We often talk about middle and high school being the times to start habits for being successful in school, looking into careers, and making a routine. These years are also a great time to start discovering what you are good at, or your talents. One of Meriam-Webster’s definitions of talent is “1. A.) A special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude.” Notice the word special. It doesn’t say that it’s similar to everyone else’s talents. You may be an awesome athlete, but that doesn’t mean you have to play basketball, football, or volleyball – maybe you throw shot put and discus (like me), quidditch, or unicycle hockey.
cliché but I do feel that everyone has a talent. Most people overlook their
talents as something they think everyone can do. You know when people tell you
how amazing your ability is, and you brush it off as nothing. Others don’t try
new experiences to determine if they are good at something. These are the best
years to try new tasks and see where you stand. We as people have a terrible
habit of thinking of failure as something that defines who we are. Failure is
simply a learning tool. It happens to the best of us. If you have never failed
at doing something, you probably have never been challenged. Youth is one of
the best times to fail and learn because your brain still finds it easy to
store new knowledge and get rid of knowledge you don’t use. As we age our
brains aren’t able to do that as much.
Ever since I
was small I have had a love for singing. My father is a great singer and I am
named after a beautiful singer that tragically lost her life in a plane crash
in 2004. So I worked on my singing all my life because I figured it MUST be my
talent. I am a decent singer but I have found another talent as a young adult
that I have never tapped into before. I started attending painting classes and
found that I’m a pretty good painter. My first painting compared to my most
recent are as different as night and day. However, I love seeing my progress
and it makes me feel good. I have 12 paintings that I am very proud of and I
try to do at least one a month. All of my paintings are on my wall somewhere in
Why do we
care about talents? Talents can lead you to finding your career. Could I become
an amazing artist and start selling my art for people to enjoy – maybe! For now
however, it is a talent that helps me de-stress and focus on something I enjoy.
I also get to decorate my room with my art which is an awesome feeling. The possibilities are endless with what your
talents could be! Start figuring them out now! Tell others about them, then you
can find friends that enjoy doing it as well!
You’ll never know until you try, and it’s a worthy feeling to be able to confidently say I did this and I’m good at it or I did that and it’s not for me. Sometimes we try things and realize we’re not good at it and we try harder to become better at it. It’s up to you. It all depends on how it makes you feel. So don’t be afraid to take that class, join/start that club, and write down that poem. You never know where your talents could take you!
The New Year is a time where many people make vows to change old habits and make better choices. Now is a great time to reflect on last semester and look at what worked and what didn’t. It may be time to make new habits or goals. The first step in making new habits/goals for the New Year is writing them down. Pick up a journal or planner and put your goals on paper. It can be as fancy or as simple as you like make sure it’s attractive to you. A great technique when setting goals is making sure they are SMART. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time based). The time on your goal should be no less than 30 days. Start with something simple like, I want to make better grades. That is a great goal, now let’s make it a SMART goal – By studying each subject for 2 hours each week I will make A/B honor roll by the first progress report. Both goals want the same thing, yet, the second statement tells exactly what you want and how you’ll get there. Making SMART goals allows you to make a plan to achieve the goals by changing habits. Give yourself a reward at the end for achieving your goal too!
hardest part about making goals is actually sticking to them. You are used to
doing the same thing every day and when you want to change that your brain has
a hard time adjusting. You won’t feel like it, or you’ll be too tired but
remember the goal! You can also set up small rewards for yourself along the
way. Say you do it the first week, a reward is going to a movie that weekend,
or going to a game on Friday. The second week, you forgot one day to study –
don’t beat yourself up about it. This is where many people stop! Mistakes
happen, you can study extra one day. If you can’t earn it back, then recognize
it and remember to do it the next day. Don’t let shortcomings stop you from
achieving the goal! Forgive yourself and keep pressing forward.
Quick life story: As you may
know, I am a full time graduate student. This past semester for me was
exhausting! I never seemed to have enough time. So a goal for me is to better
prioritize my time with school tasks, work tasks, and my self-care. I bought a
planner that I think is pretty and the layout is the way I want it. I have
already written my work tasks and set deadlines in it. My classes started on
January 6th, so I started using the syllabi to put my school tasks
and deadlines in it. I have work tasks in orange, school tasks in pink, bills
in red, and self-care in light blue (my fav color.) My rewards are nail dates
with my best friend, facials, paint classes, and giving myself time to binge
watch a tv show. These rewards are written in green. The hardest part for me is
making sure I keep it up to date. So I have specific times every day for me to
review and update my planner. I am giving myself a month so see how well this
works for me.
When the due date comes, you are now able to see if you reached your goal! If so, reward yourself! You stuck to it and you achieved what you wanted, by now the habit is probably formed and doing it isn’t such a chore anymore. It’s more of a routine now, and now you have a new habit. Time for another goal. If you didn’t reach the goal, you’re still awesome! Give yourself a smaller reward, you still put in hard work! The great thing about SMART goals is that you can see exactly where you need to change your goals to be successful. Maybe you need three hours, or you need to extend your deadline to the first report card. Tweak it in the best way you feel it will help you. Love yourself by bettering and forgiving yourself. Enjoy the process!