So that time of the year has crept up once again and, unfortunately the gluttonous indulgence of the season break seems like light-years ago. The once breaming tins of chocolates are now hollow shells, home only to a few unloved chocolates.
For a lot of us, as we head back to university or work (or in some cases both), that mentality of “New Year, new me” seems to have crept in on pretty much every social media platform. The year just passed seems to have been, for many people “ a mixture of both highs and lows”. I’m all for bettering oneself in whatever way possible and if the beginning of a new year is the thing to spark that motivation for a better life then that’s great. However there is a part of me that can’t help but think that this time of year can pose an awful lot of pressure on people to change. Never the less, here are a few things to keep in mind for maintaining those resolutions in university.
Recent research has suggested that the reason why 80% of the population fail to stick to their New Years Resolutions is due to the unrealistic nature of them, or that they create too many. Many strive to save money, quit an unhealthy habit, increase exercise or lose weight, many of which have become ingrained in their routine as habitual behaviour. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to just “snap” out of these habits and why so many resolutions are destined to fail. Another common aspect is the False Hope Syndrome whereby a person will hold unrealistic expectations about the anticipated ease, amount, speed and consequences of altering their behaviour. So, in order to change your habits and not be part of that 80%, it is important to change your thinking.
Here’s how to do it
- Be realistic when trying to give up something it’s not all about going “cold turkey” straight away, take it step by step and gradually reduce rather than cut out completely. Aim for goals you feel you are likely to achieve. Start small, aim big.
- Don’t juggle there is nothing wrong with having more than one resolution but don’t feel like you need to do them all at once. You’re more likely to stick to your resolutions if you adopt them one at a time.
- Spread the joy by informing someone you know of your New Year’s Resolution(s) you may be more inclined to stay on track. This works well if you have promised yourself to do more reading or research for your subject. You may not realise you are slipping into your old habits but with a trusted supervisor, they will be able to support and monitor you along the way (if you want to that is). It may be that needed push for you to finish that academic journal!
- Preparation, something that I use to lack in my first year of university which cost me greatly. This can be implemented in many ways, whether it’s reading ahead of lecturers, getting enough sleep or preparing in advance for upcoming deadlines. Preparation is the key to success!
Importantly, don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself slipping into your old ways. Improvement won’t happen overnight and everyone is entitled to a few slips here and there. So keep going! Whether you decided to make a resolution or not, I hope you have a brilliant 2016!