Reflecting on Your Goals for This Semester
Category : PROspective
At the very beginning of this semester, Emory’s Office of Health Promotion shared some advice with us regarding habits to develop in order to have the most successful semester possible. Now that our time on campus this semester is coming to an end and we are nearing finals, it is time to reflect on our personal progress. Did you accomplish the goals you intended to accomplish this year? Have your study habits been working for you, or are there ways you can improve? There is still time to become aware of any room that you have for improvement and end your semester on a positive note. Return to this article from a few months ago as finals begin.
Written by Kaylan Ware
After being away from your studies for the summer, it can be difficult to reestablish a routine that works for you. Incorporating daily practices that boost your mood and productivity early in the semester can increase your chances of developing good habits. Start by considering what’s important to you this school year, then try using these strategies to improve your productivity, balance, and well-being.
- Set intentions. Identify your values and goals this year. This does not have to be school related. Let’s say you want to learn a new skill or spend more time with friends. Decide on actionable steps to attain your intentions and reinforce your intentions daily by reflecting on them. It helps to write your intentions down and place them somewhere you’re likely to look.
Here’s an example of an intention: “This school year, I want to engage in at least three co- curricular activities.”
- Set daily goals. Either in the morning or the night before, reflect on all you want to get done in your day. Make a list and check items off as you complete them. Include smaller tasks like washing clothes and larger, more time-consuming tasks like finishing a presentation for class. This helps you maintain a realistic schedule for your day, giving you an idea of the amount of time you will dedicate to certain tasks and how much free time you may have.
- Make sleep a priority. A poor sleep schedule can affect your mood, ability to cope with stress, your ability to concentrate and more. To begin prioritizing sleep, it would help to establish a regular sleep schedule and create a bedtime routine. Consider what your busiest day looks like and think about how many hours of sleep you’d like to get. Aim for 7-9 hours if possible. Having a bedtime routine may include showering, reading a book or meditating. Your routine can help relax your body and mind before bed. Be sure to limit screen time, too!
- Practice mindfulness. There are so many ways to practice mindfulness. Deep breathing, yoga, coloring, and journaling are all activities where mindful strategies are present. Mindfulness activities can help increase emotional awareness and decrease stress and anxiety. Add mindful moments throughout your week by focusing on your breath, observing your thoughts, listening actively, and observing your surroundings using all five senses.
- Take a break. It can be overwhelming to consider pausing when you have assignments piling up and due dates approaching, but it is important to utilize breaks to rest and take care of yourself to enhance focus and performance. Build breaks into your schedule to rest and reset so you can tackle your next tasks reenergized. If you need help deciding what to do during a 30-second break or even an hour-long break, visit Campus Life’s Take a Break webpage for inspiration and resources.
Remember to be intentional about incorporating these strategies and practices into your everyday life. Sometimes it can be difficult to stick with an activity long enough to make it a habit. Try finding an accountability partner – a friend, classmate, or mentor – that will check-in and help motivate you to achieve your goals.
Also, check out the Office of Health Promotion’s Instagram page (@EmoryOHP) for wellness tips and programs!
Kaylan Ware is a 2nd year Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences student at Rollins with interests in health communication, health equity, and chronic disease prevention. She works as the Health Communications Graduate Assistant in Emory’s Office of Health Promotion.