As 2017 graciously came to an end, many students inevitably decided to take a step back and regroup for the upcoming year and imposing semester. As cliché as it might be, I sincerely love New Year’s resolutions. It’s something about the hope for the upcoming year that just helps my spirits soar until around mid-February when reality sets in and life gets tough again. Personally, the end of 2017 saw the closing of so many chapters in my life, both happy and sad, so maybe that’s why I feel particularly renewed and hopeful for 2018.
That being said, I know better than anyone else how likely I am to stick to the New Year’s goals that I set after the third glass of wine on New Year’s Eve. However, there are a few things I’ve learned that help set me up to feel accomplished 365 days later.
1.) Pick a word that you want your year to embody. I would love to be able to take credit for this tip since it’s become a personal favorite, but a good friend of mine introduced this to me my sophomore year of college. The beauty of this is that your word can be as complicated or simple as you want. The meaning of your word can also change for you as the year progresses. For example, my word(s) for this year are “persistence” and “consistency.” I’ve splattered them around my room, in planners, and in every notebook in the hope that the tiny reminders I’m leaving myself will provide encouragement in the year ahead.
2.) Set smaller, more attainable goals in addition to larger goals. Often, we get ahead of ourselves and set a goal that we won’t see come to fruition for weeks if not months later. Instead of saying you want to lose 30 pounds, commit to losing 5 pounds a month for 6 months. Before you scrawl “make President’s list” across your list, decide to study an extra 2 hours a week. Smaller goals that you can meet quicker will help you stay on track without getting discouraged looking at the bigger picture.
3.) Find your community to keep you accountable. There’s a reason solitary confinement is a punishment in prison. People need other people. We need to have someone there to tell us we’re not alone and to push us to be our best. If you want to make better grades, find at least one person that’s willing to study with you in a way that’s beneficial to you both. If your roommate gets up at 7 a.m. and you can barely crawl out of bed by noon, then ask them to wake you up occasionally. Support each other, it’s a tough world out there.
4.) Be willing to put yourself out there. Change is uncomfortable, but it is possible. Make conscious decisions that lead to the change you want to see in your life. If you want to be more involved on campus, then sign up for a new club and make yourself go. Follow through and eventually the change you fought so hard will be a comfortable part of your life.
5.) Seize the day. I know, these are getting more and more “Starbuck’s White Girl” as we go. But honestly, stop putting things off. If you want to travel more in 2018, then get in your car and go. We live in the Hub City which is great because there are so many places you can go that are only around an hour away. If you want better grades, then open a book right now. If you want to run a marathon, then get out the door and run a mile. There’s only 349 days left in the year, use them while you can.
6.) Know you don’t need a new year to make a new change. This is your life. You have the freedom at any time to change the direction. You are the master of your fate, you are the captain of your soul.