Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!

This is a tough time of year for those of us who make resolutions. On New Year’s Eve, we think of all the habits we’ll break this year, the foods we’ll stop eating, the things we’ll start doing… And by January 4th it’s all out the window. Every. Single. Year.

But this year — this year can be different. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your resolutions this time around.

Set attainable goals. It’s good to reach for perfection, but you need to be realistic, too, or you’ll get discouraged when you slip up. Instead of resolving to “Never eat unhealthy food again! Diet time!” try to make small changes to your eating habits. You could decide to stop eating donuts for breakfast, or include a salad every day at lunch, or not drink more than one soda in one sitting. You’ll notice that these goals are realistic because they’re more specific. Many times we want to accomplish big vague things (e.g., work out more, procrastinate less, save the world) without taking into consideration how it will happen. Which leads me to my next point…

Make smaller goals to accomplish larger goals. As with any plan, you need to look at the steps along the way. Let’s say you want to get all A’s this semester. (And who doesn’t, really?) What do you need to do to get there? Try incorporating smaller goals into your week: study for an extra hour on weekends, read the chapter more than once, or wake up five minutes earlier to make sure you have everything ready for class.

Take your time. Progress doesn’t happen overnight. I once heard a suggestion to write down (every day) one thing you’ll stop doing that day and one thing you’ll start doing that day. It sounds great because it’s like baby steps, but in reality I think that’d end up being a lot of things to keep track of. And doesn’t it supposedly take three weeks to make or break a habit? So yes, try working on one thing at a time, but make sure you’re pacing yourself so you actually accomplish things. You’ll feel better if you solidly cross off a few of your resolutions instead of halfway attempting and then failing all of them.

Stay positive. You might break one of your resolutions accidentally (or intentionally — we’re all human), but that doesn’t mean you’re a failure overall. Henry Ford said: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” So don’t use failure as an excuse to give up!

Now that you’re ready to conquer the semester, here are some possible resolutions you could make:

  1. Apply for scholarships. College students are stereotyped as poor for a reason. Check out the scholarships available through Purdue here (deadlines are coming up!) or register on sites like FastWeb, Cappex or CollegeScholarships.org.
  2. Make the most of your meal plan. It’s already paid for, so why not? The nutritional information the dining courts provide makes it easy for you to keep your ‘eat healthy’ resolution, too.
  3. Hit up the CoRec at least once a week. They have personal trainers and a few fitness programs available, which you can check out here.
  4. Join a club or non-profit organization. Purdue has lots of clubs to choose from, and Lafayette holds other volunteer opportunities.

If you need more ideas, Olusegun Ajuwon over at Purdue Student Life wrote a great post called 13 Resolutions for 2013.

What are some of your resolutions?

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