Monthly Review: Starting new routines

So now that we are over and done with January how have you fared so far in terms of goals and resolutions? I was having a conversation with one of my lecturers recently about new years resolutions and though many bicker over what to call them, that is not the point of contention really. You can call them what you wish, changing the name won’t change whether you actually stick to them or not, your approach to them is the main issue. My lecturer noted how achieving goals without breaking them down into smaller more realistic and achievable goals is damn near impossible. For example, when you start University/College, you know the main goal is to leave the institution with a degree or some kind of qualification. But they don’t throw you in and expect you to randomly do work and one day emerge with your qualification. They break it down into smaller achievable goals. So get a degree becomes:

  • Attend classes
  • Do your assigned work
  • Write a test
  • Study and write your exam
  • Semester completed.

And the cycle continues for each semester, each course building on the last and adding to your knowledge in your given field until you have your degree. You can use the same approach for your resolutions; break them down into smaller realistic goals. So losing weight becomes:

  • Start and commit to an exercise routine
  • Increase intensity of work out every month
  • Slowly replace unhealthy eating habits with healthy ones
  • Check weight lost at the end of a defined period (every 2 weeks, every month etc)

If you keep at these eventually you will achieve the bigger goal which is to lose weight. You will also feel more motivated if you can see progress and this method allows you to do that. If you have an exercise chart that keeps track of how often you’re working out, you can see the progress and that will encourage you to continue. Personally I listed the following “goals” for this year:

  1. Exercise regularly
  2. Obtain a drivers license (yes I know, looooooong overdue)
  3. Improve time management skills
  4. Read more
  5. Start planning for my life after obtaining my Masters degree
  6. Be more financially aware
  7. Be more organized

For January& February my small realistic goals that will enable me achieve the bigger goals were as follows:

  1. Get into a simple exercise routine and build up your stamina: So far so good! I have managed to maintain a routine of jogging at least 3 times a week and in the coming month I want to add another form of exercise to do once or twice a week to break the monotony e.g swimming or hill climbing. Luckily there’s a 11km run being held in April here that I’m also working towards.
  2. Start driving lessons: This is highly dependent on my financial situation however I hope to start soon.
  3. Start being disciplined: In the profound words of South Park’s Cartman imitating a Chinese man; “I racka disciprine”. My biggest issue with time is my inability to force myself to do something because it has to be done regardless of whether I want to do it or not. I usually procrastinate using my desire to do a task as my criteria for procrastination; In other words I’m lazy. So step one is forcing myself to just do the task already. My exercise routine is helping me out with that. On days when I don’t want to wake up to jog, I have to force myself to do so. In the end I feel better when I’ve accomplished the task.
  4. Get a damn book! : I did it, I walked into the library and borrowed a book 🙂 Now I need to allocate reading time to do it because if I don’t I’ll end up putting it on the shelf and watching movies instead. I used to read regularly when I was younger, however not as often as my peers and over the years leisure reading has gradually featured less and less in my life. I prefer watching movies and I can watch almost anything really, I love a good movie.
  5. Look into what area you want to work in and find out what you need to do to get there: This begins with my internship this coming winter. I already have an organisation in mind and the sucking up shall begin soon.
  6. Acquire the skill of regularly planning for your money: Budgets are the bane of my existence. I make them and then don’t stick to them. Or I’ll sort of follow them until something throws a spanner into the mix then all hell breaks loose. I have improved immensely these past few weeks but there is still a long way to go.
  7. Make the to do list your bible and organize music collection on your laptop: I make to do lists with the fervor of an insane person, it is my raison d’etre! Lol. However I forget about them every few days and revert to my memory which is not as efficient as a list. How many times have I put an assignment on my to do list in good time, only to ignore the list then see it a day before the assignment is due? Ridiculous. And my virtual life needs organizing too, starting with my mammoth music collection.

So January and February are all about routine routine routine. Once I fall into the routine, the rest will be easier to deal with. Things become part of your fabric once you do them without having to think about it. Then from there, you can raise the bar. Do your monthly review and see how you’re getting along. May the force be with us all 🙂


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