Being Realistic for the New Year

It’s safe to say that most people break their New Year’s resolutions within a few weeks (maybe even a few days) of making them. January 17th is even notorious for being the day when most people quit trying to fulfill their resolutions.

Many people resolve to make drastic changes to their lives with the promise of a new year, but sometimes these goals are difficult to fulfill because they are too ambitious. So, we’ve created a list of alternative resolutions that are a bit more attainable and can apply to your everyday life:

1. Don’t procrastinate.
Whether it’s the latest homework assignment or a chore your parents have been nagging you about for the past couple hours, you don’t want to wait until the last minute and risk messing up. Plus, having nothing to do once you’ve completed all your tasks and everything is out of the way is a pretty good feeling.

Things to try: Make a plan for each assignment as soon as you get it. Start using a calendar or planner to keep on track of your to-do-list.

2. Take some time for yourself.
Running from one place to another with a venti coffee in one hand and our smartphone in the other, we seem to always be too busy. It may seem unrealistic to find any time to take a breath, but even putting aside 15 minutes of your day to do something you love that relaxes you will greatly decrease your stress.

Things to try: Keep one night a week to yourself to relax. Turn off your phone an hour before bed and let that time be yours for activities that help you sleep: try a warm bubble bath or a cup of tea.

3. Read more.
It’s so easy to get bogged down by homework and your part-time job that it’s natural to flip on the TV in your spare time. Instead, pick up a newspaper, magazine, or book and read for an hour or so. It doesn’t have to be a lot of work; if you’re interested in the topic you’re reading about, it will expand your mind and be a relaxing break from those math problems due tomorrow.

Things to try: Try a new book a month by reading for a short time before bed each night. Subscribe to a monthly magazine you enjoy.

4. Be more open to new experiences.
With a new year just beginning, it’s easy to get right back into the same old patterns of the last year. Go out and try something new and you might just surprise yourself with how much you enjoy it.

Things to try: Go to a new restaurant you’ve been dying to try. Get a group of friends together every month and go see new movies.

5. Reach out and contact old friends.
As the semester comes to a close, homework and studying can be overwhelming. All this stress can cause you to temporarily cut contact with your old friends who aren’t necessarily at school and you don’t see every day. Remember, once you’re passed the exam season, take some time to reconnect with the people you miss.

Things to try: Make recurring plans with old friends to meet for coffee every few weeks. Start writing letters to someone who has moved away.

6. Reserve judgement and listen to others.
First impressions are rarely accurate and that’s why it’s so important to be aware when passing judgement. It’s almost never the case that you know the full story, so remember to avoid forming a false opinion of someone. Instead of jumping to conclusions about someone, get to know them first and you may learn you have more in common with them than you realized.

Things to try: Pick up a volunteer job, for example at a retirement home or a soup kitchen, where you get to meet new people and expand your perspective. Join a club at school with people you wouldn’t normally hang out with.

7. Focus on people who make you happy.
Take a step away from the people who bring you down and, instead, focus on those who make you happy. The number of people in your life isn’t representative of you as a person. However, the quality of those friendships says a lot.

Things to try: Instead of parties and hanging out in big groups, spend time with individual friends to get to know them on a deeper level through coffee dates or dinners out.

8. Be patient and take small steps towards your goals.
It’s easy to get discouraged about your goals if you don’t see results right away. We encourage you to be patient and not give up. It will take some time to finally see your goals realized, but once that happens, the feeling of accomplishment will be worth it.

Things to try: Don’t commit to working out every day if you barely do it already, just start with once a week. Instead of saying to “eat healthy,” commit to eating an extra portion or two of vegetables each day or eat dessert every second day.

Regardless of the goals you set for yourself this new year, it is important to remember that to make them successful they also have to be realistic. Start small.