social media’s effect on mental health, check out this article.

2. Read more – Summer offers you so much free time and if you decide to stop using social media as much, you will have more time in between shifts, summer classes, hanging out with friends, etc. to really sit down and read. Finding the type of books that speak to you can be really exciting and offer you a whole world of enlightenment and connection with others that you may not have had.

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3. Take some classes – Sometimes, taking classes in the summer can contribute to your fear of missing out on summer fun with friends if you happen to get bogged down by schoolwork. But if you put in the work and are resilient, you will end up feeling grateful and proud of yourself for completing classes in the summer. 

4. Focus on you – I think that overall the most important thing to do this summer is to focus on yourself. Think of the mindset you wish to be in and figure out how to get there. Don’t chase after things this summer unless they are for your personal improvement. Listen to your body, pay attention to what you want to do or be and focus on that. 

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5. Get a fun, chill summer job – One thing you don’t want to do in a summer of reinvention is say “no” too much. A way to make sure you don’t have to say this is if you have the resources to say “yes.” Filling your schedule with a job and classes this summer may not sound appealing, but it would make your free time even more rewarding and enjoyable, especially if you have the means to spend your money on fun activities. Plus, your job could give you awesome work friends!

6. Learn a language – Whether you are in the process of learning a new language or have finished UT’s course requirements for your language credits, summer is a good time to keep practicing it so your new language skills don’t become rusty. With more and more vaccines being distributed, it’s possible more study abroad programs will open up in the fall, so learning a language will be extremely helpful if you plan on studying abroad!

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7. Keep a journal – I firmly believe that writing in a journal, logging your days, experiences and thoughts is a very important habit to keep up with. In general, it is very good for you, think of it as a form of self care. For me, writing helps relieve my feelings and makes me feel less chaotic as I am writing down all of my thoughts and complicated feelings onto a piece of paper, something external. Also, one day you may want to share experiences and stories with others and it would be nice to have a fresh account of it written down in your journal that you could refer back to. BookPeople has some very cute journals if you look hard enough.

8. Do things alone – It’s fun eating at a restaurant alone, dancing in your room alone, going to a park all by yourself. Don’t let your friends’ availability schedules hold you back, if you really want to go somewhere but your friend can’t come, I encourage you to go by yourself. I think doing stuff alone every now and then really helps you learn how to be more comfortable with yourself. 

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9. Pick up a new hobby – Summertime is your chance to pick up that hobby or skill you’ve always wanted to try. You could start making things out of clay, or get really into crocheting, running, climbing, painting, latte art, really anything that speaks to you. It will help occupy your newfound free time and limit your time spent decomposing in your bed watching TikToks (which is definitely fine to do sometimes).  

10. Try to go to new places – Making a summer bucket list with your closest friends will help cure summer boredom that often comes with having so much free time. In this bucket list you can make goals as big as traveling to a different state with your friends, to things as little as going to the pool everyday. Go to places you guys have never been before, maybe try finding a good crying spot where you guys can go when your summer fun turns to summer sadness. Explore the city in ways you never have before, there’s endless possibilities and exploring will help make your summer full of adventures.

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5 ways to stay motivated to workout

It’s the start of the new year which means most of us set ambitious resolutions, such as going to the gym more or losing weight. Most people, however, quit pursuing their resolution by February.  

It’s incredibly difficult to stay motivated, especially when there are countless variables that prevent you from achieving your goal. Here are five tips to help you stay motivated in the new year:

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# 1 Set a SMART goal 

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. This is the most important step in maintaining motivation because it forces you to hold yourself accountable. 

Specific means having a clear goal. For example, a goal of “getting healthy” is too ambiguous because there are too many options that could fall under this category. However, the goal of “running a 10K” is more specific. It clarifies exactly what you want to achieve. 

After setting a goal, you need to track your progress and have an endpoint for your goal. In other words, your goal needs to be measurable. To attain this, your goal should include a number. So setting a goal of running a 10K isn’t enough, you need to include a specific time of when you want to finish it. For example, stating “I want to run a 10K in less than 45 minutes” is a measurable goal. 

Next, your goal must be attainable. For example, if you’ve never run a mile in your life, then obviously running a 10K (6.4 miles), is not realistic. Adjust your goal to ensure you can achieve it while also challenging yourself. 

Furthermore, make sure you have all the resources and time to actually achieve your goal. In other words, ensure your goal is realistic. For example, make sure you have access to a treadmill or road so you can practice running for the 10K. If you don’t have the facilities, then you may need to rethink your goal. 

Lastly, make sure your goal is timely. You need to create a time limit to give yourself an endpoint to achieve your goal. For example, “By the end of a two-month training program, I would like to run a 10K in less than 45 minutes.” Nothing happens overnight, so make sure you give yourself an appropriate amount of time to maximize your training to accomplish your goal. 

By creating a SMART goal, you are working towards something, increasing your overall motivation to complete it. 

Photo by Jesus Angel

#2 Work Out with a Partner 

It is so easy to lose motivation when working out on your own. You may skip a set of crunches or cut your run short because no one is holding you accountable. 

Working out with someone else whether it be a friend, classmate, boyfriend, or girlfriend; however, not only enhances your motivation to actually go to the gym but challenges you to push yourself as you are exercising.  

“It holds me accountable because like, for example, when I agree to go cycling at 7:45 a.m. with one of my friends, then I have to go,” says Elaine Avshman, a senior public health major. “I can’t just leave her there, you know? Because if it was just me, I’d just go back to bed.” 

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#3 Schedule your Workout Times 

It is important to designate a specific time of the day to workout. This will fluctuate from day to day depending on your class schedule and club meetings, but by carving out a definitive time, you hold yourself accountable. 

By setting a reminder on your phone or writing your workout on your calendar, you organize yourself around potential barriers. Eventually, this will become a part of your daily routine and feel as effortless as going to class. 

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#4 Have a Variety in your Training 

Utilizing the same workout four or five times a week can get old real quick. It is important to have a variety to maintain motivation. 

Exploit different equipment, for example, if you’re used to running on the treadmill 24/7, try cycling, rowing, the stair stepper, or swimming to get the same cardiovascular advantages.  Also, implementing different training programs on the same equipment can still create a variety such as executing interval, continuous, fartlek, or circuit training. 

Having a variety decreases your tendency to be bored and keeps you on your toes. It enhances motivation allowing you to explore new options. 

#5 Take Classes 

Exercise classes are a great way to incorporate all of these factors. They provide a set time for you to attend, forcing you to go, a variety of classes and workouts to keep you motivated, they can help you achieve your SMART goal, and you can go with a friend. It’s a win-win-win. 

At UT, RecSports offers TeXercise passes to a variety of classes to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. The pass costs 96 dollars for the whole semester.

“Our friend group bought the TeXercise pass this semester and we’ll post in the group chat whenever we’re working out,” said Dani Gross, a senior exercise science major. “My time at the gym has definitely increased since I got the pass.” 

Hopefully, with these tips, you are motivated to attain your goal in the new year.

Five steps to making your new years resolutions stick

It’s the start of the spring semester and I, like the hundreds of other Longhorns mentally chanting “new year, new me,” find myself looking for any free space in the weight room at Greg Gym. It’s no secret that Gregory is packed during high frequency hours, but the first two weeks of the semester after the New Year are by far the worst. After about a month in, the crowds and myself will inevitably abandon any fitness resolutions and resort to curling up in bed to mindlessly binge another Netflix original series and Gregory will once again be a physical example of survival of the fittest.

New Year’s resolutions are fun to come up with and share with others, but are seldom kept. It turns out that only 8% of people are successful at achieving their resolutions (or at least sticking with it for more than the first month of the year). 

If seriously want to adopt that “New Year, New Me” attitude in 2019, here are the 5 of the most common steps recommended by psychologists to help you stick to your goals. 

1. Find your motivation

Okay, so this one sounds easy but as every procrastinating student knows, digging deep for a morsel of motivation without a pressing deadline breathing down your neck is actually harder than it seems. According to Dr. Michelle Segar, the quality of our motivation directly affects whether our resolutions stick or fade away. Reading this wise advice off of the Internet, the first thing I wondered was how on earth the quality of a motivation is even measured. As it turns out, the reasons we make resolutions in the first place is a major determining factor for whether or not we achieve our resolutions. We need to have a motive behind a resolution that will energize our ambition for a whole year. As Dr. Michelle Segar says, “research shows that our primary reason for initiating a change determines whether we experience high or low-quality motivation.” So before setting a resolution, ask yourself how the change will improve your life and make you a happier person.

2. Break it down

 Having a big resolution like wanting to run a marathon, achieve a certain grade in a class, or expand your social circle is excellent for seeing the big picture and finding your motivation, but at times larger goals can seem impossible to achieve, too far out of reach, and can induce stress which eventually leads us to drop the resolution out of fear of failure. Every single source I meticulously combed through (as a sophisticated student journalist does) said the exact same thing: BREAK. DOWN. YOUR. GOALS. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are your big resolutions  so break them up into smaller, realistic pieces that encourage you. These goals should be realistic, specific, measurable, and time bound. For example, let’s say that in 2019 you want abs (don’t we all?), set smaller goals of achieving daily workouts and making the right food choices. These small decisions will go a long way and keep you motivated by smaller fitness achievements rather than ask yourself why you don’t have a six-pack after only two weeks and then leaving Greg Gym in defeat.

3. Record your progress

Research shows that you are more likely to remember and follow through on tasks when you write them down. Having something in ink physically in front of you makes it harder to ignore. Write down your goals, motivations, and track your progress. A study at the University of Washington found that the more you monitor your performance, the more likely you are to achieve your goals. This frequent feedback makes you feel proud of what you have achieved and thus encourages you to do more. An easy way to do this is to keep a diary or a calendar.

4. Make a monetary commitment

So this is the point in the article where I lose my college audience: spending money. It’s alright to skip out on this one you broke university student, but I’m just letting you know that research shows that making a monetary commitment to a goal helps to motivate you, because if there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s that we hate losing money.

5. Set prevention goals

Many New Year’s resolutions tend to be promotion goals, an aspiration that we hope to achieve. Prevention goals are usually things that we are already responsible for doing and want to change, and are just as important as promotion goals when it comes to making healthy life decisions. Spending more time outside is a promotion goal while spending less time on social media is a prevention goal. Both promotion and prevention goals can work hand in hand by providing you with a reward replacement. For instance, if you want to spend less time on social media because you feel isolated, set a promotion goal of hanging out with friends instead.

So there you have it everyone, the five steps to changing your life. Now go out and have a happy new year.