New Year’s resolutions that you can actually keep
December 5, 2016
When the ball drops at midnight New Year’s Eve, many students will be thinking about how they will make 2017 their best year yet — whether that is getting in shape, acing all their classes or meeting that perfect someone. Unfortunately, according to the University of Scranton, only eight percent of Americans actually end up succeeding in their resolutions.
Most of the time, this is because the goals people set are either unattainable or so vague that they have no specific plan to achieve them. Still, New Year’s Eve is a great time to start 2017 on the right foot. With spring semester classes getting ready to start and a few weeks of break left to work on your resolutions, January 1 is as good of day as any to change something in your life.
Keep in touch with family and friends
Sometimes the weeks in college can fly past, and it’s easy to forget to keep in touch with your family members and friends at different schools. In 2017, you can make it your goal to keep in touch with them a little better. Technology has made this easier than ever before because there are many ways to communicate with people, even if they are in a different country.
Send Grandma an email every Tuesday or catch up with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile. They will appreciate it, and talking to a friend is a great way to reduce stress when life gets busy.
On top of that, try to be a better friend in general. I realized – after my roommate pointed it out to me – that I have a bad habit of answering questions about my own life and forgetting to ask about how my friends are doing. I’m resolving to make a conscious effort to check in on my friends regularly, and not just when they check on me.
Organize your schedule before school starts
Getting organized is one of the most popular New Year’s Eve resolutions. Luckily, for college students, winter break is a good time to change — or create — a system to organize your calendar and schoolwork. If you don’t have a planner, Google calendar or other system of keeping track of due dates, find one.
Start looking at which books are required for classes and either buy them early or keep track of the titles to buy them later. I understand that there are some classes that the required book isn’t useful, but it’s at least nice to have an idea of how much money you’ll need to spend on books before you start placing orders on Amazon.
Find a healthy recipe or form of exercise that you like
According to the University of Scranton study, the most common New Year’s Resolution that Americans make is to lose weight. A crash diet or intensive exercise routine may last over break when there’s little else to do at home, but once school starts, it may be difficult to continue. Instead of an extreme change, try finding a healthy recipe or two that you can cook easily and enjoy eating. For me, I can throw together chicken breast, veggies and peanut sauce and eat it with brown rice. It’s easy to cook, healthy and easier on my wallet than ordering takeout.
If you decide to work out more in 2017, find a form of exercise that you enjoy doing. Otherwise, working out becomes just another chore to do when you have homework, the apartment is a mess and you just want to sleep. Campus Recreation offers many different ways to exercise, from group classes to intramural sports to free weights. If running isn’t your thing, try swimming laps or skating at the ice rink.
Challenge your opinions
The past year has been a divisive one in the United States. Sometimes it seems like my Facebook feed is full of people trying to shout their opinion louder than everyone else. In 2017, if you discuss politics, religion or any other controversial topic, talk to someone with a different opinion than you and actually listen to his or her response.
Your opinion may not change, but getting a different perspective on the issue may help you to be more respectful of others and see where their opinions are coming from. Sometimes your opinion will change, and new information will make you see the world a little differently. If this happens, there’s no shame in admitting that you were wrong.
Try something new
There are so many cool things in the world, and a surprising number of them can be experienced in Champaign-Urbana. Students can take classes that teach them to paint, ice skate or speak a foreign language. There are restaurants serving food from across the globe. Krannert hosts a multitude of different kinds of performances.
Trying something new doesn’t have to be a huge commitment, but setting a goal to experience something out of the ordinary frequently will make you a more well-rounded person and give you great stories to tell.
Appreciate your time on campus
Now that I’m realizing I only have three more semesters as a college student, my goal is to work harder to appreciate how lucky I am to be at the University. I won’t always have most of my friends within walking distance, the many free resources offered by the University or so many options for Wednesday night karaoke. When midterms or finals come around and I’m feeling stressed, I don’t always appreciate how great I have it. The last few years have flown by, but my goal is to enjoy 2017.
Thinking about the future is important. There are internship applications to submit, tests to study for and groups to lead. But it’s also important to not worry so much about the future that you miss out on the present. Have fun with your friends, spend a nice afternoon on the Main Quad or grab your favorite latte from Espresso Royale, and acknowledge that life can be pretty good.
I’m looking forward to 2017, but not because I’m using it to make a drastic change in my life. Sure, I probably should eat a little healthier and do a better job keeping track of homework deadlines, but this year will be great because I’m resolved to smile more, spend time with family and friends and do what makes me happy. And that’s a New Year’s resolution everyone can follow.
Isabella is a junior in LAS.