Here we are, yet another year upon us, and despite the numerous Instagram photos captioned with inspirational quotes and motivational promises for a rebirth of the soul and Twitter posts hashtagged #NewYearNewMe, it is safe to assume that all that potential for 2015 has gone down the drain at this point.
I know that more than half of my readers are probably sheepishly grinning to themselves, knowing that even Kim Kardashian’s short-lived marriage of 72 days lasted longer than their even-shorter-lived new year’s resolutions, but it is okay. Admitting it is the first step.
Now that we have chastised ourselves for yet another year of made-and-forgotten New Year’s plans, it is time to stop wallowing and start wondering what we will do from this point forward. The tendency to disregard yearly resolutions and revert to old habits could be due to the overwhelming nature of a project that seems to take a whole 365 days to complete. Most of us cannot even solidify a plan for the weekend, much less account for every single day to come for the rest of the year. Alternatively, breaking down these prodigious resolutions into more manageable weekly goals, may prove to be a more effective means of accomplishing what we originally intended when we made our new year’s resolutions in the first place. Here are the top 10 New Year’s resolutions that we make and break every year, along with a strategy to overcoming it. Good luck everyone and Happy New Year!
- Catch more Z’s.
So it is 8 p.m., we sit down to start homework and by the time we watch Netflix, surf Facebook, guffaw at foul YikYak and tweet about how much of a boss we are at procrastinating, it is midnight and nothing has been accomplished. So you proceed to stay up way into the wee hours of the morning banging out a paper due early the next day, rush to class to hand it in and then, you are knocked out with your forehead hitting your binder rings on the desk in front of you from lack of sleep. So instead of declaring that this year you will get more sleep or procrastinate less, hence making time for more sleep, I would say set a deadline. Set a cut off time for every night. Despite what’s going on in a day, vow to sleep at 12 a.m. every night and wake up at 7:30 a.m. every morning. This will not only regulate your sleep and help you develop a normal sleep/wake pattern; it will also program you to accomplish all that you have on your daily to-do list within the parameters of time set for yourself during the day, as well as keep you from sacrificing some much-needed shut-eye.
- 4.0 here I come….again…but not really.
It is the start of a new year, and subsequently, a new semester, and we all swear this one will be better than the last. We will do all of our homework, hand everything in on time, and study 40 hours a week just like our professors suggested so we can be an ace in all 19 credits we are taking and not have to worry about sinking GPAs and not getting into graduate school. However, after day one of the semester, we are in a state of paralysis after hearing and witnessing the horror that is BIO 203. Breathe. Rather than obsessing over a number, figure out what is needed to achieve academic success on a daily basis. After all, your education should not be crammed into one night of studying for an exam, but should take place gradually over the course of the entire semester. So read your syllabi, utilize your weekly (yes, weekly) planner, and manage your study schedule by setting realistic chunks of work into your schedule and knocking them off your list as the day goes by. You will retain so much more overtime, and the outcome in the end will be a well-deserved A. Trust me. Never forget to lean on your peers for support and set aside time every week at least once, to attend office hours or tutoring if you are in need of a little extra clarification. Bonus: make it a social thing! Form study sessions and peer groups with your buddies to help one another out as well as spend time together.
- Go green, save green.
As college students, we have all had that experience of swiping our meal card midway through the semester and seeing that we are way below the dollar mark for our designated meal plan. In an effort to save money this year, try assessing what you spend the most money on in a week and working out alternatives to replace or supplement these cravings. For example, for all you caffeine addicts who need to get your fix more than twice a day, treat yourself to a Starbucks the first time and then settle for the cheaper brand at the SAC or in the Union Deli for the other times (let’s be honest; you really don’t need to drink four Caramel Brulees in one day; not to mention sugar coma!) Even better, walk with your own coffee mug and have it refilled at a lower cost by most coffee retailers on campus. You will be doing your part to save the planet and cutting back on the green leaving your wallet.
- Be a Seawolf, not just a Stony Brooker.
With social media constantly consuming our every moment, it is easy to conclude that everyone is more involved on campus than you are. Annoying is the do-gooder who attends every charity event and is constantly changing their Facebook profile picture to that of the next campus activity that they are promoting. Like seriously stop. No, not the philanthropic promoter; they should not stop. You, the Facebook stalker should stop! Stop hating and get out there and get involved. There are so many activities of all kinds happening on campus every single day. Heed the Facebook group posts and the event pages and try to make it a priority to attend one or two of these events a month. It gives you an opportunity to socialize, get involved, and meet a ton of new people. Where is the “lame” in that?
- Network, network, network!
In this day and age, the importance of networking and making connections could not be stressed enough. It often feels like in a sea of people, all of whom are overqualified, overachieving and overactive (see above), it matters more who you know rather than what you know. But the million dollar question still remains: “How do I make the right connections, meet the right people and align myself for the right reasons?” Although I do not have a definitive answer to this, your best bet is to start somewhere. Attend events, talk to your professors and inquire among your peers and friends if you know they are affiliated with people or organizations in which you have an interest. Do not be afraid to reach out and form a bond because you never know who has what to offer. Similarly, you would be surprised what assets you may have that other people find interesting or desirable. It is just a matter of getting yourself out there and maintaining contact with those around you.
- I am over it. Well not really, not yet, but soon.
I will not talk to him, I will not talk to her, I am leaving them in the past…until they are in front of your face and you suddenly, can not resist the urge to talk to them. And you do. And it is the same old cycle that it has always been. Getting over an ex and learning to let go is one of the most arduous tasks in a person’s life. It consumes so much time and effort just thinking about ways to avoid your once-significant other. Half the time, you realize that it is not all that successful because even if you are not physically with that person, you are still obsessively thinking about them all the time. Hit pause. Instead of swearing off this person, which, to be honest, is next to impossible with their face popping up in your news feed even if they are defriended (thanks People You May Know) or running into them in North Reading Room because yes, they too want a 4.0, accept that their existence is inevitable and there is no changing that. Instead, embrace it. Smile when you see them, but do not go out of your way to consciously contact them. Throw yourself into other activities and other goals, and consume your days with you time that you never had before when you were tied down. Create a routine that does not involve or rely on other people so that you can break old habits of seeing this person and stick to it. Talk to your friends about how you feel, lean on your family and do things that remind you of how great you are. Really, you are so much better than last year’s drama.
- Ugh parents, so annoying.
As many of us move back on campus after a long two months of being home under the watchful eyes of our parents, we let out a sigh of relief. No more rules, no more curfew and sadly, no more home-cooked meals, either. Yet still, even in the distance, a lot of us can still find time to bristle at every word of advice and wisdom our parents try to bestow on us, which, if we really think about it, is for our own benefit. Few of us can admit this, yet we secretly sulk over the fact that we just can not seem to get along with mom and dad. It is a tough one but definitely doable: the old “argue less with my parents” resolution. Make it a point to not raise your voice. Keep calm in the face of confrontation and assert the adult that you are becoming. After all, it is not very adult at all to hang up phones or storm off and slam bedroom doors in your parents’ faces; so high school. Instead, if you need a moment, articulate that, do not suppress and harbor animosity towards your parents, just learn to control and express it in a more mature manner. You will definitely be on your way to a healthier relationship with your ‘rents for sure.
- Farewell to foul language.
“I really need to stop cursing,” says everyone at some point in the midst of their foul-mouthed rant. Although curses do help to punctuate our point at times, it is really a habit that should be kept at bay, if not cut out completely from our daily discourse. Instead of swearing off curse words all together (pun intended), banning one or two specific words from your vocabulary that you find particularly perverse, or limiting the people who you allow to hear your French, may prove effective in helping you cut back on this dirty habit.
- Here we go, greens again.
At this point, we may have already surpassed the age for, succumbed to, or fought against the dreaded “Freshman 15.” However, the uphill battle to consume more greens and just eat healthier in general is one that we swear we will stick to every year, yet find ourselves discarding as we binge eat chocolate chip cookies and Doritos during our late-night study sessions for Exam 1 of the semester. Rather than parting with our comfort food, we should try to make it a point to eat at least one meal of the day cleanly. That is, more veggies, less carbs and lots and lots of water. Carry protein bars and healthy snacks with you so you can reach for them when you feel like nibbling on something as the day goes, and you will be less likely to run to the front aisle of the SAC for a quick-fix. Make one day of the week a cheat day of sorts where you can have your favorite guilty pleasure, but stick to your green-diet for the rest of the week so you do not have to feel bad about it. Also, try juicing. It is a great, quick way to pack protein, fruits and vegetables into your diet and can be an extremely filling, not to mention yummy, addition to your day.
- Ta-ta ten pounds!
The most sworn on resolution every single year; “I must, I must, I must decrease my waist line,” says everyone every year, for a year, sitting on the couch, watching television…you get the point. It is seriously time to stop turning your treadmill into a clothes rack, dust off your cobwebbed weights and get your body back in shape. Hit the gym. It does not get more plain than that. Make it a date with your best friend and include dinner together afterwards so you can spend time together and motivate each other to go. Take advantage of the Rec Center, or other campus gyms, which you pay for with tuition (so do not waste that money being a couch potato). You will seriously regret it when you have to splurge on gym memberships after graduation.