By RADHA SAIKIA
I was having coffee with my supervisor at one of our regular check-ins, and he asked me a series of questions that I hadn’t considered before. I won’t bore you with the specifics, but here’s a question for you:
Do you watch Netflix?
(I hope the answer is yes, because this entire piece of writing is based on that premise.)
My follow-up question is this: Do you watch Netflix as part of a routine (while eating meals, for a little bit after coming home from a long day) or do you do it more as a target (“I gotta finish this movie by the end of the day”, “Every month I watch 1 TV show”)?
Most people answer with the former. Netflix, like other activities we “waste” our time with, are all part of our routine. Social media is another great example – we scroll through our feeds when in the toilet, on the train or bus, as soon as we wake up, or before we go to bed. Some of these might be actually harmful for our bodies but for reasons beyond us we STILL find it easier to open the Facebook app or start a new Netflix series rather than, I dunno, study?? work on the Stretch project? Do adult things???
Here’s ONE reason: It’s because we only set targets for our other goals rather than incorporate them into our routine. Setting targets is still important because you want to be able to hit milestones & check things off a list, but you are more likely to do them if you build a habit.
Here’s an example:
Goal: Read 1 book a month.
With a target set out like this, you’re gonna find yourself struggling at the end of the month to finish your book. It’s just like how you end up cramming for your finals. Here’s something better:
Goal: Read 1 book a month
- Read on the train to and from work everyday
- Read for 15 minutes everyday on my coffee break
- Read while I’m taking a dump
When you set out your goals in this format, it is easier to digest and helps form a habit. This way, you’ll be reaching to grab a book instead of your phone when you enter those triggering environments (whether that’s the train, coffee shop, or the bathroom).
Try doing this with your Stretch experience – break it down into simple, manageable chunks that you can tackle everyday. This way you won’t end up spending 10 hours a day on the last month of your stretch.. I assure you that is a very undesirable situation that you want to avoid at all costs.
Some other tips (that you may already have heard of) are..
- Write down your goals. You’re, like, x% more likely to accomplish them if you do.
- Make SMART goals! Here’s what that means.
- Here’s a goal setting cheat sheet that you MIGHT find useful.
Going back to my conversation with my supervisor, I was asked several questions relating to my personal goals that led me to start thinking about this topic. Without their prompting & coaching, I would not have arrived at this point in my goal-setting career. My other point is this – make use of the mentor team! Coaching is truly a hot commodity & when it’s being offered to you on a silver platter, there is no good reason to say no. Don’t worry if you have no idea what you’re doing – as long as you know you’re struggling with something, you can ask for help.