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Coffee Can Benefit Professional, Personal Lives, Study Says

Coffee Can Benefit Professional, Personal Lives, Study Says

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That java may give you more than just a good caffeine buzz


That java may give you more than just a good caffeine buzz.

As if you needed another reason to drink coffee: your daily caffeine fix may just help both your professional and personal life.

According to a survey by De’Longhi Japan of 400 people 30 to 50 years old, coffee may just help you earn more — or even get lucky in love, according to Rocketdog.

The survey found that 25 percent of people in the survey paid careful attention and had a genuine interest in the coffee they drink; those same coffee lovers also reported having a significant salary increase in recent years. The researchers noted that the salary gap also had something to do with the kind of coffee each participant preferred. Espresso drinkers earned the highest salaries, followed by coffee drinkers who grind their own beans, followed by those who used pre-ground beans.

And it's not just the work life that benefits from coffee. Espresso lovers were shown in the study to be on top in their personal lives as well; 14.3 percent reported they were confident and successful with women. (While this may be a matter up to their own opinions, at least they’re confident, right?)

This is not the only study that sheds some light on this correlation between happiness and coffee. In an annual survey by I Love Coffee, many of the top 15 professions who drink the most coffee were some of the most successful including scientists, financial planners and professors.

How working parents can balance professional-personal life

Busting the conventional notion, a recent study has found why 9 to 5 isn't the only shift that can work for busy families.

The study from the University of Washington focused on two-parent families in which one parent works a nonstandard shift, hours that are common in health care, law enforcement and the service sector.

The study found that the impacts of parent work schedules on children vary by age and gender, and often reflect which shift a parent works. Rotating shifts -- a schedule that varies day by day or week by week -- can be most problematic for children.

"Workers often struggle to carve out the work/life balance they want for themselves, and in dual-earner families, balancing partners' schedules remains an issue for many families," said Christine Leibbrand, author of the study. "Parents are facing these decisions of balancing work and caring for their children."

Nonstandard schedules, especially for single-parent and lower-income families, are associated with behaviour problems among children, according to past research.

To add to that research, Leibbrand examined data on two-parent households in which one parent worked a nonstandard shift. On this, she was inspired in part by her own family: a sibling who's a nurse, another a firefighter, both with children.

Among Leibbrand's findings:

-A mother's night shift tended to have benefits for boys and girls, especially when they're young

-A mother's rotating shift, or a split shift -- say, going to work for a few hours in the morning, and again in the evening -- was associated with greater problems among boys of all ages, and among older girls

-A father's rotating or split shift was associated with more behaviour problems among girls, particularly younger girls

-A father's night shift tended to coincide with behavioural benefits among boys

The gender differences may relate to parent involvement. Some research finds that fathers tend to be more involved in their sons' lives, perhaps explaining why fathers' shift schedules are more likely to be associated with benefits for boys.

Other research on the impact of shift work on adults' physical and emotional stamina, Leibbrand said, suggests that parents who work nonstandard schedules may be under more stress and sometimes have less energy, or "psychological capital" to meet their child's needs.

Unstable shift schedules, like rotating shifts, could be especially stressful for parents.
This stress may have important repercussions for children, as children learn to model their parents' behaviour.

But when it comes to nonstandard shift work, a consistent schedule -- the same hours, on the same days each week -- appears to buffer the negative effects, according to Leibbrand's research.

It provides consistency in child care, gives children more structure and allows the family to predict a parent's availability for activities.

A parent who regularly works the night shift, for example, may deliberately try to be awake and available for children before and after school, while the other parent handles dinner and bedtime routines.

But families don't always have the resources for child care or control over work schedules. That's where employers and policymakers come in, Leibbrand said.

Solutions could involve allowing greater flexibility in the workplace or in providing paid family leave and access to quality child care.

"Most parents want to spend time with their children and want to find a way to do that," she said. "We should be prioritising people's well-being and balancing of work and home life."

So why do hiring managers like to ask this question? Is it because they like to see job seekers stumble? Do they get a sick thrill each time they see a potential hire break out in a cold sweat as they fumble for the right words? Are hiring managers really that…mean?

While it might seem like the only reason behind asking this question is purely for the entertainment of your interviewer, there are actually several important things an interviewer can learn about the interviewee based on their answer, including just what sort of person they really are and how that matches up with what the company is looking for in a new hire.

Hiring managers want to know what you like doing and why you like doing it. They also want to know what you’re good at.

They’re looking for answers that show them examples of characteristics you possess that will help them decide if you’re going to be a great employee.

  • Are you a team player or a lone wolf?
  • Do your strengths align with the job?
  • Do they align with the company overall?
  • Are you applying for a position that you’ll want to excel at or are you just there for a paycheck?

To sum it up even more, they’re trying to figure out exactly how you view and approach success and what drives you. What motivates you as an individual is directly related to your goal-orientation and ambition levels.

Are you someone who is motivated to achieve more in life or are you comfortable doing the bare minimum? Are you willing to work hard for what you want or do you prefer a more relaxed approach to tasks?

Of course, that means there is absolutely a right way to answer this question and a wrong way… Good thing we’re here to help you figure out which is which and exactly what to say when confronted by this often confounding question.

First, a history lesson.

Before we get into the details, I want to tell you a story about a good friend of mine, Gray Cook, who created the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).

Years ago, Gray was one of the first people to bring movement screening, corrective exercise, and dynamic mobility work into fitness.

At that time, movement screening and dynamic mobility exercises were considered the realm of physical therapy only — and therefore outside the personal trainer’s scope of practice.

Then Gray started teaching these techniques to personal trainers.

Managers at gyms got angry. Trainers got nervous. Physical therapy organizations sent him cease-and-desist letters and lawsuit threats.

It all went by the wayside because, fundamentally, these practices are all about movement — and movement belongs in the gym.

Education won over fear and feudalism. Today fitness professionals routinely include movement screening, mobility work, and corrective exercises as part of their workouts with clients.

We may be on a similar path with personal trainers, strength coaches, and nutrition support.

This Is the No. 1 Money Mistake You're Making After 50, Survey Shows

Getting older doesn't always mean you're getting wiser, especially when it comes to your money.


One could argue that a major benefit of getting older is that you are likely to have more control over, or at least a better sense of, what your future will look like than you may have had in your younger years. You've had time to figure out your professional, personal, and financial lives and make the necessary adjustments in order to build the kind of life you'd like to have. And, in a perfect world, that's how it happens. But, as we all know, there's no such thing as a perfect world, and things don't automatically get easier with age. That is especially true when it comes to the matter of money. In fact, after asking more than a 1,000 U.S. adults over the age of 50, a new survey conducted by Caring Advisor, a site for senior living communities, found that there are plenty of money mistakes people don't start making until they're in their 50s.

If you want to avoid these common financial pitfalls, read on to discover the top money mistakes people make after 50. And for missteps to avoid in your earlier years, The No. 1 Financial Mistake People Make When They're Young, Survey Says.

Read the original article on Best Life.

Traitov / iStock

People who made this mistake after age 50: 7.8 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 8.0 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 8.0 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 9.3 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 10.2 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 10.4 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 10.9 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 11.5 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 11.7 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 12.1 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 14.5 percent

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People who made this mistake after age 50: 16.8 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 17.4 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 19.8 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 20.8 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 30.3 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 32.1 percent


People who made this mistake after age 50: 35.9 percent

And if you're curious as to how much cash you should have stashed away, This Is How Much Money People Your Age Have on Average, Data Shows.

Horoscope March 10: Taurus people will get stalled money back, know about other zodiac signs

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Horoscope March 10: Taurus people will get stalled money back, know about other zodiac signs

Today will be a good day for you. You can be successful in making a new plan for any new office work. In this, you will get the full support of your seniors. Your financial condition will be better than before. You can get support from your spouse in accomplishing a particular task. Some people may need some kind of help from you, you will try your best to fulfil it. The family atmosphere will remain good.

Today will be a good day for you. You will get sudden money profit opportunities. There are chances of having a special and good job in business. Money already lent will be returned. Students will get the full result of their hard work. They will also prepare for a competitive exam. There will be an inclination towards material comforts. Soon success will kiss your footsteps. The pressure of office work will be less on working women.

Some of your work today maybe haulted, due to which you may get a little worried. You should avoid making any kind of haste. Otherwise you may have to do that work again. The students of this zodiac may get a little distressed from their studies. Studying in a secluded place will also fetch good marks. Maintain a sense of honesty in your heart today. All your troubles will be solved soon.

Today will be a mixed day for you. You can get a positive response from the official category. It may take you more time to complete the office work. You may have a little argument with younger siblings, so today b nice to them. Parental support will always be with you, this will reduce your problems. You should also keep a check on your expenses, this will remove your financial troubles.

You can live in great excitement today. You will spend a better time with your family. There will be an atmosphere of happiness in the house. You will do all your work with complete passion. Along with your life partner, you will also focus on religious work, which will increase the sweetness in your relationships. People engaged in creative work can benefit, your honour in society will increase. Children will focus on their studies.

Suddenly you will benefit in business. Colleagues will be ready to help you today. New ideas of earning money will come in your mind. You will feel energetic. Everyday tasks will be completed without any hindrance. Being honest with your spouse will be beneficial for you. You will benefit from new ideas that come to mind. Lawyers of this amount will win on an old issue.

It will be your normal day today. You will gain money on the strength of hard work. You should express your opinions to someone. Some family responsibilities may also increase on you, but you will also fulfil them in a better way. Computer students will get to learn something new. The economic situation will be strong. You will get success in your career. There is a need to worry about your mother's health.

Today will be your special day. There will be some happiness in the house so that the atmosphere of the house will remain good. Today you can benefit from getting a big offer. Keep faith in your spouse, there will be sweetness in your relationships. You can think of doing something new, in which your elder brothers will support you, and you will definitely get success in the future. The opinion of an experienced person can complete your stalled work.

Today will be a good day for you. All your work will be done on time. Today you can help someone through social media, which will give you happiness. Spouse will get support in completing any work. Your happy behaviour will create a happy atmosphere at home. You will get some kind of surprise. People will have some kind of expectations from you, on which you will live up to the circumstances.

You will have a nice day today. Your confidence may increase. You may have to work hard to grow the business. Father's blessings will be with you. In terms of health, your health will remain fit and fine. Today you can be busy in social work, in this you will also get success. Married couple can also plan to watch a movie in the evening, married life can be pleasant.

Today will be your favourite day. Today, there will be a framework for any Manglik event with family members. People associated with this amount of business will gain more money than expected. People involved in the field of education will get a chance to teach something new today. Your popularity will increase at the social level. The advice of parents in some work will be beneficial for you. Your relationships with your siblings will improve. Your respect in society will increase, people will take inspiration from you.

Today you can live in great excitement. You will spend a better time with your family. There will be an atmosphere of happiness in the house. Seeing your hard work and dedication, you will do every work with people. With your life partner, you will engage in religious activities, which will increase the sweetness in your relationships. Those engaged in creative work can benefit. People involved in the field of fitness can have a big profit today.


Among other things, personal development may include the following activities:

  • Improving self-awareness
  • Improving self-knowledge
  • Improving skills and/or learning new ones
  • Building or renewing identity/self-esteem
  • Developing strengths or talents
  • Improving a career
  • Identifying or improving potential
  • Building employability or (alternatively) human capital
  • Enhancing lifestyle and/or the quality of life and time-management
  • Improving healthwealth or social status
  • Fulfilling aspirations
  • Initiating a life enterprise
  • Defining and executing personal development plans (PDPs)
  • Improving social relations or emotional intelligence identity development and recognition

Personal development can also include developing other people's skills and personality. This may take place through roles such as those of a teacher or mentor, either through a personal competency (such as the alleged skill of certain managers in developing the potential of employees) or through a professional service (such as providing training, assessment or coaching).

Beyond improving oneself and developing others, "personal development" labels a field of practice and research:

  • As a field of practice, personal development includes personal-development methods, learning programs, assessment systems, tools, and techniques.
  • As a field of research, personal-development topics appear in psychology journals, education research, management journals and books, and human-development economics.

Any sort of development—whether economic, political, biological, organizational or personal—requires a framework if one wishes to know whether a change has actually occurred. [3] [ need quotation to verify ] In the case of personal development, an individual often functions as the primary judge of improvement or of regression, but validation of objective improvement requires assessment using standard criteria.

Personal-development frameworks may include:

  • Goals or benchmarks that define the end-points
  • Strategies or plans for reaching goals
  • Measurement and assessment of progress, levels or stages that define milestones along a development path
  • A feedback system to provide information on changes

Personal development as an industry [4] has several business-relationship formats of operating. The main ways are business-to-consumer and business-to-business. [ citation needed ] However, two newer ways have emerged: consumer-to-business and consumer-to-consumer. [5] The personal development market had a global market size of 38.28 billion dollars in 2019. [6]

Business-to-consumer market Edit

The business-to-consumer market involves selling books, courses and techniques to individuals, such as:

Some programs deliver their content online. Many include tools sold with a program, such as motivational books for self-help, recipes for weight-loss or technical manuals for yoga, and martial-arts programs.

A partial list of personal development offerings on the business-to-individual market might include:

Business-to-business market Edit

Some consulting firms such as DDI and FranklinCovey specialize in personal development, but as of 2009 [update] generalist firms operating in the fields of human resources, recruitment and organizational strategy—such as Hewitt, Watson Wyatt Worldwide, Hay Group, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Korn/Ferry—have entered what they perceive as a growing market, not to mention smaller firms and self-employed professionals who provide consulting, training and coaching. [ non-primary source needed ]

Major religions—such as the age-old Abrahamic and Indian religions—as well as 20th-century New Age philosophies have variously used practices such as prayer, music, dance, singing, chanting, poetry, writing, sports and martial arts. These practices have various functions, such as health or aesthetic satisfaction, but they may [ original research? ] also link [ citation needed ] to "final goals" of personal development—such as discovering the meaning of life or living the good life (compare philosophy).

Michel Foucault describes in Care of the Self [7] the techniques of epimelia used in ancient Greece and Rome, which included dieting, exercise, sexual abstinence, contemplation, prayer and confession—some of which also became important practices within different branches of Christianity.

Wushu and T'ai chi ch'uan utilise traditional Chinese techniques, including breathing and energy exercises, meditation, martial arts, as well as practices linked to traditional Chinese medicine, such as dieting, massage and acupuncture.

Two individual ancient philosophical traditions: those of Aristotle (Western tradition) and of Confucius (Eastern tradition) stand out [8] and contribute to the worldwide view of "personal development" in the 21st century. Elsewhere anonymous or named founders of schools of self-development appear endemic—note the traditions of the Indian sub-continent in this regard. [9] [10] [11] [12]

South Asian traditions Edit

Some ancient Indians aspired to "beingness, wisdom and happiness". [13]

Paul Oliver suggests that the popularity of Indian traditions for a personal developer may lie in their relative lack of prescriptive doctrine. [14]

Islamic personal development Edit

Aristotle and the Western tradition Edit

The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 BCE – 322 BCE) wrote Nicomachean Ethics, in which he defined personal development as a category of phronesis or practical wisdom, where the practice of virtues (arête) leads to eudaimonia, [15] commonly translated as "happiness" but more accurately understood as "human flourishing" or "living well". [16] Aristotle continues to influence the Western concept of personal development to this day [update] , particularly in the economics of human development [17] and in positive psychology. [18] [19]

Confucius and the East Asian tradition Edit

In Chinese tradition, Confucius (around 551 BCE – 479 BCE) founded an ongoing philosophy. His ideas continue to influence family values, education and management in China and East Asia. In his Great Learning Confucius wrote:

The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things. [20]

Psychology Edit

Psychology became linked to personal development in the early 20th century starting with Alfred Adler (1870–1937) and Carl Jung (1875–1961).

Adler refused to limit psychology to analysis, making the important point that aspirations look forward and do not limit themselves to unconscious drives or to childhood experiences. [21] He also originated the concepts of lifestyle (1929—he defined "lifestyle" as an individual's characteristic approach to life, in facing problems) and of self image, [ citation needed ] a concept that influenced management under the heading of work-life balance. [ clarification needed ]

Carl Gustav Jung made contributions to personal development with his concept of individuation, which he saw as the drive of the individual to achieve the wholeness and balance of the Self. [22]

Daniel Levinson (1920–1994) developed Jung's early concept of "life stages" and included a sociological perspective. Levinson proposed that personal development comes under the influence—throughout life—of aspirations, which he called "the Dream":

Whatever the nature of his Dream, a young man has the developmental task of giving it greater definition and finding ways to live it out. It makes a great difference in his growth whether his initial life structure is consonant with and infused by the Dream, or opposed to it. If the Dream remains unconnected to his life it may simply die, and with it his sense of aliveness and purpose. [23]

Research on success in reaching goals, as undertaken by Albert Bandura (born 1925), suggested that self-efficacy [24] best explains why people with the same level of knowledge and skills get very different results. According to Bandura self-confidence functions as a powerful predictor of success because: [25]

  1. It makes you expect to succeed
  2. It allows you take risks and set challenging goals
  3. It helps you keep trying if at first you don't succeed
  4. It helps you control emotions and fears when the going gets rough

In 1998 Martin Seligman won election to a one-year term as President of the American Psychological Association and proposed a new focus: on healthy individuals [26] [27] rather than on pathology (he created the "positive psychology" current)

We have discovered that there is a set of human strengths that are the most likely buffers against mental illness: courage, optimism, interpersonal skill, work ethic, hope, honesty and perseverance. Much of the task of prevention will be to create a science of human strength whose mission will be to foster these virtues in young people. [28] [ full citation needed ]

Social psychology Edit

Social psychology [29] heavily emphasizes and focuses on human behavior and how individuals interact with others in society. [30] Infants develop socially by creating trusting and dependent relationships with others—namely parental figures. [31] Toddlers further develop social skills. Additionally, they begin to gain a desire for autonomy. The balance of social involvement and autonomy varies per person, but normally autonomous behavior increases with age. Some studies suggest that selfishness begins to diminish, and prosocial behaviors increase, between the ages of six years old to twelve years old. [32] Additionally, the years of adulthood are times of development—self-actualization, relational and occupational development, loss and coping-skills development, etc.—affected by those around us: parents, co-workers, romantic partners, and children. Social psychology draws from many other psychological theories and principles yet views them through a lens of social interaction.

Psychodynamic psychology Edit

The psychodynamic view of personal development varies from other perspectives. Namely, that the development of our traits, personalities, and thinking patterns are predominantly subconscious. [33] Psychodynamic theory suggests these subconscious changes—which emerge as external actions—are formed from suppressed sexual and aggressive urges and other internalized conflicts. [34] Sigmund Freud and other notable psychodynamic theorists postulate that these repressed cognitions form during childhood and adolescence. Conscious development would then be "digging up" these repressed memories and feelings. Once repressed memories and emotions are discovered, an individual can sift through them and receive healthy closure. [35] Much, if not all, of conscious development occurs with the aid of a trained psychodynamic therapist.

Cognitive behavioral psychology Edit

Cognitive-behavioral views on personal development follow traditional patterns of personal development: behavior modification, cognitive reframing, and successive approximation being some of the more notable techniques. [36] An individual is seen as in control of their actions and thought, though self-mastery is required. With behavior modification, individuals will develop personal skills and traits by altering their behavior independent of their emotions. For example, a person may feel intense anger but would still behave in a positive way. The accumulation of these efforts would change the person into a more patient individual. Cognitive reframing plays an instrumental role in personal development. Cognitive-behavioral psychologists believe that how we view events is more important than the event itself. Thus, if one can view negative events in beneficial ways, they can progress and develop with fewer setbacks. Successive approximation—or shaping—most closely aligns with personal development. Successive approximation is when one desires a final result but takes incremental steps to achieve the result. Normally, each successful step towards the final goal is rewarded until the goal is achieved. Personal development, if it is to be long-lasting, is achieved incrementally.

Educational psychology Edit

Educational psychology focuses on the human learning experience: learning and teaching methods, aptitude testing, and so on. [37] Educational psychology seeks to further personal development by increasing one's ability to learn, retain information, and apply knowledge to real-world experiences. If one is able to increase efficacious learning, they are better equipped for personal development.

Higher education Edit

During the 1960s a large increase in the number of students on American campuses [38] led to research on the personal development needs of undergraduate students. Arthur Chickering defined seven vectors of personal development [39] for young adults during their undergraduate years:

  1. Developing competence
  2. Managing emotions
  3. Achieving autonomy and interdependence
  4. Developing mature interpersonal relationships
  5. Establishing personal identity
  6. Developing purpose
  7. Developing integrity

In the UK, personal development took a central place in university policy [ citation needed ] in 1997 when the Dearing Report [40] declared that universities should go beyond academic teaching to provide students with personal development. [41] In 2001 a Quality Assessment Agency for UK universities produced guidelines [42] for universities to enhance personal development as:

  • a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development
  • objectives related explicitly to student development to improve the capacity of students to understand what and how they are learning, and to review, plan and take responsibility for their own learning

In the 1990s, business schools began to set up specific personal-development programs for leadership and career orientation and in 1998 the European Foundation for Management Development set up the EQUIS accreditation system which specified that personal development must form part of the learning process through internships, working on team projects and going abroad for work or exchange programs. [43] [ citation needed ]

The first personal development certification required for business school graduation originated in 2002 as a partnership between Metizo, [ non-primary source needed ] a personal-development consulting firm, and the Euromed Management School [44] in Marseilles: students must not only complete assignments but also demonstrate self-awareness and achievement of personal-development competencies. [ non-primary source needed ]

As an academic department, personal development as a specific discipline is usually associated with business schools. [ citation needed ] As an area of research, personal development draws on links to other academic disciplines:

    for questions of learning and assessment for motivation and personality for identity and social networks for human capital and economic value for ethics and self-reflection

The workplace Edit

Abraham Maslow (1908–1970), proposed a hierarchy of needs with self actualization at the top, defined as "the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming". [45]

Since Maslow himself believed that only a small minority of people self-actualize—he estimated one percent [46] —his hierarchy of needs had the consequence that organizations came to regard self-actualization or personal development as occurring at the top of the organizational pyramid, while job security and good working conditions would fulfill the needs of the mass of employees. [47] [ citation needed ]

As organizations and labor markets became more global, responsibility for development shifted from the company to the individual. [ clarification needed ] In 1999 management thinker Peter Drucker wrote in the Harvard Business Review:

We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity: if you've got ambition and smarts, you can rise to the top of your chosen profession, regardless of where you started out. But with opportunity comes responsibility. Companies today aren't managing their employees' careers knowledge workers must, effectively, be their own chief executive officers. It's up to you to carve out your place, to know when to change course, and to keep yourself engaged and productive during a work life that may span some 50 years. [48] [ page needed ]

Management professors Sumantra Ghoshal of the London Business School and Christopher Bartlett of the Harvard Business School wrote in 1997 that companies must manage people individually and establish a new work contract. [49] On the one hand, the company must allegedly recognize that personal development creates economic value: "market performance flows not from the omnipotent wisdom of top managers but from the initiative, creativity and skills of all employees". [ citation needed ] On the other hand, employees should recognize that their work includes personal development and "embrace the invigorating force of continuous learning and personal development". [ citation needed ]

The 1997 publication of Ghoshal's and Bartlett's Individualized Corporation corresponded to a change in career development from a system of predefined paths defined by companies, to a strategy defined by the individual and matched to the needs of organizations in an open landscape of possibilities. [ citation needed ] Another contribution to the study of career development came with the recognition that women's careers show specific personal needs and different development paths from men. The 2007 study of women's careers by Sylvia Ann Hewlett Off-Ramps and On-Ramps [50] had a major impact on the way companies view careers. [51] [ citation needed ] Further work on the career as a personal development process came from study by Herminia Ibarra in her Working Identity on the relationship with career change and identity change, [52] indicating that priorities of work and lifestyle continually develop through life.

Personal development programs in companies fall into two categories: the provision of employee benefits and the fostering of development strategies.

Employee surveys may help organizations find out personal-development needs, preferences and problems, and they use the results to design benefits programs. [53] [ citation needed ] Typical programs in this category include:

As an investment, personal development programs have the goal of increasing human capital or improving productivity, innovation or quality. Proponents actually see such programs not as a cost but as an investment with results linked to an organization's strategic development goals. Employees gain access to these investment-oriented programs by selection according to the value and future potential of the employee, usually defined in a talent management architecture including populations such as new hires, perceived high-potential employees, perceived key employees, sales staff, research staff and perceived future leaders. [ citation needed ] Organizations may also offer other (non-investment-oriented) programs to many or even all employees. Personal development also forms an element in management tools such as personal development planning, assessing one's level of ability using a competency grid, or getting feedback from a 360 questionnaire filled in by colleagues at different levels in the organization.

A common criticism [54] surrounding personal development programs is that they are often treated as an arbitrary performance management tool to pay lip service to, but ultimately ignored. As such, many companies have decided to replace personal development programs with SMART Personal Development Objectives, which are regularly reviewed and updated. Personal Development Objectives help employees achieve career goals and improve overall performance.

Criticism Edit

Scholars have targeted self-help claims as misleading and incorrect. In 2005, Steve Salerno portrayed the American self-help movement—he uses the acronym "SHAM": the "Self-Help and Actualization Movement"—not only as ineffective in achieving its goals but also as socially harmful, and that self-help customers keep investing more money in these services regardless of their effectiveness. [55] Others similarly point out that with self-help books "supply increases the demand . The more people read them, the more they think they need them . more like an addiction than an alliance". [56]

Self-help writers have been described as working "in the area of the ideological, the imagined, the narrativized. . although a veneer of scientism permeates the[ir] work, there is also an underlying armature of moralizing". [57]

Burnout and Self-Care

“Burnout” as a term was first applied by Freudenberger (1975) to describe what happens when a practitioner becomes increasingly “inoperative.” According to Freudenberger, this progressive state of inoperability can take many different forms, from simple rigidity, in which “the person becomes ‘closed’ to any input,” to an increased resignation, irritability, and quickness to anger. As burnout worsens, however, its effects turn more serious. An individual may become paranoid or self-medicate with legal or illegal substances. Eventually, a social worker afflicted with burnout may leave a promising career that he or she has worked very hard to attain or be removed from a position by a forced resignation or firing.

In the intervening 37 years, burnout has been the focus of several studies, each of which has affirmed the phenomenon (van der Vennet, 2002). We may instinctively realize that therapeutic work is “grueling and demanding” with “moderate depression, mild anxiety, emotional exhaustion, and disrupted relationships” as some of its frequent, yet common, effects (Norcross, 2000). We may even have gotten used to some of the factors promoting burnout such as “inadequate supervision and mentorship, glamorized expectations. and acute performance anxiety” (Skovholt, Grier, & Hanson, 2001). Yet, as social workers, we may still not pay full attention to the reality of burnout until suddenly everything seems overwhelming. At such times, we may lack the knowledge of what is transpiring or the critical faculties to assess our experience objectively that would enable us to take proper measures to restore balance to our lives.

To explore and understand the phenomenon of burnout before it is too late, researchers have found it useful to introduce several components of the term or attendant syndromes, specifically compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and secondary traumatic stress. Although there is a great deal of overlap among these terms, each of them poses a particular risk and originates from a different place in the practitioner’s experience or psychology.

Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue is perhaps the most general term of the three and describes “the overall experience of emotional and physical fatigue that social service professionals experience due to chronic use of empathy when treating patients who are suffering in some way” (Newell & MacNeil, 2010). There is evidence that compassion fatigue increases when a social worker sees that a client is not “getting better” (Corcoran, 1987). Yet, a large part of compassion fatigue is built directly into the fabric of the kind of work we do. Although we may strive for a relationship with our clients that is collaborative, our goal is not a relationship that is reciprocal. In many important ways, reciprocity is unethical, even illegal. Although recognizing this fact can lead to an important setting of boundaries, including financial boundaries (charging clients, collecting co-pays), or deciding how missed appointments are handled, compassion fatigue may reflect a deeper “inability to say no,” one of the hazards that “can exacerbate the difficult nature of the work” (Skovholt, Grier, & Hanson, 2001).

In our work, although we are surrounded by people all day long, there is not a balanced give and take. Concentration is on clients, not ourselves. In the truest sense, we are alone—we are the givers, and our fulfillment comes from seeing the growth, hope, and new direction in those with whom we are privileged to work. The fulfillment of our professional commitment demands that we ever do our best and give as much as possible in the ethical ways that are the underpinnings of the social work profession. With this awareness, common sense predicts that burnout is a potential threat waiting for us in the wings. However, as we all know, common sense and clear thinking can be eroded when our own unfinished emotional business propels us. Although there are many therapists who describe fulfilling childhoods that are secure and stable, research indicates that the majority who come into our field have known profound pain and loss during their formative years (Elliott & Guy, 1993). Most have experienced one or a combination of five patterns of emotional abuse, which has led to the relentless need to give to others what we wish we had received, coupled by an inability to care for oneself and set limits in order to counteract exhaustion (Smullens, 2010). Social workers, therefore, are especially prone to compassion fatigue, not only because of the nature of our work, but often because our own natures have inspired us to enter this precise field.

Vicarious Trauma and Secondary Traumatic Stress

Vicarious trauma (also known by the closely related term “secondary traumatic stress”) results from a social worker’s direct exposure to victims of trauma. Unlike compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma may have a more immediate onset (Newell & MacNeil, 2010), as such exposure triggers the immediate re-experiencing of painful occasions from the practitioner’s personal history. As mentioned above, social workers are far more likely to have painful personal histories than those working in other professions or vocations. Elliott & Guy (1993) found, for example, that women working in the mental health professions were more frequently traumatized as children by physical abuse, alcoholism, emotional and sexual abuse, and familial conflict than were women working in other fields. Additionally, women therapists appear to come from more chaotic families of origin, with significantly lesser experiences of familial cohesion, moral emphasis, and achievement orientation.

Although I have separated vicarious trauma from compassion fatigue for ease of categorization, it is quite likely that they influence each other—that is, vicarious trauma provokes and promotes compassion fatigue, while the origins of compassion fatigue—an inability to establish proper boundaries—can be found in the social worker’s trauma history. Unfinished emotional business can involve all aspects of our personal and professional lives. Do we have issues with members of our family of origin that are unresolved and drain present relationships, keeping us from seeing clearly? Do we long to do the impossible for a deceased or suffering parent? Do we long to establish closeness with a family member who has continuously made it clear that this is not a mutual desire? Are there present issues regarding a partner, or sexual preference? Are we struggling to find the intimacy we crave, yet still eludes us? The list, in myriad forms, can go on and on. It is essential to remember that when our clients bring these very same issues to us that we have not faced, burnout and the depression that accompanies it can and will set in, leading to emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a decreased sense of personal accomplishments.

Through the agencies of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma, burnout systematically decreases our ability to relate to our clients, which strikes at the heart of our self-identification as a healer or positive force in society. This in turn results in increased disaffection for our work, disconnection, and isolation. This isolation may in fact already be present Koeske and Koeske (1989) found that in addition to demanding work loads, one of the causes for burnout was low social support, particularly low coworker support.

Fortunately, as Poulin & Walter (1993) noted in their one-year study of nearly a thousand social workers, just as burnout is associated with personal and professional factors, adjustment to those factors prevents future or further burnout from occurring. Further, it can reverse burnout that has occurred. In other words, there is a cure for burnout—not a permanent cure, or a cure-all, but a process that can be engaged to restore balance in our personal and professional lives. That cure is self-care.

Self-Care as the Antidote to Burnout

Lately, there has been increased attention on the concept of self-care—the balancing activities in which social workers can engage to preserve personal longevity and happiness, their relationships, and their careers. These activities of self-care span a wide range and can include: receiving support from mentors or a peer group, the importance of relaxation (including vacations), personal endeavors that are non-professional activities, and the need to balance wellness with one’s professional life.

By engaging in self-care, we can assert our right to be well and reintroduce our own needs into the equation. Hearing this call may be a difficult first step, as social workers might feel guilt about needing to take care of ourselves—especially since, as was pointed out previously, mental health workers are more likely to “come from chaotic families of origin” where they adopted codependent/parenting roles.

In a study comparing psychotherapists and physicists, psychotherapists were significantly more likely to perceive themselves as assuming a care-taking role than were physicists (Fussell & Bonney, 1990). The same study showed that psychotherapists also experienced significantly more parent-child role inversion (parentification) than did the physicists. This does not mean that the caregiver choice of career is a negative thing it can be a healthy and healing choice, once we recognize the need to engage in self-care. When we do embrace self-care, we find many different strategies at our disposal that span the entire gamut of human experience. There are self-care solutions in the emotional, physical, social, intellectual, sexual, and spiritual dimensions of life that underscore our humanity.

There have been several attempts to categorize self-care strategies, notably: Mahoney (1997) and Norcross (2000). Norcross outlines 10 self-care strategies, including seemingly obvious—yet incredibly valuable—pieces of advice, such as recognizing the hazards of psychological practice and beginning with self-awareness and self-liberation. Three of Norcross’s strategies are of special note, and I will now discuss these in greater detail.

1. Employ stimulus control and counterconditioning when possible.

This strategy is actually two common sense, personal organization strategies in one, which I refer to as “necessary selective gifts to oneself” in a setting where you will spend more daytime hours than you spend at home. The first, “creating a professional greenhouse at work” (Skovholt, Grier, & Hanson, 2001), involves decisions such as the resolve to eat lunch at one’s desk as little as possible, the importance of social exchange as well as a comfortable chair, providing calming music as background for writing and thinking, and taking plants to your office. (A personal aside about plants: I well know that forgetting to water them is a sure wake-up call that you are not giving yourself what you need.)

The second part of this strategy is the “counterconditioning” that physical activities, healing modalities, and the diversion of reading and films, to cite some examples, can provide. Is there a gym you can visit first thing in the morning or after hours? Would it center you to visit a place for worship during your lunch break or on your way home? Would you like to hear a book-on-tape at certain hours? In one study of self-care strategies, Mahoney (1997) reported pleasure reading, physical exercise, hobbies/artistic pursuits, and recreational vacations as the most commonly reported self-care activities, followed by practicing meditation and prayer, doing volunteer work, and keeping a personal diary.

Nearly 90% of mental health workers seek personal therapy before, during, and after their professional training (Mahoney, 1997). In addition, more than 90% of those who do seek personal therapy derive satisfaction and growth from their experiences therein, creating more fulfilling lives (Norcross, 2000). Toward this end, when we need consultation, we must seek it and if such consultation directs us to deeper psychological work, we must not deny this necessity

3. Diversify, diversify, diversify.

Whereas clinical responsibilities can totally deplete us, we can also use our hard won skills in various ways that replenish us. Many find balance, camaraderie, and stimulation through ongoing discussion groups with colleagues. Others find it by shifting client focus. For instance, those of us concentrating primarily in group therapy can also turn to individual, conjoint, and family therapy for a small part of our practice. I have found it invigorating to combine marital work and group therapy in an unusual way. For marital clients with complex problems, I place the couple in separate groups, trying to find one in each group who will remind each of his or her partner.

Another important sustaining resource is to use hard won skills in areas other than clinical practice. A few years ago, for example, I became a clinical consultant to a local Philadelphia theater company, meeting with directors and cast members to discuss the lives of actual clients (disguising all recognizable aspects of lives, of course) that parallel lives and events in the plays. My most memorable experience was consulting work done on the very controversial play Blackbird, by David Harrower. Blackbird is a play about sexual abuse, as well as the pain and loneliness that can lead to this horrific act. One of the most poignant moments in my professional life occurred during a TalkBack for this play, when an audience member confided that she had been abused, and her assailant had never owned this abuse or apologized. But she explained that events in this play felt as if an apology had been made to her, and would help her to heal.

My life and work have taught me that the strongest lesson in avoiding burnout through self-care is to accept that we are human, and in that we are each limited and—yes—flawed. Despite best intentions and very hard work, we will each experience failure, and our losses and the losses of those dear to us will bring the most unbearable pain imaginable.

Yet, with all of the pain and loss of life, we can, if we will it, grow and learn and move forward in our life journey. If we hold on to this, we can understand how important self-care is. It will give us the strength to claim the joys of living and endure what we must. And it will help us to assure that our clients are able, whenever possible, to do the same.

Corcoran, K. J. (1987). The association of burnout and social work practitioners’ impressions of their clients. Journal of Social Service Research, 10 (1), 57-66.

Elliott, D. M., & Guy, J. D. (1993). Mental health professionals versus non-mental-health professionals: Childhood trauma and adult functioning. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 24 (1), 83-90.

Freudenberger, H. J. (1975). The staff burn-out syndrome in alternative institutions. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 12 (1), 73-82.

Fussell, F. W., & Bonney, W. C. (1990). A comparative study of childhood experiences of psychotherapists and physicists: Implications for clinical practice. Psychotherapy, 27 (4), 505-512.

Koeske, G. F., & Koeske, R. D. (1989). Workload and burnout: Can social support and perceived accomplishment help? Social Work, 34 (3), 243-248.

Mahoney, M. J. (1997). Psychotherapists’ personal problems and self-care patterns. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 28 (1), 14-16.

Newell, J. M., & MacNeil, G. (2010). Professional burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion fatigue: A review of theoretical terms, risk factors, and preventive methods for clinicians. Best Practices in Mental Health: An International Journal, 6 (2), 57-68.

Norcross, J. C. (2000). Psychotherapist self-care: Practitioner-tested, research-informed strategies. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 31 (6), 710-713.

Poulin, J. & Walter, C. (1993). Social worker burnout: A longitudinal study. Social Work Research & Abstracts, 29 (4), 5-11.

Skovholt, T. M., Grier, T. L., & Hanson, M. R. (2001). Career counseling for longevity: Self-care and burnout prevention strategies for counselor resilience. Journal of Career Development, 27 (3), 167-176.

Smullens, S. (2010). The codification and treatment of emotional abuse in structured group therapy. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy 60 (1), 111-130.

van der Vennet, R. (2002). A study of mental health workers in an art therapy group to reduce secondary trauma and burnout. Dissertation Abstracts International, 63 (9-B), 4389. (UMI No. 3065615).

Additional Reading

Smullens, S. (2012, Summer). Self-care and avoiding burnout. NASW Private Practice Section Connection, Summer 2012.

SaraKay Smullens, MSW, LCSW, CGP, CFLE, BCD, whose private and pro bono clinical social work practice is in Philadelphia, is a certified group psychotherapist and family life educator. She is a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pennsylvania chapter of NASW, which recognized her longstanding community organization, advocacy, and activism, as well as the codification of patterns of emotional abuse and the development of the model to address it. SaraKay is the best-selling author of Whoever Said Life Is Fair: A Guide to Growing Through Life’s Injustices and Setting YourSelf Free: Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Abuse in Family, Friendships, Work, and Love. SaraKay's professional life continues to be devoted to highlighting destructive societal forces through communication, advocacy, and activism.

This article appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER. Copyright 2012 White Hat Communications. All rights reserved.

20 Short-Term Goals to Try in 2021 [With Examples]

Looking for a place to start? Here are some goal suggestions you can start working on today, with tips on how to improve your chances of achieving what you set out to do.

Infinity Personal Tasks Template

Short-Term Professional Goals

1. Finish an online course

Improving professional skills is easier than ever, thanks to a large amount of knowledge you have access to online, often for free. Many platforms offer free or paid online courses, including Alison, Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, edX, etc. You can choose between taking a self-paced course or following a course plan with deadlines for each assignment.

Every online course has a syllabus you can check out before signing up, and many of them already have the workload divided into weeks. This setup makes it easy to set a short-term goal, like finishing a Digital Marketing course in two months.

2. Set a quarterly performance goal

Each company assigns different performance metrics to a specific job role, so the first thing is to align your performance goals with the metrics used in your team. If your team practices quarterly reviews, this is the perfect time to have a one-on-one talk with your superior and discuss performance.

The main takeaway of these meetings should be identifying where you can improve and use this information to set a performance goal for the next quarter. Once again, use the SMART technique when planning your short-term goals related to professional performance.

3. Improve one soft skill

Soft skills are non-technical skills that impact your work performance, and they include a wide range of traits, from assertiveness to time management. Take a long, hard look at yourself and identify the people skills or behaviors where you could use some improvement.

To some people, especially introverts, having to partake in a presentation, conference, or webinar sounds like a nightmare. Some people have trouble relating to others, which causes clashes and misunderstandings in the workplace. Others struggle with productivity due to poor time management skills. Honestly, most of us have a few things to work on at every point in our careers.

Now, let’s narrow it down to one short-term goal: pick a skill you particularly need or want to improve. This part is a bit tricky since it’s hard to measure soft skills—you can’t tell when you’ve improved your listening skills by 20%. A good idea is to set a goal of attending one online seminar or workshop every x months.

4. Connect with other industry professionals

Networking is often underrated, but it is a wonderful opportunity to get a better insight into your industry, stay on track with the latest news, and create connections that can help you a lot in your career. Maybe you don’t think much of it, but LinkedIn connections or people you met at conferences can have a significant impact on your career track.

You never know when you’ll need a reference or a job change, so use the power of networking to look for new opportunities or professional collaboration. To make this into a short-term goal, decide on a number of people to connect with on LinkedIn every month. Make sure you pick people relevant to what you do and introduce yourself when sending a connection request.

5. Evaluate your current job

It’s very common to get lulled into your comfort zone if you don’t reconsider where you are from time to time. Maybe you’ve had the same job for years, and you’ve grown so accustomed to the everyday routine that you don’t stop to think if you’re truly satisfied with your role, coworkers, or salary.

Fear prevents us from taking action and changing jobs is frightening—it’s a jump into the unknown. The fear of losing a steady income keeps many people working jobs they aren’t happy with. Once you’re ready to make a change, you can set a short-term goal of applying to 5 jobs every week (or whatever you feel is an attainable goal). If you decide to look for a new job, the Infinity Job Hunt template will help you keep track of all jobs you’ve applied to, manage interview dates, and have all information in one place.

Infinity Job Hunt Template

Short-Term Personal Goals

6. Create a savings plan

If you’re struggling with finances at the end of each month, or if money seems to vanish into thin air and you’re not sure where it’s spent, it’s time to come up with a savings plan. When talking about short-term goals regarding personal savings, the idea is to set up a finance tracking system first.

Whether you’re a fan of the pen-and-paper approach or you already have a collection of online spreadsheets for to-do tasks, you should start by writing down every expense for at least a month. After 30 days, you can sit down and evaluate the list. The goal is to identify unnecessary purchases, spur-of-the-moment shopping, and any kind of impulsive buying.

For example, ordering takeout now and then isn’t a big deal, but you may discover that fast food bills tend to stack up to a large sum and reconsider making your meals more often. Here’s where the Infinity Finances Tracker template can help: it’s easy to filter expenses (for example, groceries) to learn how much you spend on each category per month.

Infinity Finances Tracker Template

7. Improve productivity

Productivity is something that many of us have been struggling with after switching to remote work. It’s often hard to focus on your job when there are children, pets, and other “distractions” involved. When setting a short-term goal for boosting productivity, the important thing is to be dedicated and persistent.

Choose one thing to focus on: take a two-week break from Facebook or dedicate a daily 15-minute time slot to satisfy your cravings for wall scrolling and checking notifications. Whatever you pick, make sure to use a goal tracking app or a similar tool to track your everyday progress. A tip: you can try out a productivity technique like Pomodoro and try to stick to it for a month.

8. Create a morning routine

Morning people manage to get bushy-tailed and bright-eyed at 7 a.m., but what about us night owls? Maybe you find yourself growling at people before you’ve had your first cup of coffee or too drowsy to get anything done. A quality morning routine can set a course for the rest of your day, so let’s try to make the most out of it.

The idea is to create a routine you’ll enjoy and the one that brings you the most benefits. Some things to include can be a glass of water as soon as you wake up, a light exercise routine, a healthy breakfast, playing a power song to lift your spirits, reading the news… Once you’ve summed up everything you wish to do in the morning, make it into a checklist or create a goals worksheet. Try to stick to this routine for at least one month, then analyze which parts of the routine you liked best and which ones were hard to follow. For an agile approach, change your morning routine every month until you find one that you enjoy doing.

9. Improve personal relationships

2020 had a huge impact on our relationship with others - the whole world was forced to minimize contact and practice social distancing. Humans are social animals, and our well being depends on spending quality time with others. Now that so many limitations have been imposed on our social life, it’s harder than ever to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships.

There is probably a long, long list of people you miss hugging or talking to in person. Let’s make a short-term goal out of this: for starters, write down the names of people you miss. Now pick at least one person to contact each week using whatever means available: Zoom calls, texting, emailing, calling. At least the technology lets us communicate with each other in far better ways than writing letters.

10. Get out of your comfort zone

Our comfort zone is where we feel safe, secure, and, well, comfortable. The bad news is that all progress we make in life is outside our comfort zone. In order to grow as a person, advance professionally, and obtain any other goal, we need to grin and bear it and face whatever is lurking outside the parameters of our safe zone.

Now, let’s think of a way to put this into a short-term goal. The best way would be to decide on one thing that you put off doing (from going to the dentist to signing up for a dance class) and give yourself a one-month deadline to do it. Once you’ve done it, you’ll feel a huge weight lifted off your shoulders, so use this energy to think of the next scary or uncomfortable thing to do in the next month.

Short-Term Learning Goals

11. Read more books

Remember what the A stands for in SMART goals? While you might be tempted to set a goal of reading a book a week, stick to an attainable objective. Just like a 2-mile run can be too much for a novice runner but barely a challenge for someone who has been running every morning for years, the same goes for the number of books to read in a month.

Check out websites like Goodreads, where you can browse books, read other people’s reviews, discover new titles, and join the Reading Challenge by choosing the number of books you plan to read in the calendar year. But since we’re talking short-term goals here, you should find a way to track your progress by week or month. Many work management tools (like Infinity) provide book list templates or let you make your lists from scratch.

INFINITY TIP: Download the Infinity Book Tracker template to create a list of books you can group, filter, and sort by title, category, date, or any custom attribute you want.

Infinity Book Tracker Template

12. Sign up for a newsletter

Whether you want to be more informed about the news from your industry or you have a hobby or interest that you like reading about—newsletters are a great way to get weekly or monthly digests of the most relevant and exciting topics. Many of us have been guilty of signing up for a newsletter only to let each email dwell in our inbox unopened, so let’s try to change this.

Choose one newsletter to sign up for - it can be one you already receive in your email but don’t bother reading. Make a short-term goal of reading every single issue for three months (you don’t have to do it as soon as you get a new email), and you’ll quickly develop a habit.

13. Learn a new language

Once this COVID-19 nightmare is over, most of us will want to pack our suitcases ASAP to satisfy the travel bug. And what better way to impress your friends than by ordering drinks in the local language? But seriously, research shows that learning a new language is the equivalent of taking your brain to the gym—bilingual speakers can outperform people who speak only one language in focusing on important information and tuning out irrelevant things. This has a huge impact on multitasking abilities and task management.

Ready for some brain CrossFit? Check out platforms like Duolingo or Memrise, where you can learn many languages for free and have fun doing it through a gamified learning system. Now all you need to do is set a short-term goal : one short lesson a day for a month or whatever makes the most sense.

14. Develop one good habit

If I had a nickel for every time someone said that it takes 21 days to form a habit… Well, I’d have a lot of nickels to throw at people who make such claims. This may be true for making minor behavioral changes such as drinking a glass of water before breakfast, but if you want to work on anything impactful, it will take more. A study published in the British Journal of General Practice argues that it takes an average of 66 days to form a good habit.

Think of one thing you could do to improve your lifestyle, set a two-month short-term goal and track your progress each day. A daily checklist is perfect for this—simply check off the box if you stuck to the plan that day. Here’s how Infinity lets you track multiple goals at once (long-term goals alert!) with our Habit Tracker template:

Infinity Habit Tracker Template

15. Take up a new hobby

This is one of the most fun activities to try out on this whole list! Even if you’ve never really had a hobby, there are so many things you can try until you find the one that’s right for you. It can be anything from learning a new instrument, knitting, origami, cooking… Ask yourself if there is something you’ve always wanted to try, no matter how silly or hard it looks.

Since we’re talking about short-term goals here, let’s not get carried away and expect to master playing the violin in a month or learn Python in a week. The goal of this goal (goalception) is to stick to a routine—choose a number of days in a week when you’ll dedicate at least 15 minutes to practicing the new hobby. Try to stick to this plan for a month to see if the hobby is a good fit for you, and if everything works out, increase the amount of time and the number of days to partake in this new activity.

Short-Term Fitness Goals

16. Exercise regularly

When it comes to exercise, the hardest part is to make the first step. You need to step out of your comfort zone and lose all excuses for not exercising, stat. One thing that can kill your motivation to work out is setting a goal that’s too unrealistic. Remember, easy and SMART does it.

If you already have a workout routine, but you’re struggling with consistency, keeping track of progress will help you organize time better and stay on track. Infinity has a Workout Planner template that makes exercise fun—you can mix things up with new routines, keep track of reps and weights, and sort workouts by muscle groups. Beginners can use this template to set a short-term goal of two workouts per week and design them in a way that works best for their needs.

Infinity Workout Planner Template

17. Drink more water

This short-term goal is fairly easy to do—make a deal with yourself to drink one large glass of water more every day. This study shows that drinking 500 ml (17 oz.) water increased energy expenditure by 24% for 60 min after ingestion. If you’re looking for a metabolism boost, it doesn’t get easier than this.

So, set a goal to drink 17 oz. water more each day, either by gulping it all down as soon as you wake up or by dividing it into two glasses of water during the day. Once again, a habit checking tool comes in handy to keep track of your progress.

18. Walk more

Being stuck at home and working remotely has increased the risk of becoming a couch potato. Now that it takes about four steps to commute from your bed to your home office, it’s harder than ever to be physically active. Walking is one of the most convenient ways of exercise, great for people of all ages and body types. There are so many studies confirming the benefits of walking, including this one that shows a positive correlation between walking and cardiovascular health.

Most of us will use the lack of free time as an excuse for not walking more, but don’t fall into that trap. No matter how busy you are, your short-term goal can be to dedicate at least 15 minutes per day to do something amazing for your wellbeing. Download a step counter app to your phone and set a daily goal—this will motivate you to walk more, even if it’s just pacing around the house. Every step counts!

19. Eat more healthily

Eating healthy is an umbrella term for a whole bunch of dieting habits, so in order to pick an attainable short-term goal, we need to focus on a single one. Let’s go through some ideas.

For instance, you can pick one day of the week to eat more healthily. You can also set a goal of not eating snacks for one week or not eating anything after 8 p.m. for a month. The choice is yours just make sure to keep the SMART acronym in mind when picking your short-term goal.

There are a gazillion apps out there that help track daily intake, plan meals, etc. Use this to your advantage—discover healthy recipes, plan your whole week in advance, stay ahead with your plan. Infinity has a Meal Planner template where you can easily add recipes and a list of ingredients you can quickly transform into a grocery list.

Infinity Meal Planner Template

20. Reduce alcohol intake

If you’re a teetotaler, feel free to skip this short-term goal or think of another bad habit you can kick. Most of us indulge in unhealthy things now and again—alcohol, smoking, junk food… While having a drink occasionally is not a big deal, the red flag is when you start using alcohol to vent from the daily stress. After surviving 2020, who’d blame you? But now is the perfect time to work on finding a healthier way to unwind after a long workweek.

First off, you need to figure out how many drinks you have per week on average. We tend to lie to ourselves or simply forget every single glass of wine we had after dinner, so make sure to create a checklist and tick off every drink you’ve had for a month. The results might surprise you. Now that you know your weekly average, the goal is simple—aim to reduce this number by one (and if your weekly average is one, great job!). Keep tracking your progress, and you’ll soon notice the difference.

Guest Post: Five Ways to Finish 2020 Stronger Than You Started

This year has been a wild ride and lots of people are talking about wanting to move beyond 2020 and never look back, but we can use all of these challenges to make us stronger and go into 2021 better than ever

But what if we took the last few months and committed to using what we’ve experienced to lead to personal growth?

Here are five ways to help you leave 2020 stronger than how you came in:

  • Control Your Mindset: With different challenges coming at us from every direction it’s easy to get bogged down in negativity, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed. Remember when it comes to your mindset that you have the ability to override your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.
    • The next time you think something negative, immediately replace it with a more positive thought. I’m not advocating for false optimism, but rather being mindful of your thoughts and not always jumping to worst-case scenarios.
    • What you think dictates how you feel — so take control of your thoughts and make sure you’re focusing on the positive and what you can control.
    • Commit to making daily movement a habit and making smarter decisions to fuel your body better. Eating well and moving more will help you not only physically, but also improve your mental health. You need to take care of yourself — make it a priority and it’ll improve all aspects of your life.
    • As a small business owner, I can say it’s been the hardest year of my life — I own a gym in a global pandemic for heaven’s sake. But instead of using that as an excuse, in March, I committed to somehow coming out of this personally and professionally stronger than before. Yes, this is hard — but doing hard and uncomfortable things is what leads to growth.
    • It’s been said before “never let a crisis go to waste” and I never really understood what that meant until this year. For me and my business, it has forced me to take a serious look at what we do well but even more what we could be doing better and how we can serve our community more.
    • Before you wish away 2020, look for areas where you can actually grow in your professional, personal, and physical life. We don’t get better by going along with the status quo, we get better when we are challenged- and this year has presented plenty of challenges that can act as opportunities to grow, get better, and level up.
    • Others have had a renewed realization of how important relationships with family and friends are. As life keeps marching on, my hope is a positive that comes from this is that we all take more time to value our relationships and spend more time with the people we love and care about. It’s become so evident how important it is to have a support system around you of people who care — life is relational, and spending more time and focus on these relationships is probably the healthiest thing we can do moving forward.
    • In addition to taking the time to support those in your inner circle, it’s also important that we cultivate a true sense of empathy for everyone right now, realizing that we’re all going through our own challenges. Be less quick to make snap judgments and more willing to give people the benefit of the doubt- dude, we’re all trying the best we can right now! Be kind and realize that a lot of people are really overwhelmed right now and doing the best they can with what they’ve got. We’ve never been here before- be patient with the world and those in it as we try to figure it all out and navigate the challenging waters the best we can.
    • It’s on you to decide how you will respond to all of the unknowns and change in the world. Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to be a victim. Seek the good, look for opportunities to grow and level up, have empathy towards those around you, double down on your health and your relationships, and commit to coming out of 2020 stronger than how you came in.

    Remember that you’re not alone, that you have more control than you realize, and that you are strong.