The new year is here, and that means resolutions. Unlike the rest of the year, the resolutions I make to start anew with the turn of the calendar are ones that will be kept…at least, that’s what we all tell ourselves. If you’re like me, you struggle with making resolutions that stick. I know as a college student it’s easy to think that you have enough on your plate, just trying to stay afloat in school, but making New Year’s resolutions is a great way to get on track to accomplish your goals.
Here to help make your New Year’s resolutions gel with your busy school schedule is my list of five resolutions all college students should consider.
1. Finish assignments at least a day early
One of the leading causes of stress in college is the constant due date countdown. The fact of the matter is, any time you take to go out with friends or watch the latest episode of your Netflix binge is time you consciously choose to put off the completion of one, or more, assignments. You really feel the weight of those choices to procrastinate in the last 24 hours before you have to turn something in. So, take away that stress by committing to turn in all assignments – or at least get them done - at least a day early.
Don’t think that this means you won’t be able to go out with friends or binge to your hearts content! Your friends, and Netflix, will still be there the day after you get that big paper done.
2. Get a minimum number of hours of sleep each night
When the choice is made to put off previously mentioned assignments for previously mentioned activities, sleep is the first thing to go. You almost always wake up the next day vowing to not make that mistake again, only to rinse and repeat that same night. It might be hard, but sleep is one of the most important things the body can possibly receive to function at its highest capacity. Consistent lack of sleep contributes to a weakened immune system, less focus, and many other health issues, usually leading to a lower GPA.
Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, but a good place to start is the recommended eight hours a night for adults. You’ll feel better, more energetic, and more focused if you can get yourself in and out of bed on time.
3. Work out X times a week
Getting in shape is one of the most commonly set resolutions. A healthy body promotes a healthy mind, something that every college student could use.
Whether you prefer to hit the gym or work out in your dorm, set yourself a weekly attendance goal. What matters is that you show up, so put less pressure on yourself to hit a goal weight and focus on working out in a way you enjoy.
4. Step out of your comfort zone once a week
New Year’s resolutions are all about growth. We want to better ourselves by pushing our limits. That being said, we all have that safe space we turn to when we’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. The size and scope of that zone differs for each person, but we could all be a little better by stepping out of our comfort zone on a regular basis. Do something that pushes you every week. It doesn’t always have to be some huge journey - it can be as simple as saying hello to someone you pass on your way to class or raising your hand to say something during a lecture.
Start small and test the waters, and eventually, those hellos on the way to class will go a long way to gradually increasing the size of your comfort zone.
5. Introduce yourself to your professors (and take advantage of office hours)
In almost every college class I’ve attended, the first seats to fill up are the ones in the back. You do your best not to be noticed by the professor and fly under the radar for the duration of the semester. There is almost an unspoken agreement between you and the teacher that neither will bother the other and your lives will continue as normal. The hitch is, when the big project comes up and you just don’t know what to do, or your grade is sitting perilously close to the pass/fail line and you need to get the best grade possible, you will approach the professor for help only to have them ask who you are.
If you’re looking for a leg up in the classroom, introduce yourself to your professor at the beginning of the semester and maintain contact throughout. You don’t have to become best friends, but when you need a hand, it helps if the professor knows who you are and isn’t surprised to see you walk through their office door.
Resolutions are designed to help us focus our energy into a select number of improvements we can make in our lives. Trying to tackle all our faults at once would be counterproductive and very possibly make things worse. We are rarely ever perfect with our New Year’s resolutions, but if you’re looking for resolutions that come with extra incentives and benefits, these are definitely worth considering.