What would you do with an extra hour in your day?

Fall UVAWe all have a list of things we’d like to start doing someday. Someday, I’ll start eating healthier. Someday, I’ll travel the world. Someday, I’ll write a novel. Well, fall Daylight Saving Time is the perfect day of the year to start making one of those someday goals a reality, because you get the gift of one extra hour.

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to help people figure out what direction they should be heading in their career. I’ve realized lately that many of my conversations with students center around removing barriers and excuses – how can you eliminate your own excuses by removing resource/skill/confidence gaps that are keeping you from pursing your goal?

It occurred to me this month that in order for me to work towards my own someday goals, I needed to start following my own advice.

Step 1: Brainstorm your Someday Goals

Write down your goals! Write down big goals without a specific plan and smaller goals. Everything is fair game in this phase! Big goals could include things like: run a marathon, travel more, or earn a degree. Smaller, more specific goals could include things like: meditate daily, spend an hour every day reading with my kids, or take a painting course.

Step 2: Choose the ONE goal that you are most motivated to start today

For each goal, write down why you want to work towards this goal. Is this something you actually want to do (or does it just sound nice, but doesn’t actually interest you)? Will it be fun and rewarding? Will it improve your life?

Take the goal you’re genuinely the most excited about, such as “someday, I’d like to be able to do a real pull-up” (that’s mine) and break it down into bite sized pieces. For this goal that could include things like buying a pull-up bar so I don’t have the excuse of not wanting to go to the gym on cold winter mornings, downloading an exercise plan to help me plan out how to build arm strength slowly, and buying workout clothes.

Make a plan for how you’re going to start working towards your someday goal, and what you need to do to keep working towards it on a daily/weekly basis.

Find an accountability partner – having someone to help you stay accountable, and to make it more fun, is one of the top ways to actually make a change.

Make it fun to stick with your goal! In her book No Sweat, Dr. Michelle Segar discusses that the problem most people have with sticking with an exercise plan (among other things) is that they think of it as a chore instead of as a gift they can give themselves. People are motivated to keep doing the things they ENJOY doing.

Step 3: Start on Sunday, November 1st (End of Daylight Saving Time)

Take your extra hour to do two things, start working towards your goal in a tangible way, and plan how you’re going to continue working towards it for a set period of time (say, until the New Year? Then take New Years to reflect on the progress you’ve made and modify your goal as needed.)

If you’ve chosen a someday goal you genuinely want to do, and that you enjoy doing, you will likely want to keep doing it! So, starting it on a day when you have the gift of an “extra hour” is just the icing on the cake.

Long story short: why not make November 1st the day you start working towards a someday goal?

  • Choose a goal you’re motivated to start working towards
  • Identify the component parts of the goal AND the barriers/excuses you’ve been making for not working towards this goal (yet)
  • Make a plan for what you need to do, how you’re going to remove the barriers keeping you from working towards your goal, and a way to keep yourself accountable
  • Write yourself a sticky note reminding yourself of why you want to work towards this goal (my sticky note says “Michelle Obama arms, and being able to carry in all my groceries in one trip!”)
  • Set a date in the future to check-in on your progress (New Years?)
  • Start!


Mary Ryan-HeadshotPost by Mary Ryan (CLAS ’08). Mary earned her BA from U.Va. and her MBA through UNC Kenan-Flagler’s online program: MBA@UNC. She is thrilled to now be working for MBA@UNC as part of the Career & Leadership Services Team.

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