Wednesday, January 25, 2017

6 Ways to Stay Out of the January Slump!

I was sitting in class today and realized that it's already week four of my university's quarter. Being on the quarter system means that everything moves so quickly, but the fact that it's already week four is so scary. Surprisingly, I have found myself to be really motivated this term, which can be hard during winter quarter since it starts out in January, the low point after the high of the holiday season. I'm actually really enjoying my classes so far, so that's probably a huge part of it.

Every year, though, it seems like I find it harder to stay organized and motivated as January is coming to an end. The month starts out great after relaxing during the holidays, and you feel the freshness of the new year. Towards the end of the month, however, you start to feel yourself tire out from all of the hard work of staying motivated, and it's super easy to fall into the trap of letting yourself slide back into old habits, and not stay as organized. I hope that isn't happening for you, but if it is, I thought I would put together a little guide on how to stay out of the "January Slump," or get out of it if you find yourself there!

1. Exercise at least 3-5 times a week, or make sure to move a little extra each day.
I find that when I stick to my exercise routine, I'm more motivated in the rest of my life. Getting tasks done is easier because I have more energy, and the endorphins from working out really do help. If exercising isn't really your thing, that's totally fine! Do lighter activities like stretching-based yoga, walking, biking, or light swimming. You can even just make sure that you stand up throughout the day if you're stuck at a desk, and do some simple stretches. This helps your blood to keep flowing, which is what you want in order to stay energized and motivated.

2. Fuel your body with healthy foods.
After the holidays, it's easy to crave healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, but after a couple of weeks of an especially green diet, your body can go back to wanting sweet things. Moderation is key here, and it's important to not slack off and fill your body with junk again. Sure, you can definitely have a small bowl of ice cream a couple of times a week, but make sure you're giving your body lots of healthy food to keep energy levels high! There's so many healthy recipes out there that are also really yummy, so if you need some inspiration, go to Pinterest! Macro-bowls are a huge trend right now, and they're so great because not only are they super healthy and filled with great nutritional value, but they're also really hearty and use things like sweet potatoes, brown rice, and quinoa to fill you up.

3. Make sure to use your planner.
This is a great tip if you're in school, and tend to forget about assignments as soon as you leave the classroom (ahem, I'm pointing a big finger at myself on this one). Whenever my professors or TA's mention an assignment in class, I make a point to take out my planner and write it down then and there. This gives me no excuse to forget about it later, and helps me get everything done on time. I also like to write down any big assignments I know will be due throughout the quarter, like huge papers, at the beginning of the term, so I have a heads up weeks in advance.

4. Write down your goals for every week.
I got into the habit of doing this last year, and it helps so much. I didn't know how useful it would be, but it forces me to look at the week in a more wholesome way, and helps me get into the mindset of getting tasks done. Creating little boxes to tick off is also a super easy way to motivate yourself if you're anything like me, because the satisfaction of marking something off is ridiculously pleasing. Doing this in the beginning of the week is also a really great way to start it out by knowing the things you need to get done, so you aren't rushed on Friday trying to scramble a ton of assignments and other miscellaneous tasks together.

5. Change up your living space.
This can be as simple as moving your bed into a different part of your room, or putting up some new artwork on the walls. Changing up the spaces your in everyday and see multiple times a day can be a really great way to inspire yourself. I don't know what it is about moving things around, but I'm always so satisfied afterwards. It keeps my creative juices flowing and motivates me to get other things done in my life. It's also exciting to come home to a different space, and see how it inspires you in different ways.

6. Clean and organize your living space.
This sounds stupidly simple, but cleaning up your space can de-stress and motivate yourself at the same time. Whenever I'm super stressed and feel like I'm in a slump, cleaning perks me up and motivates me to get other tasks done. There's just something super refreshing about cleaning up your living space that motivates you in other aspects of your life. I also just feel better when I know my apartment is clean, and it's super relaxing to come home and be able to unwind in an organized space. Maybe I'm just crazy, but cleaning is one of the best forms of therapy for me.

Alright, well there are six different ways of staying out of the January slump, and how to motivate yourself if you're already there! Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm definitely going to go and clean my bathroom and organize my desk, which will hopefully motivate me to get all of my class readings done for the week...

How do you stay motivated?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day! :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How to Achieve Your 2017 Goals!

Happy 2017!

With all New Years come goals and resolutions that we try our hardest to achieve, but might forget about them after about a month. I'm so guilty of this, as I've tried to set goals for myself in the past, and easily forgotten about them once I start getting busy with the new year.

Last year I felt like I did a pretty good job about actually achieve my goals and holding myself accountable to them, so I thought I would share some tips with you on how to do the same! I'm no life expert - no one is except maybe Oprah - so of course take these tips and apply them how they would best fit your life. No one is the same so different things work for different people! These are just some things that really seemed to work for me.

Also, if you would like, here is the video I made about this same thing on my channel!

1. Write down your goals.
This may seem obvious, but writing down your goals in a place that you'll see them often (i.e. a planner, or journal you use a lot) will keep reminding you of them. Constant exposure to them will also inspire you to actually achieve them, since it's so satisfying to check them off! I don't know about you, but that is seriously one of the best feelings for me. Whenever I make a to-do list, I live for getting all of the tasks done so I can check them all off. The same feeling definitely applies to bigger goals for the year, especially because you'll feel even more satisfied once you achieve something greater than getting done a chore list you made for yourself. I usually try and write down my goals in my general goal journal, just on a page of their own that is highlighted and definitely distinct from the other pages. This helps me so much because I'm constantly reminded of them, and there's no way that I could forget them!

2. Visualize your goals.
Once you have figured out and written down your goals, visualize yourself achieving them. Visualization is something that has been proven to work, because you feel that much more comfortable and confident in doing something or getting it done. I started doing this when I swam and danced, and it helped me immensely. I knew I could do the action because I had imagined myself succeeding it over and over - when the time came to do it in real life, I knew I could get it done! The same really goes for goals, especially larger ones. If you think about yourself having gotten all of these goals done at the end of the year, you'll be really motivated to make that possibility a reality. If you have a goal that has to do with changing something about yourself, like being more outgoing, visualize yourself talking to more people in situations that usually make you uncomfortable. When the time comes to actually do it, you'll feel a lot better a out the whole situation, and achieving that goal will be that much easier.

3. Start with small goals.
It can be really easy to want to set huge goals right at the beginning of the new year if you are really hoping for a change, but be careful not to get too ahead of yourself. I'm not saying to limit yourself - if you want to set those goals then go for it! But if you know they'll end up being too big for you to achieve all at once, start smaller in the beginning of the year and work your way up throughout the rest of the year. If you're wanting to get in better shape, don't start by making a goal to workout every single day for an hour if you haven't been doing so. Start by motivating yourself to workout one more day a week, or maybe 15 minutes longer a day. Starting with these smaller goals will help you build on them throughout the year, and you also won't get disappointed when you can't get these unrealistic goals done, or are really struggling with them. This isn't an excuse to not push yourself, though; on the contrary, this will help you actually achieve more because the small goals will snowball on themselves, and by the end of the year, you'll realize just how much you've gotten done!

4. Check in with yourself.
This is something that is super important for goals. I remember in elementary schools my teachers would have the class set individual goals, write them down on paper, and a couple of months later we would have to read the goals again and see how we were doing. At the time we all thought it was extremely pointless, but looking back, I realized that this just motivated us further to get these goals done. Had we not been shown them again, we probably wouldn't have been so inspired to get them done, or make a change. Checking in with your 2017 goals about halfway through the year in June will help you see how they're going, if you need to adjust goals, if you need to work harder, or just simply remind you of what they were in the first place. A halfway point check in is great timing, because you still have six months to achieve your goals.

5. Keep yourself accountable.
Keeping yourself accountable is really similar to checking in with yourself, but it also has to do with keeping yourself motivated throughout the year. Don't let yourself slack off if a goal is hard, instead try your hardest to get it done. That can be easy to say, but your mind is a really powerful thing. Keep thinking of the end result, and the effort you're putting in won't seem as difficult. It can be so easy to forget about a goal or give up, but you'll be so much happier in the end if you stick it out.

Alright, well there are five tips on how to achieve your 2017 goals! I'm so excited to see what this new year has to offer, and let's hope that it's a lot better than 2016!

I wish you the best of luck!