As we begin the new year, you’re probably thinking a lot about how 2016 went—the good, the bad, and everything in between. You may be dwelling on what went wrong and maybe even making plans to correct it as you begin 2017.
New Year’s resolutions are a staple of January. As a college student, this time represents a valuable one for setting goals to propel you through the new school year.
Getting enough rest can make the difference in your GPA, and typically, it is something you can control. As the new semester starts, set sleep goals for yourself—even if you can’t always follow them. By now, you probably know how many hours you require to operate at your very best, so set a goal that you find attainable (i.e. “60 percent of the time, I’ll get eight hours of sleep per night.”). As with any goal, make sure it’s realistic and measurable to ensure that you follow through.
Focus on Your Health
While it may not be very original to make a New Year’s resolution that focuses on your health, it can be a particularly beneficial one for college students. If your eating habits have suffered during finals week, 2017 can provide a chance to begin eating better. If you’ve been eating meals out a lot, maybe now is the time to develop more cooking skills (which will also help with your financial situation).
You might also resolve to exercise a certain number of hours per week, be it in a gym, by joining a campus sport, or by finding a new hobby. As you improve your health, your grades can also improve—healthy bodies, healthy minds.
Get to Know Your Community
As a college student, it can be all too easy to solely immerse yourself in the college experience. While there is certainly value in this, it is important to get to know the community you’re living in as well. As part of your commitment to be a better version of yourself in 2017, consider making a commitment to your community, too.
You can set goals in different ways, depending upon your personal preference. You might vow to volunteer at one organization, attend a community event once per month, or vote in every local election. This will also force you to take a step outside of your college community and even comfort zone, which can greatly benefit your personal growth and development. Learn about your community in whatever way suits your lifestyle. You may even make valuable contacts along the way regarding internships and jobs!
Sharpen Your Academics
The most obvious New Year’s resolution for college students probably has to do with school, and there are a number of ways you can commit to improving those grades. If your grades have been lower than you’ve expected, you might set a specific goal for increasing your GPA. You can also focus on specific attributes that will result in better grades—you’ll stop procrastinating, you’ll use the writing center, you’ll finish papers four days in advance, etc. This makes your resolution more manageable as well as measurable, which usually results in it being more achievable.
The Bottom Line
Many people make New Year’s resolutions, but not everyone follows through. The key to your success will be in making your resolutions useful and within your reach. Think about areas where you’d really like to improve and spend some time reflecting upon ways that these small successes contribute to the bigger picture.
Heather Hamilton is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.