By now your schedule is set and you are on autopilot in your new routine.
Your classes and living arrangements are no longer issues. You know when to be in bed in order to wake early enough to eat breakfast and prepare for your first class and you have a checklist of the courses remaining before you can graduate.
Good for you. You are demonstrating responsibility and maturity, key components for success.
As important as these attributes are, in many cases they do little to help you discover yourself as an individual. By challenging yourself each semester to perform one action that is out of the ordinary for you, you put yourself in a position where you not only learn something new every 15 weeks, you learn something new about yourself.
Typically we think of resolutions as occurring at the beginning of the calendar year with a targeted date of 365 days to complete. Those resolutions are frequently tough ones, typically taking a year – and sometimes longer – to achieve. By all means, continue to make those resolutions, as they typically involve the bigger hurdles in life. Mini-resolutions, however, can be accomplished in a much shorter timeframe, and be equally as rewarding because they are forcing you out from under your security blanket and into a world of adventure and fun.
For example, by now you are likely familiar with the name Mark Zuckerburg. If not, you are certainly familiar with his creation Facebook. But, did you know the 30-year-old who became a billionaire at age 23, and now has an estimated worth of more than $30 billion by founding the world’s largest social-media site, makes resolutions to test his willpower?
Zuckerburg says his resolutions are designed to take on challenges where the results are sometimes impossible to obtain, yet they never result in failure. Why? Zuckerburg’s philosophy is that even when he does not succeed in accomplishing a resolution, the endeavor alone provides him with an experience he otherwise would not have had.
In 2009, Zuckerburg set out to wear a tie to work each day, instead of a hoodie, in order to show that he was serious about the growth and future of Facebook. In 2010, he studied Mandarin and practiced it by talking with Facebook employees from China, fluent in Mandarin. In 2011, Zuckerburg vowed to only eat meat from animals he slaughtered himself, so he would be more thankful for the food available to him. More recently, he vowed to meet someone new everyday outside of Facebook and to send someone a thank-you note each day.
Although Zuckerburg’s resolutions are in place for a year, think about how much more adventurous your life will become with mini-resolutions, right? You can train for a race; ask the greeters at Walmart how their day is going each time you are in the store; give up food containing corn syrup two days each week (be sure to do a Google search for this one. You will be surprised by the number of foods on the list); send someone a handwritten letter each week; or change a bad habit.
Again, whether you accomplish your resolution is not the point. The point is that you are attempting something new. By attempting new endeavors now, you are learning to overcome the fear of taking on other challenges that will come your way once you leave school and embark upon your career path.
There will be a time when your employer asks you to perform a task that you dread because you feel inadequate about achieving the expected outcome. If, however, you are programming yourself now, while still in school, to seek challenges with courage and confidence, your attitude about the assigned task will be different, right?
Although success is not a guarantee in any endeavor – Zuckerburg nearly became a vegetarian for a year when the resolution for securing his own meat proved to be more difficult than he realized – the experience garnered by the venture matters more than accomplishing the action itself.
You have about twelve weeks left in this semester. Spend a day or two thinking about ideas for mini-resolutions for Fall 2014 and plan to activate one by Friday. I assure you, the experience you receive will be worth it in the end, as all experience always is.