At the start of every year, people are eager to make changes to their daily routines. For students, New Year’s resolutions can look different. We have to worry about classes, readings, midterms, and finals. These tasks can discourage students, which may cause them to drop their goals. However, it is possible to achieve your yearly resolutions and be a student simultaneously.
Running the Race
Whenever we make goals for ourselves we add, subtract, or replace something in our routine. The key to success as students is to incorporate that into the limited time we have. The mistake some people make is thinking they need to immediately take big steps. However, completing long-term goals is like writing an important paper. You can’t just write it in one sitting without proper research. To achieve the best quality, you should portion it into steps and take a few breaks during the process. You would want to research first, then outline, and finally, write.
In the same way, you should try breaking your goals into manageable chunks. If your goal is to add something to your life, like a new skill, then you should start by dedicating a small amount of time around your studies. This can look like an hour a day or a more extended period on the weekend. Even if it’s less than that, you shouldn’t beat yourself up—trying to thrive as a student is a goal too.
Adding changes to your life is one of the hardest kinds of goals. Often, it can be much easier to replace something or subtract something from your routine. For example, if you want to move more and get more exercise, it might be a good idea to take a walk to class from your dorm instead of driving. Or take a short 15-minute walk between each class. Sometimes, you can even find some textbooks in audiobook form that you could listen to while walking. The key is finding something you already do as a student but altering it to accommodate your yearly objectives.
Another tip that might help accomplish those long-term goals is to look at it differently than a list where you must complete every single one, or you’re a failure. Instead, you could make a bingo card of goals to achieve by the end of the year; this way, there’s not so much pressure. Even if you don’t get every single space on the bingo card, you will still feel accomplished when you get five in a row. It is even better if you are playing with or against people. If you both have a bingo card and that competitive spirit drives you forward, you are more likely to finish at least one goal. That could even be your middle space—to accomplish at least one goal!
This leads me to my last tip: having accountability partners. Ideally, accountability partners are those who make sure you get the thing done. But they can be so much more than someone who texts you once daily to see if you’ve done it. Often, it’s better to have someone cheering you on and supporting you through it. Sure, they can also help check if you are actually doing what you set out to do. But they can also encourage you, listen to your successes and failures, and be there to offer advice. It’s even better if the person is trying to accomplish the same goals. That way, you can provide each other with support and advice.
One major roadblock to working towards our goals during the school year is finals and midterms. My encouragement to you is to give yourself grace for missing a couple weeks. There are 52 weeks in the year. You can still complete your resolutions in 48 of those weeks or even less. In fact, it’s okay to take breathers through your goals, just so long as you don’t let those breaks go on longer than you need to.
Overall, it’s important to remember that you are a student, so it might be a good idea to throw some academic goals in there too so that you still feel accomplished by the end of the year. Don’t be discouraged if your goals don’t go as planned. It’s a temporary setback that you can learn from.