Tips to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution in College

It’s a brand new year and maybe you were among the 45 percent of Americans who were expected to make new year’s resolution. However, while just under half of Americans usually make some sort of New Year’s resolution, only eight percent are likely to be successful in completing them. While making a resolution should mean you are dedicated to your goals, many are beginning to avoid making them simply because they already know they won’t follow through.

Getting in shape, trying to eat healthier or trying to break a bad habit are common, well-intentioned goals that many strive for. But now it’s the middle of January. And that shiny new resolution that you picked and nurtured with care for the first two weeks of the year now suddenly seem impossibly hard and unattainable.

If you’re hitting a slump or almost to you’re breaking point, these tips can help you stick to your resolutions and help you commit.

Think with your head…and your heart

Forbes contributor Jason Selk encourages those who are close to breaking their resolution to ask themselves two questions: “How will I feel when I win this fight-thru? How will I feel if I lose? This brings emotion into the process, and emotion promotes action…negative or positive emotions are powerful motivators that will help you win the fight.”

In those moments of great temptation, use your imagination and think of the consequences, positive or negative. This can help you think through your decision instead of acting out of an impulse.

Make a game plan

If you haven’t done so already, come up with a game plan to map your progress and easy coping techniques in the face of temptation to quit.

Researchers at University of Washington did a study that found those who were successful in fulfilling their resolutions were those with a strong will to change, had coping strategies, and tracked their progress.

It’s okay to fail

While you don’t want to give yourself excuses, don’t let one bad day or mistake define the rest of the year. Give yourself a little grace and start back up the next day. Life is unpredictable, especially in college. By putting things in perspective and continually striving to complete your goals, you’re more likely to succeed in the long run.

Exercise your willpower

Studies have shown that your willpower is like a muscle—it only has so much strength before it get’s too tired to hold on.  Especially through emotionally intense, mentally taxing situations—so basically, all four years of college—it’s hard to practice self-control.

Psychologist Roy Baumeister has performed several studies that illustrate that will power is a muscle that needs to be exercised—but not overworked. He says, “When people exert self-control, they use up some of this energy, leaving them in a temporarily depleted state. If they try to exert self-control again soon after – even in some sphere unrelated to the first exertion – they tend to do worse than if they had not previously exerted self-control.”

So take it slow. Spread out your resolutions instead of trying to do them all at once and recognize your weak spots so you can better avoid them.

Make sure you have support

Huffington Post mentions lack of support as one of the seven reasons why some resolutions fail. Reaching out to friends for accountability or posting updates on your progress on social media can be the extra boost you need. Even if you’re willing to let yourself down, you can’t let your Twitter followers down too.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

About Clare Kolenda 35 Articles
Clare Kolenda is a Grand Rapids, Mich., senior, a lover of words and all things coffee. She's passionate about writing stories that feature the everyday heroes of the community.

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