Resources for Making (and Keeping) New Year’s Resolutions as a Student
It might be January 2nd, but that’s not too late to make New Year’s Resolutions for a better and more exciting 2015. As we launch into this next year, take a bit of time to truly think over what has worked well for you in the past and what you hope to build in the near future.
Consider your life as a whole: not simply as an academic project but also as a friend, member of your campus and broader community, and as someone who will soon be launching a career. What can you do in the next 12 months to build success and happiness in your life?
Set a Small Number of Realistic Goals
Success rates for New Year’s Resolutions are very low. There are some tricks you can use to increase your likelihood of success (writing goals down is apparently an extremely effective mechanism for cementing goals in your own mind).
Tricks aside, the best way to start is to focus on a few specific, achievable goals. (Check out Michael Hyatt’s “How To Make New Year’s Resolutions Stick” article for detailed advice in this category.)
“Good grades” isn’t specific enough, nor is “call home more” or “get a job.” Set numeric, measurable goals with deadlines. So “Get all A’s” is a good goal, particularly if you think it is actually achievable (don’t set goals you don’t believe in—what’s the point?). Other examples of “good” goals would be “Call home twice a week” or “Find a summer job by May 1st.”
Build a Community
Many experts, including the Harvard Business Review, recommend “going public” with your goals. Tell people what you’re working toward. This will create some external pressure to achieve your goals, while also making them seem more real. Another great way of getting outside help for your resolutions is to ask for it.
Ask for help! No one claims you have to make these things happen completely on your own. Whatever your goals are, you can probably have more fun and more success in achieving them if you involve a friend, mentor, or other support.
This can look like accountability buddies or partners for some goals (fitness goals are particularly popular for goal keeping), or it could be as simple as letting your professors know that you want an “A” in their class and you are prepared to work for it, including by asking for extra support in office hours or tutoring.
Academic-Specific Goal Advice
US News and World Report recommends that you start the year by Reflecting on Your Academic Strengths and Weaknesses to Improve in 2015. Specifically, students are encouraged to reflect on first semester before making an optimistic and realistic set of new goals to build on your successes. I particularly like this advice because it recommends both small, concrete goals and a careful emphasis on what has gone well in the past.
Find Tricks That Work for You
There are some great goal-setting tricks out there, including “start on a Monday.” There are lots of ways to “gameify” or “hack” your resolutions as well. Lifehacker recommends piggybacking new habits on old ones (storing vitamins in your coffee mug so you’ll remember to take them in the morning, or flossing in the shower).
If you can find a way to motivate yourself through a series of “winnable” steps or small tricks to help you form your new habits, your resolutions have a better chance of success, which will make for an even better 2015 than the year before.
Whatever you envision for your next year, HackCollege wishes you great success. We’ll be right here, doing our best to help you make your student goals possible.