Looking ahead to 2018, you might be wondering what it takes to successfully set and achieve goals. For answers, we tapped the faculty and staff we interviewed in 2017 for words of insight, encouragement, and inspiration. These time-tested tips are sure to get you psyched for the 90-day Dare to Do New Year’s challenge and set you on the path to success.
“Every year you start with a blank canvas and, no matter what you do, every year is different.”
That’s Mary Lou Mulflur, head coach of UW Women’s Golf, talking about how she approaches each new season at UW (2018 will mark her 35th as UW’s longest serving head coach). Mulflur observes that in order to make gains in practice, you have to keep your mind engaged.
“All this neuroscience is telling us is if the brain is not engaged, it’s not going to learn,” she says. “When you stop learning, you stop growing.”
That could mean finding an interesting new podcast for the gym or taking a deep dive into the science behind exercise. If your current routine feels stagnant, change it up with one of these Whole U workout plans. If you feel as though you’re hitting a wall, consider dialing it back rather than ramping up.
“You gain control by giving up control,” Mulflur says. “You do your prep-work and…work long enough, finally one goes in.”
In May, we sat down with Elise Ray, head coach of UW Gymnastics. The former U.S. Olympian shared her thoughts on how achieving goals can be as much about building relationships as it is about performance, ascribing her squad’s recent success to “a beautiful chemistry” derived from investing in her student-athletes’ “whole selves.”
If your focus in the New Year is to build relationships that strengthen your resolve, consider one of the UW’s social group or join us in one of our Eating Well and Being Active Facebook communities. The smallest first steps toward success really do go a long way.
“You want to have little goals every day because it feels really rewarding and fulfilling to reach them,” Ray says. “That’s your motivating factor.”
Director of Athletics Jennifer Cohen joined Coach Ray on the field at Husky Stadium later that month to help lead more than 700 staff and faculty in a circuit training workout for UW Fitness Day. No matter the endeavor, to find success, Cohen emphasizes process over prize-seeking.
“We start with the value structure and an expectation that our student-athletes are going to be of the highest character and held to that standard,” she says.
“We talk about that a lot here: are we doing the little things right every day; are we behaving to our core values; are we sticking to what we say our priorities are? If we’re doing that, we’re going to be rewarded.”
Cohen calls it “a mindset of constant improvement,” encouraging those who strive to be “the best” to find balance between caring for relationships and friendships, while also taking time to care for oneself by way of personal fitness, nutrition, sleep, and mindfulness.
The same month, Thomas Kuljam shared his thoughts on how he found purpose as director of UW Tacoma’s Veterans Incubator for Better Entrepreneurship (VIBE).
“I don’t want to live my life as a title, but more of a testimonial,” says the former banker and Air Force mechanic.
“It took me half of my life to figure out what my purpose is. My purpose now isn’t transactional; it’s transformational.”
For sustained success in any undertaking, Kuljam quotes Lieutenant General Michael Ferriter, who presented as part of VIBE’s Brown Bag series last October: “Winners leave clues. If you’re smart, you learn from your mistakes. But if you’re really smart, you learn from other people’s mistakes.”
As co-founder and coach of Team Transplant, which helps organ transplant patients train for half-marathons, Alysun Deckert knows exercise is a gateway to countless other opportunities.
If your goal is to move more this winter, stay inspired by remembering how that newfound confidence will translate to other areas of you life.
“For many, [running] is a good way to build their confidence up so they can go do other things—whatever that is,” says Deckert, who serves as clinical nutrition manager at the University of Washington Medical Center.
“It’s about getting people out and saying, yes, you can exercise, you can go a little farther, you can push yourself a little harder.”
If you’re feeling resistant to embarking on a new routine in 2018, it’s helpful to acknowledge such feelings are natural. Danny Arguetty, manager of UW Recreation’s Mindfulness Program explains why.
“When you sense you are resistant to something, it’s an opportunity to assess and ask, ‘Is it genuine? Have I tried that activity and I genuinely know that it doesn’t work for me?’ Or, am I resistant because this is an activity that requires a little boundary-setting or effort?”
Arguetty encourages people to set achievable terms for success: “We often think we need to do something 100% of the time, but if you can move your body for 30 to 45 minutes, 3-4 times a week, that becomes a pretty amazing movement ritual.”
Find alignment in the new year by signing up for one (or both) of two 8-week Yoga Series for only $45 each (register and learn more here). Then, continue your mindfulness practice by attending our Yoga Retreat for $45 (register here).
Even when you’re winning big, it’s the losses and setbacks along the way that often prove most ready to impart impactful lessons.
“I know there are far bigger lessons to be learned when you fail and that you can get through it,” says Head Coach of UW Women’s Soccer Lesle Gallimore, who notched her 250th victory in her 24th season as a Husky head coach. “For me a successful formula has been: you can’t really dwell on the past other than on the things that we want to carry forward that make us successful.”
“We try to be process oriented as opposed to outcome oriented,” she says of her team’s approach.
“If we stick to that, I think it makes it more educational for the team and more enjoyable for everybody.”
An internationally acclaimed dancer, Bruce McCormick brings his philosophy for physical and spiritual fitness back to a single breath.
“Movement is something we all do—it stems from breath,” he says. “If you’re breathing, you’re moving. That’s the simple kernel that connects us all as human beings—whether it goes through a sophisticated process to become choreography or develops from something more emotional—it’s the most basic way that we as human beings connect.”
For McCormick, making connections with others through dance starts by staying in conversation with his own body.
“Whether it’s doing a few simple exercises at home in the morning to get into my body or taking a ballet class, it’s important to stay connected to that voice as an artist, which is essentially my voice as a human being.”
Todd Tuetken trains Olympic athletes, but says even the most elite performers can’t succeed unless they attend to baseline factors such as nutrition and sleep.
“Take care of the basics—that usually takes care of a lot of other things. If you’re doing the basics, it takes care of 90% of the issues that might come up. That’s why the basics are the basics: they work.”
For Tuetken, strength is about feeling comfortable more than powerful. He tailors workouts to fit teams’ style of play and advocates training in small groups to build camaraderie and accountability.
“In basketball, our saying is ‘Tougher Together,’ because that’s the truth: when you play as a team on the court and work together as a team off the court, that’s when it’s really special.”
Wellness takes many forms—physical, mental, and otherwise. Just ask Pamella Guntrum, whose unique monthly lunchtime ritual at Harborview Medical Center brings peace of mind to patients and medical practitioners alike.
“I like being in a place to help people feel better and to have the knowledge and resources to attain optimum health,” she says. “In my experience, health is more than just the absence of disease.”
Stay tuned for more tips in 2018. Our resolution at The Whole U is to fill the New Year with new insights from around the UW. Register for Dare to Do today to get ahead—and stay ahead—on your goals.