The turn of the calendar offers an important reminder that the time we have to achieve our goals is limited. Like a hot air balloon, if we're going to soar higher, we’ll have to drop a few sandbags.
We have to make space for the things we want.
Between college, work, family, and social life, college students have a lot going on. Challenges in these areas will undoubtedly come up for all college students, but more complex and demanding situations can arise for first generation college students.
We have to be prepared for whatever life throws our way.
Excess baggage works against your ambitions. It can be found in our physical things, environment, habits, and even people close to us. It’s that pile of clutter on your bedroom floor, your poor habit of oversleeping your alarm clock six days out of seven, and that friend or family member who discourages you from achieving your goals.
Let go in your own way.
Getting rid of excess baggage looks different for different situations. At times, it can be more figurative than literal. That family member who always has something negative to say will always be family, but you have the power to decide whether or not you’ll let it affect you emotionally. The type of baggage you carry with you will also affect how you’re able to move on. For example, a poor habit of waking up late may respond well to a new alarm clock, determination and a habit tracker, while letting go of other habits or feelings can be a lifelong process and may even require the help of a therapist.
Start fresh in 2018 by asking,
what can i let go of right now?
Let go of dead weight and position yourself to achieve your goals with these 3 steps -
STEP 1: SET YOUR COMPASS.
Prepare to detox by visualizing your goals and writing them down. Keep things simple by honing your goals down to your top 3-5 priorities for the year, then put a huge star next to the one that’s most important to you. Take some time to reflect on your goals. Why are they important to you? What does your ideal future look like? How do you feel?
STEP 2: EVALUATE WHAT'S HELPING YOU AND WHAT'S HURTING YOU.
Uncover roadblocks that might get in the way of your aspirations. For items within each category listed below, ask two questions: (1) Will this help me achieve my goals? (2) Will this be present in the life of my dreams?
Clothes, books, papers, knick-knacks, promotional items, photos, office supplies, and the list goes on. Keep what you use, purge what you don’t. The real test? Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, suggests you only keep things that spark joy. However, don’t throw away your textbook for this semester’s Anthropology class just because it doesn’t bring you joy! Things that serve a function and help you achieve your goals should be kept… until the last day of class :)
Think about your home environment and how it makes you feel. Consider your bedroom, workspace, kitchen, living room, bathroom, and outdoor areas. How do you want to feel in those settings, and what can you change to make them better? Are you oversleeping because your curtains are black? Upgrade to a lighter set that lets the morning sunlight in. Does your roommate play loud music late at night? Talk with them about it. Is that pile of clutter present in the life of your dreams? Say farewell.
Your habits build your life. Whether or not you’re successful in reaching your goals depends on your habits. What do your daily habits look like right now, from the moment you wake up to the second you fall asleep? What’s going well or not going well? What can you do (or not do) everyday that will set you up for success? Don’t forget to take care of yourself by building in habits like eating well, exercising, and getting 8+ hours of sleep. Looking for a way to hold yourself accountable? Download a habit tracker app or habit tracker PDF.
WORK / JOB
Will your current job help you achieve your goals? Sometimes a job is functional, where the money is a great fit but the work doesn’t align with your future career. Other times, the skills you gain outpace compensation by a long shot. Many people want the perfect fit between money and a job they love, but here’s a reality check - it’s a long-term goal that you’ll spend much of your career working toward. You’ll likely compromise on money and experience at different points throughout your life. Not getting either? It might be time to start looking into other options.
Warm-up’s over. Hands down, this category is the most important but can be the most difficult to tackle, especially when it comes to family and friends. Is anyone in your life continuously passive aggressive, negative, or mean? Do they only act in their self-interest? You won’t be able to flourish if you give them real estate in your head. If it’s a friend, you might reconsider the relationship. If it’s a family member you love, consider where they’re coming from. Listen. You’ll probably find that they have unresolved pain, fear, or insecurity in their own life. Once you understand their perspective, you’ll be better positioned to create some emotional distance. Strengthen your support network by surrounding yourself with people who are supportive of you and your life goals.
Note: Letting go of relationships can be even harder if you don’t have a strong base of people to begin with. If you keep following your goals, trying new things, and putting yourself out there, you’ll find your people. Prepare now by making a list of the qualities you’re looking for in friends. This will help you subconsciously keep an eye out for new people who meet your criteria.
STEP 3: LOVE, ACCEPT, AND LET IT GO.
Love the people and things that have helped you get this far. Take the time to accept that circumstances change. Let go of the things that no longer serve you. Make the physical, mental, and emotional space you need to grow so you can set yourself up for success. No one else is going to do it for you.
Don’t wait until next January to run through this process again! Make an appointment to have a quarterly or biannual meeting with yourself to evaluate what’s helping you and what’s hurting you. Things change. Interests change. Ambitions change. Life circumstances change.
Remember to stay in the present. It’s easy to get caught up in the exciting future you have planned, but don’t forget to be grateful for where you are now. Life is a journey. By the time you “arrive,” you may not even realize it; you’ll be working on even loftier goals :)
CEO, Propeller Collective