Let’s face it, most New Years resolutions don’t stick. Why? Because they’re hard.
Finding the motivation to keep a year-end goal is no easy task, and when you factor in class, homework, and exams it seems impossible to find the time for anything else. How’re you supposed to dedicate yourself to a year-long change AND get a passing grade in bio-chem?
What I’d like to propose is a different take on the standard New Year’s resolution. Instead of setting some kind of grand, life-altering ambition for the year, why not focus that energy into a few small, everyday changes? Pretty soon these small changes can become part of your lifestyle and second nature.
Here are six practical, realistic New Year’s resolutions that any college student can make. Most of them only take a few minutes to do, and over the course of a year can really add up.
Yes, we could all be a bit more financially frugal, that’s a no-brainer. If it was that easy though we’d all have a nice little cushion hanging out in our savings account.
Rather than stressing over creating a yearly savings plan or calling up your local Charles Schwab branch, find an empty jar and start putting your loose change in it (personally I use a pasta sauce jar). Every time you come home and change your clothes throw whatever coins that are in your pockets into that jar. Once the jar fills up count how much was in there and go treat yo self.
Another tried and true New Year’s resolution, the annual pledge to eat healthier. Eating right is tough enough on its own but balancing school, a social life, or a job can make it that much harder.
Trying to meal prep every week requires access to a kitchen, which isn’t a luxury all college students have. In lieu of being able to cook every single one of your meals, start small by focusing on snacking. It’s so easy to grab a bag of chips and soda while on the go, but this year try packing your own healthy snacks and a water bottle. I’m not saying you need to pack celery and kale, but some fruit, nuts, or granola are a lot better for you than Cheetos.
Have you ever scrolled through your newsfeed, saw a picture of a friend from back home, and smiled? What did you do in that moment? Sure, you may have given their latest post a thumbs up, but why not go a step beyond that?
You’re so focused on your day-to-day that it can be hard to catch up with old friends and family members. Next time that random thought about someone crosses your mind send them a quick text. It doesn’t need to be a lengthy letter, and could be as simple as, “You were on my mind, hope you’re doing well.”
MAKE TIME FOR FAMILY
Spinning out of the above tip, when was the last time you talked to mom or dad?
It’s true that every relationship is different, and for some students going to college is actually a chance to get away from family. If you are in a position though where you can reach out to your family every so often, then you should.
Consider setting 15 minutes aside each week to talk to your parents on the phone. Sure you could text or email or Facebook message, but trust us, a phone call would make them happiest.
If you’re like most college students your room is short on space and full of stuff. You don’t know how it happened, but seemingly overnight your closet is now brimming with clothes and there’s a chair in the corner with who-knows-what stacked on top of it.
Now is the best time to take a look through your room and see which things are taking up too much space or that you could simply live without. That random energy drink t-shirt you got as a promotional item? Donate it. That half-used notebook that’s been lying around since last spring? Recycle it. That empty yogurt container that’s now starting to change color on the inside? Toss it.
LEARN A NEW SKILL
As a college student you’re technically already learning new skills, but this piece of advice is geared more towards learning a practical skill. A practical skill is predominately a skill you perform by hand, like woodworking or blacksmithing, but it’s not just limited to the kind of stuff you see on Game of Thrones.
There are tons of practical skills you can pick up as hobbies like cooking, baking, or gardening. If your living space makes it difficult there are still some fun options like crocheting or painting. One of the greatest senses of self-satisfaction comes from creating something with your hands, so search for creative ways to indulge in that kind of activity.
The old saying “new year, new you” seems like such a cliché, but in reality, it’s about as practical a perspective as you can have. The New Year is the perfect starting point to make a change and track your progress. So before you write off New Year’s resolutions as a set of cheesy promises, give some real thought to small tweaks you can make in your daily routine that could have a big affect on your quality of life.