April 22, 2013, 8:00 am
Do you ever promise yourself that you’ll do something, only to let it slide?
Many of us have good intentions that we don’t act upon.
One way to clarify your commitments and to take action towards your important goals is to involve other people.
Find an Accountability Partner or Community
A good accountability partner should be able to ask you clarifying questions, offer you encouragement and support, and hold you to your commitments. Depending on your personality type and the kinds of goals you want to work towards, you may want a partner who is primarily supportive or one who will be more firm with you if you start to back away from your commitments.
Several online communities exist to help motivate and track personal goals. 43 Things has been active for several years and allows you to see the goals that others have set and comment on them to provide support and advice….
February 25, 2013, 11:00 am
Is there something you know you want to start doing, but you just can’t seem to begin? Whether it’s beginning a new piece of writing or establishing a daily workout routine, sometimes all the rational plans, checklists, and arguments in the world won’t be enough to get you going.
Maybe you know you need to go to the gym, but you never seem to make the time for it. Or you tell yourself that you will start writing that article when you have three hours free, or when your desk is organized, or after you’ve read just one more source. You fully intend to make a big effort, but then you don’t follow through.
Behavioral psychologist Robert Maurer suggests that when we find ourselves stuck, sometimes taking a teeny, tiny step is the best strategy. In One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, he applies the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement initially developed in the …
October 4, 2012, 8:00 am
This semester, I’m in an enviable position. I get to take courses I’m really enjoying, simply because I want to learn what’s being taught in them. There’s no need for me to be overly concerned with grades. How well I do or don’t do has no direct bearing on my future. I’m not applying to a doctoral program. I’m not applying to medical school. There’s no one I need to impress with a “perfect” transcript.
That leaves me free to approach grades the way, ideally, I think they ought to be approached. I’m enrolled in particular courses because I want to learn particular things. To accomplish that, I need to attend class, do the work, and ask questions as appropriate—not because I’m looking to earn a particular grade, but because I want to learn. As the semester progresses, I’ll surely have a sense of how well things are going. What grades do is help me to see…
October 3, 2011, 11:00 am
If there’s something you’d like to do better, or more consistently, then you probably should measure it. That simple insight powers lots of different apps, services, and guidelines that we’ve written about on ProfHacker.
But sometimes–and I know this will shock you–sometimes one forgets. Or you don’t really want an infinitely extensible database/visualization engine that allows you to search tracked data 50 ways from Sunday while serendipitously finding relevant songs in iTunes. Sometimes, what you really need is someone to ask you, “Hey, did you read those 50 pages today?” (Or, “did you write something in public today,” “how much water did you drink,” “did you practice your Mandarin today,” or “did you take your dog to the park,” or whatever.)
And what would *really* be nice if you weren’t being asked by an actual person, who might sound tired or cranky–and thus implicitly…
November 11, 2010, 11:00 am
A little more than two months ago, I did something that was relatively uncommon for me: I decided to get on the scale at the gym. I’ve been a regular at our local YMCA for almost six years (they offer free child care during workouts!!), but I haven’t often wanted to get on the scale. While I loved the opportunity to nurture the mind-body connection that came with regular workouts, it just wasn’t life affirming to be reminded that my weight hadn’t changed all that much. But this time, I was surprised to discover that I was 5-6 pounds lighter than I expected to be. What’s more, I found myself tantalizingly close to the numbers that I wanted to see on the scale. With that as an incentive, I decided that I was going to make a concerted effort to lose weight for the first time in my life and see if I could eliminate those last five pounds.
I’m pleased to report that last week I met my…