One quiet Friday afternoon, I decided to call up a good friend from home while I was winding down from the long week. Among the common catching up, we got into a long discussion about the changes he wants to make in his life. Like many of us, he was struggling to find direction, and in general was unhappy. He wanted to make changes, but change rarely comes easy.
My only advice was to stop focusing on the large and overwhelming goals, and put effort in the smaller ones. The view of the horizon can be just as scary as it is beautiful. I told him to set a goal a day, and check it off the list. It may be little, and seem irrelevant, but at least it is something. Even if the steps are small, and the direction is unclear, at least you are moving somewhere.
Life is overwhelming, especially in college we tend to get caught up in the weeks and months to come, in the projects, internships, relationships, and future we chase after. In that chaotic cloud I think it is imperative to focus on today. Large goals are important, but the only way to scale long distances is with many small steps.
If you find the stress of classes (or even just life in general) overwhelming, just take it one piece at a time.
Set small goals to better yourself. If you want to be more social, set a goal to talk to one new person a day. If you didn’t do as well as you wanted on that calculus exam, start studying a section a day to prepare for the next one.
It is important to plan for the future, but the only way we get there is by living out our days in the present.
Progress often needs structure, so be sure to write these goals down. That can be on anything — a google doc, journal or wherever else you can record it. Writing it down makes it real, and that adds a certain accountability on our part to get it done. Phone a friend to keep you accountable and work together to make progress.
With the upcoming finals week and many other stressors, I encourage to take a step back and relax. Focus yourself on completing one thing, one task, one goal, and get it done. To quote Rocky Balboa, “One step at a time. One punch at a time. One round at a time”.