Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

Students thrive at motivational workshop

Posted on February 29, 2016 in Community
By USM Free Press

Nathan Baril

By Raquel Miller

In a partnership with the University health and counseling services, USM’s TRIO Services held two motivational workshops on Monday Feb. 22 and Wednesday Feb. 24 in an effort to provide students with the tools to approach and reshape their goals throughout the year.

As we all know, some goals and resolutions are easier said than done during the new year. Creating New Year’s resolution has become a societal norm and creates a lot of hype and ambition, but often fizzles into little follow through. I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to quit smoking.  I’m going to workout five times a week.  Essentially, these goals and resolutions turn into the hope of doing something more, doing something better or eliminating something all together. That is pretty drastic, but not impossible. What becomes impossible and what becomes our failures, is the way we approach our goals.

Tom Gilley from the USM Counseling Center lead the interactive workshop on Wednesday, with the goal of getting participants to actively think about their goals.

He began his workshop by presenting the “1,000 Dollar Challenge,” which creates an imaginary scenario where 1,000 dollars has been hidden somewhere in town, and without the ability to collaborate with one another or without imaginary access to a car–with only the access to a map–participants must find the money.  The first one to the money, gets to keep it.  it was a simple concept, but one that allow participants to see that when they have a specific goal in mind that is reachable and imminent, their brain begins to focus on completing the challenge and goal at hand.  

Afterward, he presented a helpful tool for goal setting that reevaluates one’s goal and addresses how a goal can be achieved in specific, achievable ways.  Through the SMART sheet, participants outlined their goals by ensuring aspects of their goal are Specific, Meaningful, Attainable, Rewarding, and Time-Bound.  Translating a goal like “I will lose weight” into “I will eat 5 servings of fruit and veggies” makes the goal possible and urges the participant to reflect on whether or not the goal is right for them.  

While this aspect of the motivational workshop urged students to reevaluate what could be their New Year’s resolutions, some students like Ariana Whalen, a senior political science and philosophy major, prefer not to participate.

“I think it’s a weird societal norm to make goals or resolutions one day a year.As an individual, you should be working to improve year round,” Whalen said.

During the workshop, Gilley uses an exercise where participants took four steps forward, return to the starting position, change their direction once more, and took another four steps.  As a result, people ran into one another, they avoided each other or cue each other to stay or go. More importantly, participants ended up in a completely different place than if they had continued in a straight line.

Gilley had students participate in this exercise because it reveals the concept of “course correction.”

“Once you get momentum, a minor change in course can change where you end up and sometimes you need to reach out to others, avoid obstacles or let others pass before you. Ultimately you continue forward and work toward your goal.” Gilley stressed.

It’s important for people to remember that the goals we set for ourselves are not impossible, but sometimes it is a simple matter of reworking of the approach.  One approach might work for your sibling or best friend but won’t be the best choice for you.  It is inevitable that we are going to fail sometimes, but we can’t let obstacles, other people or changes hinder our achieving our goals.



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