My year has started, and I have kicked it off by exploring my goals for the year. In this post I encourage you to do the same thing. Reading time, 2.5 minutes.
Granted, that is an uninteresting personnel update, given that many staff and students are already back at Flinders doing their 2023 thang. But as far as eMental Health related stuff goes, it means we’re all systems go for 2023.
I’m mostly refreshed, after a break consisting of a lot of walking, reading, writing, watching TV, gardening, online shopping and deep psychological battles with chocolate.
I’m also keen. I spent a chunk of my holiday break thinking about what I wanted to achieve for 2023. I got my Learning Journal set up and identified what I want to learn this year. In short, I want to gain knowledge in the following areas:
- Psychological tools for wellbeing and performance
- Leadership and management
- Different cultural perspectives on wellbeing and work
- Current views on the diagnosis and management of different mental disorders
- The psychology of relationships
- Teaching theory and practice
Where appropriate, I will share what I am learning here on the blog if I think it might help you on your wellbeing/performance path. I’ll also pop links on Twitter if you are on that trainwreck of a platform.
Sitting down this morning, I resisted the temptation to start my first day by processing emails.
Instead, I set my intentions for the year by writing a professional goals list. It probably won’t mean much to you but you can view my goals list here. It is a list of the things that I want to get done this year at Flinders.
I encourage you to do the same thing.
It might involve topics you are really interested to learn, grade levels you’d like to achieve, timelines on when you’d like to get stuff done, extra-curricular activities you’d like to engage in.
If you are a returning student (welcome back!), consider the previous year and what went well and what didn’t go so well. Base your goals around building on previous successes and/or implementing fixes for problems/ challenges you encountered.
If you are just starting out (welcome to Flinders!) and not really sure yet about how it’s all going to work, focus your goals on things like how much time you’ll spend on campus, how many friends you might try to make, making sure you ask at least 1 question in each tutorial, building a nice study space, getting to know the campus – those sorts of things.
I recommend you write your goals down ✍🏼 It helps both in the formulation of those goals, but also as a way of reminding yourself throughout the year. You could turn the document in which you write your goals as a bit of a journal/checklist of when you achieve them.
How far you take the goal setting is up to you. It is possible to disappear down the rabbit-hold of goal setting theory and practice. But here are some things that I consider when setting goals.
Goals x domain of life
I mostly set goals in relation to my work and my health but it’s possible to set goals for all aspects of life: finances, personal growth, social life, spirituality, relationships, lifestyle, health, career etc. You’ll need to be mindful not to overload yourself with goals, but sometimes setting them across multiple domains helps you see inter-related goals. For example, some things I do for my health (meditation) are also good for my work (teaching others about meditation).
Type of goals
You can set outcome or performance goals that describe specific things that you want to happen – “I want to get a credit average across my topics” “I want to pass all my topics this year” “I want to write the introduction chapter to my thesis”. Outcome/performance goals are precise about the desired end-point.
You can also write process goals which describe practices/processes you’d like to put in place that move you towards desired outcomes – “I will dedicate 2 hours per day, separate from lectures, for study” “I will do some kind of exercise on at least 3 days per week”. It can be very useful to pair outcome goals with process goals. For example, to finish that chapter of your thesis (outcome goal) you’ll likely need to allocate a certain amount of time each day to writing it (process goal).
Finally, you can write values-based goals which are less about specific outcomes and more about describing themes for how you’d like to live your life – “I want to be kind to people” “I want to be curious about trying new things”. Values-based goals can be paired with outcome and process goals. For example, ‘I want to be kind to people’ could be paired with ‘I will send a fun message to each of my friends, each day”.
How specific each of your goals is will depend on how much relevant information you have to hand and how well you’ve thought it through. Some of my goals are specific (e.g. “get GVE paper published”) whilst others are kinda vague (e.g. “Wellbeing Action Plan”). The vague ones I will refine over the course of the year as I gather more information and clarity. In this way, I view my goals document as a constant ‘work-in-progress’.
Often, a vague or distant goal may require a number of sub-goals to guide you along the way. These can be conceptualised as steps or stages along the way to the bigger goal. For example, to get a paper published I need to:
- write the actual paper
- collate and action feedback and edits from co-authors
- seek out a relevant journal
- format the paper to the journal requirements
- respond to reviewers
- and so on….
The more specific/precise a goal is articulated, the more likely it is you will follow through. It is safe to assume that your initial goal list will require further detail. That is why it is important to revisit a goal list regularly (e.g. weekly).
Anyway – it is good to be back and I look forward to sharing more wellbeing/performance tips throughout the year.
2023 – let’s go.