New Year’s Resolutions For College Students

StepsIt is a new year and time to make those New Year’s resolutions. Most people make them, maybe stick with them for a short time and then they are forgotten. Usually the reasons are not enough time, not enough energy or too difficult.

There is a method you can use to stick to your New Year’s resolutions regardless of the time, energy or difficulty. With a busy life the key to reaching your goals is to take small steps. By taking small steps you can reach any goal or accomplish any task regardless of the constraints you may have.

Small Steps

Using the small steps method of improvement is simple. Let’s say you want to start walking one mile each day. You start out, maybe do it a few times and then give up because it is too difficult. The reason you fail is you mind and your body have not been conditioned to do the task.

Now take this same task and break it down into smaller, more achievable goals. Start off by walking a quarter mile each day for a week. The following week add another quarter of a mile. In four weeks you will have conditioned your mind and body and be walking one mile each day. If time is an issue use the amount of time you can devote to it as the goal.

The small steps method can be applied to anything you need to get done in your life and any improvement you want to make. If you have tried something in the past and failed try it again using the small steps method.

The Keys

The keys to success using the small steps method:

  • Breaking down a task or goal into achievable steps
  • If time is an issue break the task or goal into smaller steps that fit your schedule. Some tasks can be done in as little as 5-10 minutes per day. (like cleaning your room)
  • Since your steps are small and achievable you overcome the mental blocks that a task is too large or too difficult. With each small step you achieve you get a sense of accomplishment that will boost your confidence.
  • Since we are by nature resistant to change to make it stick we must make it a habit. By using smaller steps we are less resistant to change and more likely to be successful.

Some Suggestions

Here are some suggestions for New Year’s resolutions for college students.

Stop Procrastinating – College students are major procrastinators either by choice or by lack of time. You have heard the saying “Why put off for tomorrow what you can do today”. When you have a paper that is due in one week don’t wait until the last day to start it. Use the small steps method and set aside short periods of time to work on it. Procrastination leads to cramming and cramming usually leads to a poor academic outcome.

Don’t Be A “Class Tourist” – Being a tourist is great when you are on a trip, but not for college. You can not just show up for class when you feel like it. When you do show up for class avoid zoning out, not taking notes or any of the other dozen things you can do other than paying attention and learning. The goal of college is not just to graduate, but to graduate with good grades. If you miss 20% of your classes it will be hard to do.

Party! – Partying and college seem to go together. It is a natural rite of passage. However for some people their week starts on Thursday and ends late Sunday night. Those other days they perform the dull, boring tasks such as going to class (maybe), studying (unless there is something else to do) or doing homework (see studying). You are spending thousands of dollars on a college education that will play a large part of the rest of your life. There is nothing wrong with partying, but it should not be your first priority.

Super College Student – Maybe you are the opposite of the partier. You are the super college student who devotes all of their time and energy to their education. For you a social life is talking to the librarian. Lighten up some and enjoy life outside of academics. Your college life is a once in a lifetime experience. You can still get great grades and have fun along the way.