The new year is an ideal time to set new goals and make new plans to help grow in the future. As we start the new year, students might want to focus on education-related aspirations as well as personal achievements. While it is easy to become over-ambitious, it is a good idea to set achievable goals for yourself. Here are 10 achievable resolutions for students looking to have a productive and enjoyable new year.
1. Create a Better Work-Life Balance
If you have more responsibilities outside of school, it can be difficult to know when to take a break. Start the new year by creating a better balance between work, school and family. This can be done by designating time set aside for each. For example, you may be able to focus on school assignments each morning before heading to work and then spending time with your family and friends in the evening. You can also set aside time each night to catch up on work before going to bed.
2. Practice Healthy Habits
Practicing healthy habits can improve focus and decrease stress. Regular exercise, for example, can boost hormones in the brain that increase productivity and boost your mood. Try to find time to exercise as a break between homework assignments. This can be anything from taking a quick jog around the neighborhood to finding a 20-minute workout video online. Other healthy habits to practice include eating nutritious foods and drinking enough fluids throughout the day.
3. Get More Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential to your health and can help you succeed at school and work. Most health experts recommend 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night for adults, but that’s often easier said than done. Some tricks to make sure you’re getting enough sleep include:
- Unwinding before bed
- Avoid using electronics right before going to sleep
- Keeping a consistent bedtime
- Eating a balanced diet
- Exercising regularly
4. Limit Your Coffee Intake
That morning coffee is great when you’re sleepy at the start of the day, but having too much coffee isn’t a good idea. In fact, having too much caffeine can increase anxiety, make it difficult to sleep, affect decision-making and cost a lot of money. Try limiting yourself to a cup or two a day. You should also avoid having it during a stressful time or late in the day.
5. Attend a Networking Event
Whether it’s in person or online, networking events are an ideal way to learn from and connect with professionals in your field. Networking provides you the opportunity to ask questions about the industry or job you’re interested in, make friends, and get your foot in the door for future career opportunities. Connect with local organizations in your desired career field to see what networking opportunities they’re offering. If you don't use it already, you should set up a profile on LinkedIn to start networking virtually.
6. Find a Job or Internship Opportunity
Make it a resolution to start applying for positions that will build your experience in the field. Whether you find an internship, a full-time position or just go through the interview process, you can increase your knowledge of an industry and a particular job. Interacting with others in the field and practicing skills in a job can really give you some leverage later on. Even if you can't find a job or internship, you can still gain experience in an interview setting.
7. Don’t Procrastinate
Nothing is worse than waiting until the last minute to complete a big project. Procrastination is known to increase stress and can harm the quality of your work. To avoid cramming assignments until the last day, some strategies to try include:
- Create a timeline for your project and stick to it
- Try breaking your project into parts
- Minimize distractions
- Start your work early
Your future self will thank you later!
8. Focus on Learning Instead of Just Grades
It’s easy to focus entirely on grades when you’re working on an assignment, but it’s important to remember that the purpose of it is to take that concept and apply it to your job or everyday life. By learning the material in a way you can use it in a real-life situation, you’re not only improving your understanding of the concept, but you can also improve your grades without the pressure of getting a certain score. Rather than focusing on getting an A on the next essay or class project, reflect on the purpose of the assignment and how you can use that knowledge later on.
9. Study Better
More effective studying will help you achieve better academic outcomes. But there is no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to learning. While some may flourish in a group setting, others may do better on their own.
If you’re looking to find a new way to study, try forming a study group. By engaging in thoughtful discussions with your classmates, you can enhance your understanding of course material and introduce yourself to new study methods that suit your learning style.
If you do better in a quieter setting, create your own study guide or use online study tools such as Quizlet to test your knowledge.
10. Communicate Effectively
Effective communication in a personal and professional setting can not only increase productivity, but it is also essential in strengthening relationships with family members, friends, coworkers and clients. Some tips to improve communication are:
- Be a good listener
- Assert yourself
- Over-communicate instead of under communicating
- Ask for honest feedback
- Be aware of non-verbal communication cues
Everyone is different so you can choose a few of these resolutions or create your own based on one of these examples. No matter what the new year brings, it is important to know that if you get off track during the year, you can always start again. It is never too early or too late to start taking steps to improve yourself.