By: Sammy Harris
Hello everyone!! It is so bittersweet that I am writing my final ~mind food~ piece for the semester. As I reflect on the last three months, I am incredibly thankful for the creative outlets that I have maintained despite the circumstances: writing bi-weekly for GreenHawks Media has been a prominent one of mine, which is a ~quarantine sanity~ activity for me in it itself!
As many of you are probably in the same place as me, crammed with group projects and exams (I simply don’t think teachers remember this semester is condensed) I want to keep this short, sweet, and INTENTIONAL! I promise it’ll be a perfect study break for your mind & body.
To start off, for me personally, going home usually evokes a feeling of security and consistency, but with everything shifting again in terms of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders (as it should nonetheless!) I find myself feeling rather anxious, instead, of the next couple of winter months at home with little to do. Therefore, I have decided that I want to focus on the things that I can control, which all surround being mindful of and responding to MY mental health’s needs (as I wrote about a couple of weeks ago!). To put this into clearer terms for myself and all of you, I brainstormed and converged on ten short-term goals that I intend to focus on over the next two months. I wanted to share these as my final piece because, in the next week or so, most of you guys too will begin a period of time where your anxiety and stress often associated with school fades away. Instead, you’ll have the opportunity to focus on what stabilizes YOUR mental health and makes you content with the crazy thing we call life.
Before I go into my specific goals, though, I want to share some helpful tips for goal-setting that I have acquired over the years, from asking google search too many times why I keep failing my new year’s resolutions.
- By focusing on making goals short-term and incremental versus large and ambitious we are way more likely to achieve the long-term goal by reaching a milestone and being motivated by the next one. It instills a consistent hope and confidence in ourselves, versus giving up because achievement seems at such a distance.
- Short-term goals = measurable, relevant, timely, simple
- Discuss your goals with a close friend or family member, in order to keep yourself accountable and motivated; they can either join you in this journey by creating goals for themselves that they discuss with you, or by simply being a ‘witness’ that is aware of this goal you are working towards.
- Keep track of your goals; this can be done through the relationships previously discussed, personally journaling (bullet journal), or using any of the goal tracking apps (Fabulous is a really popular one). I am biased towards journaling, but one of my favorite components to this type of tracking is reflecting on each day or week throughout your journey. Introspection is essential to progress and growth; I have genuinely never learned more about myself than I have through reflecting, even if it is on something as simple as my Monday.
- Failures do not exist; goals are simply targets, so they are not all-or-nothing. Complete success is not the point of goal-setting because even if you have setbacks, or don’t fully meet your goal in the time you intended, you are mindful of what your mental health needs and you are growing. THAT is what is important. In fact, I love the statement that setbacks are at least, if not more, as important than gains.
The list goes on for goal-setting advice and conversation across the web, and while I highly encourage you to gain as much insight and advice as you can. The best way to learn what works for you is by trial-and-error: “The more times you fall off and get back on, the greater your chances of turning your short-term goal into a long-term achievement.”
With that said, here are my goals that I have (as of right now!) for the near future, and I cannot wait to get started on them:
- Journal at least 5 days a week, and try different journaling prompts to see what works and what doesn’t for me
- Exercise at least 5 times each week
- Chat with at least 1 person each day outside of your house (via FaceTime, phone call, zoom, etc.)
- Get a daily morning routine down that includes the following: lemon water, movement, and a phoneless activity (reading, journaling)
- Watch both a documentary and regular movie each week
- Avoid all processed/junk foods during the week, and try to get fruits and vegetables in everyday
- Partake in a mindful activity 3 times a week at least: breathing exercise, meditation, yoga
- Go on at least 2 trips to places I have never been to before
- Cook dinner for the family twice a week (try vegan recipes!)
- Read 3 books total over quarantine
Please feel free to reach out to me (Via my Instagram) and/or GreenHawks Media with any suggestions, requests, questions, etc.). I cannot wait to keep sharing my love for intentional cooking/eating, in addition to tips & tricks for our mental health during the current insanity – we are in this together & I can be your buddy when you need or want one!!!
Photos courtesy of Sammy Harris