The following exercises were used throughout the first five seasons of the College Student Success Podcast. If you’ve set a goal and are struggling to figure out how to get the steps mapped out, or if you’re stuck on a particular step, perhaps one of these exercises can help you “level up.”

Fall 2015 Semester
  1. Set a big goal that ties into your passion.
  2. Write it down, then figure out the first few steps and write them down too.
  3. Figure out dependable time capture and task management tools.
  4. Look back at the first steps, think about what they might have in common, they should lead you to developing a simple ritual (waking up earlier, studying at same time every day, drinking more water).
  5. Think about the people around you, or the places where you have the opportunity to meet people. Think about one person you can approach to have a conversation. Again, you’re not asking them to be your mentor. You just want them at this point to know who you are.
  6. Work a weekly review into your workflow; get into the ritual of methodically checking up on your To-Do list and calendar at least once a week.
  7. Write down the things that are bogging you down.  Which quadrant of the Urgency/Importance matrix do you see them in? How we can we devote more of our time and resources to Quadrant 2?
  8. This week, take a step back, and look at where you’re at a little more globally. Are you on the right path? How has your perception of your situation changed?
  9. Be proactive! Do something to get you closer to your goals that you’ve been thinking about but having trouble executing.
  10. Clarify your To-Do list. Are all of the steps actionable? Are you waiting on anything from anyone? Start a Someday/Maybe list to get those things off your mind.
  11. Ponder the idea that happiness is a choice. Think about ways you reduce the negative feelings and promote the positive ones. Think about who you spend time with. Take one small step, try and make one tiny change that’s doable that might begin to lead you in this direction.
  12. Express gratitude to someone else in written form. A handwritten note would be best, but email is allowed for this exercise.
  13. Do an 80/20 analysis on your remaining school commitments. What is that most important 20% that is going to lead to 80% of the output? Dedicate time in the next week to those activities.
  14. Consider making some flash cards to use as a study tool.  If you’re already past the point of this being a viable strategy, then don’t worry about it, and instead consider using my flash card note-taking system next semester.
Spring 2016 Semester
  1. Set a goal and think about it considering my 5 Factors (Passion, Value, Leverage, Accountability, Sustainability), and areas where you may need to pay special attention to (Passion).
  2. Think about what you need for your happiness and well-being. Consider what happiness achieving your goal will bring you. Write down your goal, and why you want it (Accountability).
  3. Pick one thing Zack and I talked about in the interview that will help you in reaching your goal, block out space in your calendar this week to do that one thing, and do it (Sustainability).
  4. Examine lack of progress more closely if needed, look at your life’s defaults through an honest lens (Value).
  5. Try out one of the note-taking suggestions/tips talked about in the episode in one of your classes over the next week (Accountability).
  6. Complete a study plan for the one midterm that is currently stressing you the most. If your goal does not relate to school, take a step back, see how you’re progressing, and re-evaluate your To-Do list (Accountability).
  7. Consider your “brand.” Think about how your brand could impact you as a potential employee down the road. If you are not in a position to start branding yourself now, at least write down your personal brand idea and file it somewhere you won’t forget it (Passion).
  8. If you’re struggling to achieve your goal, confirm you are truly in the preparation/action stage when it comes to the goal you set in the beginning of the semester (Sustainability).
  9. Think back to a time in your life when you persevered and succeeded. It could be a memory from a long time ago, or a recent event, but think about your own personal qualities and what you showed to yourself and others when making that achievement. Write about it if you can. What can you use from that experience to propel you closer to your current goal (Leverage)?
  10. Now that you are 2/3 through the semester, stand up and take a 30,000 foot view of your goal, the progress you’ve made so far, how much you have left to go, and if you need to make any changes in the direction you’re headed (Accountability).
  11. Talk to somebody about, or ask someone for advice about your goal.  The person you ask should know more about your goal topic than you do. Take a risk, ask someone you’re slightly intimidated by, you’d be surprised who might respond with some great words of wisdom (Passion).
  12. Thank a support in your life that’s been there for you (Value).
  13. Quit something you know in your heart you need to quit. If you can’t do it today, write down what you want to quit, how you think you can do it, and store it somewhere safe to return to later. This is not Derek telling you to quit something, but rather I’m giving you permission to listen to your heart and gut, especially if you’ve noticed in the past that doing so has been the right decision (Sustainability).
  14. List 5 forms of human capital that you feel you possess. You may include forms of social capital as part of this exercise. Write down and execute how to leverage one of those areas in achieving your goal (Leverage).
Fall 2016 Semester
  1. Write down you goal for this semester. It should be one single goal, something you really, really want, and something you can achieve in 3 months.
  2. Now that you have a goal, it’s time to map it out. Begin to break the goal down in chunks. Each chunk can be broken down further into steps (not all at once if you don’t want). Give at least one chunk a deadline.
  3. Take something you’ve been procrastinating on, and “put it to bed.” Either do it, or figure out why you’re not doing it, and take care of that issue. Or don’t do it, and be fine with the fact that you’ve changed directions, or it’s really not due yet.
  4. How does online learning relate to your goal this semester? It might not currently, but is there a way you can leverage any low cost/free online resources? Think about the lifelong learner.
  5. Pick one of the Wealth-Building Principles and determine how it can help your goal become a reality. This might be more of a long-term play for many, but consider these principles and which ones you might want to better embrace as you focus on your goals.
  6. Take stock of where you’re at with your goal progress so far. Make adjustments as needed.
  7. Evaluate your need to seek help. Do you need help with your goal? Where would you expect to find that help? Write down your possible solutions and make a plan to get that help.
  8. Figure out one way to build resiliency and anti-fragility in your life. Is there any way that the goal you’re working on will make you more resilient or anti-fragile?
  9. Brainstorm 1-2 people you can target as mentors to help you reach the goal you’re working on, or some other goal that you have on your radar. This exercise is meant to be long-term in that it might not relate right now to what you’re working on, but my pay off down the road. Start laying the groundwork now.
  10. Explore your school’s disability office as much as you feel comfortable. It might mean simple web research, calling them, or even making a visit. Find out the services they offer and determine whether they can help you with your goal.
  11. Determine your present momentum direction (positive or negative?). Where is the friction? Work to lessen it.
  12. Figure out what you’re grateful for, and write it down. Better yet, tell somebody else.
  13. Listen to one episode of Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcast (23 min long). The episode is actually a chapter from his newest audiobook Ask Gary Vee, and it’s all about self-awareness.
  14. No home exercise this week. Get your ‘real’ homework done!
Spring 2017
  1. Set a SMART goal with an approximate completion date of 3-4 months from now. It may help to think about your goal in terms of wellness.
  2. Complete the Personal Medicine Worksheet (link above), considering how it relates to your goal.
  3. Tell one other person about the goal you intend to achieve this semester. This accountability trick helps make the goal “real” if you’ve been holding it inside of you up until now, and also serves as a means to get started if you haven’t already.
  4. Tackle the scariest step of your goal that’s within reach. Time to make some real progress. Be fearless in your pursuit of that goal.
  5. Create a list of Wellness activities that you can “put in your toolbox/arsenal” to keep yourself well while in college.
  6. Complete your Academic Daily Wellness Plan that will outline the habits you find helpful in maintaining your academic wellness.
  7.  Complete the section of the Academic Wellness Plan on Triggers.
  8.  Complete the section of the Academic Wellness Plan on When Things Break Down / Get Worse.
  9. Finish completing your WRAP plan.
  10. Finish the last big chunk of your goal that you’ve been working on this week, or start planning out the next chunk of your goal.
  11. Look out for times you use heuristics over the next week, and how they influence your decision-making.
  12. Incorporate at least 1 of the cognitive tips/strategies into life this week for school or for your semester goal.
Fall 2017
  1. Pick a goal, something you want that matters to you. Write it down, and better yet, tell someone you’re close to about it to help with accountability.
  2. Write down a plan for your goal. List out the steps, assign a deadline to the first step. Put that step on your To-Do List.
  3. Take one step this week to “find your tribe.” If you’re already new to a tribe this semester, do one thing to strengthen your ties with that new tribe.
  4. Ask for some help related to your goal.
  5. Do research related to your goal. What do you need to learn more about in order to work more efficiently, save money, and/or become more effective at achieving your goal. There’s always something we can learn that can help!
  6. Reach out to one of your instructors for something you need. It could be related to your academic goals, or maybe it’s something about a personal goal that can be helped by networking.
  7. Do an 80/20 analysis on your goal. Are the efforts you are putting in giving you the maximum amount of return? If not, consider alternatives.
  8. Explore your campus for resources that might be relevant in your goal pursuits. Perhaps there is some program or group or club that you were unaware existed! Explore your school’s website, talk to other students with similar interests, spend some time looking at the school bulletin boards for opportunities.
  9. Take a week and reflect on your goal progress, or lack thereof. Just observe, note how you feel, and don’t pass judgement either way. Try to stay in the moment this week, and perhaps reach out to learn more about some type of mindfulness practice.
  10. Check in on goal progress (2/3 of the way done with the semester), and attempt to create some planned happenstance in your life over the next week!
  11. Don’t take a MH Day for the sake of it, but keep it in your Wellness Toolbox, and/or add it to your WRAP plan for future use if you think it’s a viable strategy that makes sense for your recovery.
  12. Enjoy time off with friends and family.
  13. Plan out ways to wrap up your goal if achievement is in sight! Also check out different programs on campus related to mindfulness, meditation, and other practices that can help with the things we discussed.
  14. Explore one of the new innovative mental health treatments/practices we described today.
  15. Reflect back on your goal achievement, or lack thereof. Relax and enjoy what you’ve learned/accomplished.