New Year’s resolutions could be easier on a college campus

By Hayley Nagelberg, Columnist

I can’t remember the last time I woke up to my phone alarm and didn’t just reach for my phone to begin catching up on social media. I can spend a half hour mind-numbingly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, then move to my emails, and not even realize where the time has gone.

This use of my time every morning is often followed by a frantic realization of how much time I’ve wasted and then a rush to get dressed, get ready for my day and get out the door. When I do make it out the door, I’m stressed and overwhelmed that I didn’t have more time to myself before the day began.

When the clock struck midnight just a few weeks ago I, like many others, made some New Year’s resolutions. I resolved to clean up, or rather minimize, the online media I consume.  I would do this by getting myself off junk email subscriptions and by unfriending people if I don’t actually know who they are. The first of those have been completed (thanks to the help of some online mass un-subscription services), and I plan to begin the others shortly.

These tasks seemed like easy and attainable goals, but they won’t alleviate my actual problem of spending my morning time consumed by this world of media we live in.

In the TV show “The Office,” there is a scene where Michael and Pam are attempting to start a new company together. Overwhelmed by all he has to accomplish, Michael is doing nothing. Pam, in the interest of helping them both get started with the day, explains how she makes lists to stay organized and starts with the easiest of tasks: waking up, getting dressed and eating breakfast.

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While the tasks may seem obvious and already completed, setting small steps as the first things to do provides a sense of accomplishment and allows the next larger items on the list to seem more attainable.

Many people joke, or say in all sincerity, that New Year’s resolutions fall apart in the first few days of the year. People then want an entire year to set a new resolution and try again. This system does not yield positive results in any way.

As college students heading back to school in the middle of January, it’s possible that many of our unrealistic New Year’s goals have already failed. However, we can use this new semester as almost a do-over on setting goals.

With a new semester, we get this reset button on a campus with endless opportunities to achieve our goals. If you want to get in better shape this year, we have miles of campus to walk and gyms to go to for free. If you want to eat healthier, we have fresh produce available and nutrition guidelines and resources to help. Whatever we want to achieve is doable with assistance on our campus.

We can take the time of the last days of break to work on what we want our end goals to be. But first, let’s set more attainable first steps.

Taking the time now to lay out these plans will hopefully keep me motivated to achieve other goals this semester — to stay on top of my schoolwork and prioritize time with friends in person.

As the semester progresses, I want to get in the habit of using the time when I wake up for myself. I want to eat better and stretch or meditate in the morning, and not be consumed by social media — I definitely have my walks to class to scroll mindlessly through my phone.

But for now I am going to start with small changes. I am going to try to turn off my alarm and get out of bed without opening social network sites. I am going to try making breakfast and getting dressed for the day before seeing what I missed overnight on my friends’ Snapchat stories.

Through smaller first steps I hope all of my New Year’s goals will finally be met this year.

Hayley is a junior in ACES.

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