Five New Year's Resolutions Ideas for College Students

Practice gratitude: One of my favorite ideas from a recent TED talk is finding easy ways to be more grateful and happy, such as listing out three things that we are thankful for each day. I started getting in the routine of doing this every night, and I am so glad I did.
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I am very pro-New Year's Resolutions. Yes, sometimes, we are overly ambitious and make too many goals. Yes, sometimes, we don't stick to these lists; within just a few days, we may have already broken one of our apparent to-do's for the year. And, yes, you can make change at any time so deciding to make resolutions on New Year's Day is somewhat arbitrary. But, still, I can't help but feel excited every time the New Year is approaching, and I guess my love of list-making draws me to scribbling down some goals. So, while the idea of making resolutions has its flaws, in the spirit of New Years, I've listed out (I really do enjoy making lists) some resolution ideas for college students.

1. Practice gratitude: So, I kind of stole this idea from Shawn Achor's TEDTalk on how being successful doesn't necessarily make us happy, but rather, it's the reverse: Being happy can help us be more productive, leading to us achieving our goals. Definitely check out that TEDTalk, but one of my favorite ideas from Achor is the idea of finding easy ways to be more grateful and happy, suggesting that we list out three things that we are thankful for each day. I started getting in the routine of doing this every night, and I am so glad I did.

Sometimes, what I'm grateful for is small, such as one of my fantasy basketball teams having a good night (Yes, I am in three different fantasy leagues because I obviously lead a very exciting life), and other times, it's something that has a more substantial impact on my life, like making a new friend or getting an interview for a job position post-grad. Overall, I've grown to love listing out at least three things I am grateful for every day as these lists have shown me that even bad days have silver linings, seemingly mundane days have high points, and good days have great moments.

2. Cut down on caffeine: I will admit that I am way too guilty of consuming too much coffee and tea. I started drinking a cup of coffee per day since I was fourteen, and that number has only increased since. In college, we tend to binge on caffeine during late nights or midterms week, and while coffee and tea are truly beautiful things, I definitely want to lessen my dependence on caffeinated beverages in 2016. I have already started the process of slowing weaning off so much coffee and tea, and it's been a little rough (The first day, I accidentally took a four-hour nap), but I'm still slowly working towards my goal of only having one cup of coffee per day.

3. Explore your college town: Whether you grew up in your college town or you're from the other side of the country, I think college towns tend to be exciting in general, each filled with its own traditions and quirks. One of my personal New Year's resolutions is to eat at a different restaurant in Tucson once a month as Tucson actually has cool small businesses with a variety of food, ranging from Ethiopian to Chinese to Italian. Another goal I have is to get more in touch with social justice issues and charities in Tucson through volunteering at a different non-profit in Tucson each month. These are just a couple suggestions for how to get to know your college town better, and there are obviously many more ways to explore your town!

4. Try weekly/ monthly resolutions: So, I stole another idea for this post (Sorry not sorry, but actually I am a little apologetic for my lack of originality). My sister told me about how one of her roommates isn't big on long-term planning so instead of doing resolutions for the whole year, she does monthly goals, like "Engage your Core November" and "Cuticle Care December." So, if making a list of plans for the year seems too daunting, you could just start with some to-do's for January, like cleaning out your closet and donating the clothes you don't wear anymore or getting in the habit of keeping your room clean.

5. Focus on your health and well-being: Yes, having health-focused resolutions is somewhat stereotypical and cliché, but I think it's for good reasons. Your health- emotional, mental, and physical- is deeply important, and I'd believe that most of us, especially college students, tend to forego our health. We lose sleep, think popcorn and ice cream constitutes a meal, and if you're like me and are still excited about being a member of the twenty-fun club, get in the habit of going out every weekend. We tend to think of health-based New Year's Resolutions to revolve around having a dream body or losing weight (which can be great goals to set), but there are many more ways to take care of ourselves. For example, one of my resolutions is to be more proactive with protecting myself from the sun, remembering to wear sunscreen and sunglasses every day. Another one of my goals is to eat healthier, with more fruits and veggies, not necessarily for a fitness goal, but also to get needed vitamins and nutrients since I've gotten sick a couple times this past semester and obviously, it was not the time of my life.

So, while I do understand the flaws of setting New Year's Resolutions, I still love making my list of goals every year, and I hope these ideas can help you make some to-do's for the New Year. And, as we approach 2016, I will leave you with this quote from one of my favorite authors Jack Kerouac to ring in the New Year (Yes, I'm so cheesy): "Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don't be sorry."