New year, new start: Learning how to make and keep new school year resolutions

New school year resolutions

New school year resolutions (© AP Images via Business Wire)

Being a college student means you have to learn how to wear many different kinds of hats. Being a student, co-worker, roommate, classmate, friend, significant other, etc., can be stressful at times. Knowing how to manage your time is a good skill to acquire early on in your college career. Here’s to learning how to make and keep your new school year resolutions!

Where to begin?

I know, I know, being reminded that the new school year is just around the corner is not how you want to spend the last days of your glorious summer vacation. But, you’ll feel much better about school starting, once you’re prepared for it. How to do that? Well, here are some first steps to take to get your mind and body prepared for a new year!

  1. What will your new school year resolution be? Never heard of one before? Think about it: what would you like to change about last school year before this one begins?
  2. Did you spend too much time in your dorm room rather than joining extracurricular activities?
  3. Did you wait until the night before the exam to begin studying?
  4. What about your eating habits — did you stop at the fast food place by campus after your late-night class instead of eating food you had at your place?

Whatever aspect of last year you weren’t happy with, consider making a resolution to change that for this school year. Try not to overwhelm yourself with attempting to change too many things, but instead focus on one or two things.

Keeping your resolution

Now that you’ve thought about a new school year resolution you’d like to make this year, how can you go about keeping it? A December 31, 2011, post by Sharon Jayson for USA TODAY titled “Advice for keeping your New Year’s resolutions” quotes psychologist Art Markman when he says, “What you’re doing whenever you’re changing habits is replacing one set of memories with another. […] Stopping doing something means trying to take these memories that you have and replacing them with nothing.”

Markman advises people who want to change habits, or make resolutions to change habits, to replace the bad habit with a good habit. For example: your new school year resolution is to eat more fruits and veggies. Well, a good way to ensure that you’ll eat healthier is to replace the chips and chocolate in your cupboard with your favorite produce. Make a point to keep apples, grapes, carrots and red peppers in your fridge so when you’re craving a late-night snack you reach for the healthy stuff. This theory works like the out of sight, out of mind theory. If it’s not in your reach, you won’t be craving it, hopefully!

The saying “Life is like riding a bicycle — in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving” has been attributed to Albert Einstein. How can you argue with the world’s best scientist? In order to form your adult life, it’s important that you realize there will always been several roles you have to play. Finding a balance between these roles is the key to having a successful college, and professional, career. Kelli Matthews writes in her August 16, 2011, post for Pros in Training, Setting New (School) Year Resolutions,” that finding time to also “make what you do fun and to have a social life outside of the books and the work” is as important as the stuff you’ll learn in class.

Now that you have a little guide to get you started on making this a great school year, get out there and enjoy the ride!

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