As the confetti settles, resolutions die out, and the gleam of the new year fades, we all continue to settle into comfort. However, I find a beauty in the new year. As we change our calendars and wait for new semesters to begin, it reminds us to take opportunities. To search for new ways to better ourselves, our communities, and the world. This year the University of Texas at Austin started its very own chapter of Movement Exchange. In 2017, Taylor Schmuelgen took an opportunity to create change in the Austin community and across the globe.
Taylor came to me asking if I would help bring an organization to campus. In the process of starting a new organization on campus, I learned a lot about how to set a goal and fulfill it. Here are some parallels between creating a new chapter of Movement Exchange and achieving your New Year’s goals and resolutions.
Step 1: Commitment
Move Ex: First, Taylor wondered how to combine her interests, helping others and dance. She did her research to stumble across Move Ex. She explored Movement Exchange’s success at other universities, and then decided to bring a chapter to the University of Texas at Austin. Taylor then attended a Move-Ex leadership conference last summer to learn more about how to run a non-profit student organization.
Goals: First steps are to ask what do I want to achieve? Start with what interests you, and where you imagine yourself in the future. Research others who have accomplished similar goals, and look into how they were successful. Next commit to a manageable and achievable goal, and write it down somewhere you will see it often (bathroom mirror, car, phone screen, etc.).
Step 2: Conquer and Divide
Move Ex: Movement Exchange has a well organized leadership outline. Dividing the main tasks and commitments into leadership positions made the responsibility of starting an organization manageable. Taylor started with an application for board members and soon than later Move Ex UT had its own president, secretary, treasurer, marketing director, local outreach director, and fundraising committee.
Goals: Once you choose your goal, design a way to break it down into smaller parts. It could be creating little goals each day or month that amount to your end goal. For example, if you want to complete a marathon, you wouldn’t start running twenty miles. You would do a little of the distance each week and continue building up the mileage
Step 3: Find Help
Move Ex: Every successful student organization needs a strong member involvement. In the beginning, getting the word out about Movement Exchange can be difficult. We used social media and organization fairs to gain participation. This semester our chapter has increased member participation, and we hope to continue growing. We have great members who volunteer weekly, and help fundraise for our future exchange in Panama. Move Ex created a community for me and others to meet with a common goal of bringing joy to others.
Goals: In the research process, it’s helpful to identify other individuals who have achieved similar goals. To find help, try to look for communities. Back to the example, you could look for a run club or read a blog about marathon training. Most times our family and friends can be the best help. You can ask them to help keep you accountable for your goals.
Step 4: Continue Planning for the Future
Move Ex: Even with a young chapter, we have continued making new plans for the future of the organization. The first semester we had a couple of opportunities to volunteer in the community, and for next semester we have already expanded the places we volunteer. As our chapter grows, our goals grow as well.
Goals: Once your you achieve your goals or your resolutions become habitual, you can continue expanding. As you grow, allow your goals to grow. If something doesn’t seem to be working, revisit the goal and try a new approach.
Step 5: Celebrate Success
Move Ex: Starting a new chapter of Movement Exchange can seem overwhelming, but it’s manageable and fulfilling. Our President, Taylor Schmuelgen, always looks on the bright side, and it motivates all the members. Every step of the way we would take note of each small success. From when we started our first community classes for children in a shelter to setting up our first fundraiser, I could see Movement Exchange begin to flourish.
Goals: With personal goals it’s easy to focus on the negative. Instead try to measure every positive step forward. Celebrate your perseverance and your desire to reach a goal.
Whether it is starting a new chapter of Movement Exchange or committing to a new goal, it can all be done with a little planning, help from some friends, and positive thinking. This past year, I have joined movement exchange and watched our new chapter flourish. I can’t wait to see the lives Movement Exchange UT will touch this coming year. Good luck with your goals and Happy New Year.
– Addison Norman, Dance Diplomat from Movement Exchange at UT Austin