I wrote earlier about Why I’m Not Making new Year’s Resolutions , and the main reason was that it was too long term! I’m still younger and figuring things out so my values and lifestyle change a lot over 12 months! In contrast, I am definitely making goals for the semester. I think this is great because obviously it is short term and more manageable, and also because my lifestyle is generally the same over the semester (my whole schedule works arounds my classes) so I can more easily construct my day/week to meet these goals. Many of my goals are also better suited to a ~4 month macrocycle timeline where as a year would be too long to maintain my approach or even accomplish what it is I want.
Still, I should obviously expect to make modifications because something always happens that I can’t foresee in the beginning. Additionally, there are some goals I’m waiting to define because I’m not sure if my schedule will actually support it. The thing I love about shorter-term goals (vs year-long resolutions) is that they are more flexible and malleable. If I have to modify my goal, I only change a couple months worth of planning instead of a couple semesters of intention! I have no qualms about modifying.
So here they are! I list out a basic goal and loose-strategy for achieving it. I can create SMART guidelines for that later because I think the best approach for defining that is trial-and-error; I’m going to have to “get a feel” for my semester and the reasonability of my goal. If I should modify these goals extensively or even fail to achieve them, I shouldn’t feel bad because that would mean that they either aren’t that valuable to me anymore (so why bother or force it?) or they aren’t suited for my schedule.
(To be honest I’m not sure if I can even call these goals. Maybe aims? Guidelines? Wishful thinking? Whatever, these things work for me and my head. And my constant state of change. Please don’t mistake my adaptability for wishy-washyness!)
- Make All A’s This Semester. I’ve made A’s for the past 2 semesters and since attending university, so I think this is reasonably achievable. I’m taking 3 academic classes (including Physics II) and a dance class. Strategy: This varies considerably with the class, so my general strategy is an obvious approach to attend lectures and take effective notes, turn in homework on-time, etc. This will be clearer after the first week.
- Increase fitness, especially strength and hypertrophy. I think increasing my fitness will be an intention of mine forever. I know this goal seems extremely general, and it basically just asks for me to be active daily. At least adding the strength/hypertrophy component makes it a little more specific, and will have to incorporate some attention to diet. Strategy: I’ve established a baseline for some weight-machine exercises (chest press, lat pulldown, like that) and 10-minute mile (not so fast I know) so I would want to increase the weight/reps and lower my HR. I have specific (but still arbitrary?) numbers in mind, but based on how I structure my workouts into my schedule, I’m not going to zero-in on anything just yet. Extra: a single pull-up, more than 2 push-ups, working with more free-weights, and a straddle/roll-through (flexibility).
- Learn the Jouyou Kanji. I started this last semester but fell off in December for an inconsistent schedule. Learning Japanese (reading specifically right now) is still something I want to do so I’m picking this back up! Because there are 2,136 characters, this is goal will be the easiest to create SMART guidelines for. However, I calculated this to be about 125 Kanji a week or 25/weekday. I think this is a lot for a subject that isn’t a college class (for me) so I very much anticipate this to get modified based on how difficult they get and how much I remember from last semester. Strategy: Using Anki for daily review and weekday learning! I recall the review sessions lasting ~20 minutes?. Extra: Review the Kana (using Memrise, another SRS app) daily with a goal of hitting a 30-day streak.
- Italian. While learning Italian is more of a priority than learning Japanese, I am not sure how to define this goal. Have a 20-minute conversation, or learn 2000 new vocabulary, or read a book? Speaking is a focus, and that incorporates grammar and vocab. Whatever my goal is, I don’t really have a plan or layout right not. Additionally, my desire to learn is very dependent on my affinity for the people and culture of the language. Strategy: Use Memrise and Duolingo and Coffee Break Italian, weekly research to help me understand rules, and practicing more with my Italian friend(s).
I create these with the intention to modify them to adapt to my situation, and that is why they have to be so general. If/when my life gets more structured and my schedule gets established, my goals and plans for reaching them can also become solidified.
This semester is already looking crazy (getting cut-off to some extent, I’m not even sure where I’m going to live next month!), so I’m going to wait before I do any crazy planning. Still, I think it’s good to have an idea now of what I want to have accomplished by the middle of May.
Thanks for reading!