“New year, new me”… “The grind never stops”… “I can sleep when I die”
If this sounds ridiculous to you, you are totally right. If this sounds like you, don’t worry, this was me 6 years ago when I first started my undergrad here at the U of A. Hustle culture has an interesting way of attempting to pull the best out of us by demanding hard work and knowing that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. Yes, there is a lot of merit to these ideas but one thing that is obviously lacking is a health and sustainability component. What is the point in reaching these goals if you don’t have your mental, emotional and physical health intact? If you really want to reach your goals, then striking balance is key. Here are a few of my tips on how to strike that balance. Or in other words, how to hustle in a healthy way.
But first…What is hustle culture?
To me, hustle culture is a lifestyle in which you are dedicated to achieving goals you set for yourself, even if it comes at a cost. What that cost is will depend on your current lifestyle but one key element is something you will have to give in order to prioritize said goal. For students, it can be our GPAs, extracurricular activities, and our lives off-campus which can be very demanding. How we grind to reach our goals might determine how involved in the culture we really are.
Set realistic goals
Setting realistic goals in both the short and long term is key to being able to live with a healthy balance. Focusing on attainable things you can achieve in an hour, day, week and month is the only way to see real strides. It’s not about seeing large changes because that will likely determine you from the original mission. I try to focus on 3-5 tasks that I can complete in a day, 5-7 tasks a week and 5 tasks in the month. Bite-size chunks make achieving your goals more digestible.
Schedule time to meet these realistic goals:
It’s not just about setting your goals but making it possible to achieve them. The way to do that is to have some structure or schedule in how you will get that done. In my experience, just going with the flow when you have time to achieve these goals is a way to find yourself overwhelmed and off track. A little tip to keep in mind when making the schedule is to have budgeted time for “ketchup” time where you have time scheduled to catch up on anything you may have not completed in your allocated time.
Schedule time to rest or your body will schedule it for you:
Building on the above point, it’s important to schedule a time to rest, otherwise, your body will pick for you. The last thing we all want is to burn out in the final stretch. Scheduling time to yourself, to spend with friends, and essentially doing things that will help you recharge is the best way to be realistic. You can’t be all hustle all the time.
Victors don’t win alone:
Most people that accomplish great feats and deliver victory speeches almost always make mention of the people that supported them along the way. This is just another way of saying it’s easier to win with a support system them to win alone. It also makes the wins more enjoyable when you have people to share it with. Whether that be friends, family, mentors or even resource center staff, it’s always humbling to know how many people are truly in your corner.
Check-in and be real with yourself:
Just like me writing this blog post, you must edit, edit and edit again. In the context of your goals, it’s important to reflect continuously on how things are going. First and foremost, you have to ask yourself how you are doing. Then put that into the perspective of your goals. Have you been successful, yes or no? If not, then why not? Don’t take your losses too personally but view them as a necessary roadblock in whatever greatness life has in store for you next. Using your losses as a humble approach to shifting your efforts is a necessary step in bouncing back. It’s also worth asking yourself if the goal is worth it. Don’t carry on doing something if it doesn’t serve you or the larger goals you have in place.
Set and remember your boundaries:
Boundaries with friends, family, work, and most crucial of all, ourselves. You know the things that can put you off track. Whether that be distractions, vices or anything else you want to root out, it’s important to have boundaries to better understand yourself and how they can impact your goals. Don’t feel bad for having to be real with the others in your life about what you really need.
Have a system of accountability:
Systems of accountability can help you stay on track. If you stumble or fall, these systems can pick you up and refocus you. To some people, it’s their daily affirmations, to others, it’s people they trust, and to others, it is reading and writing past/future letters to yourself. Whatever it is, make sure you have mechanisms that can keep you accountable for what you want. Don’t get in the habit of collecting red flags and accountability makes sure that doesn’t happen.