“A new year, a new me.”
Or so we’d like to think.
The New Year may bring about a sense of renewal for many of us, which is why we make resolutions such as wanting to be a better person, losing weight and being more positive in life.
But how often do you find yourself abandoning your resolutions midway through March? Chances are, we may be too ambitious for our good by setting unattainable goals, which is why achieving them becomes difficult to do.
If you’re one of those people who can’t seem to keep a resolution, don’t worry. We’ve curated some realistic resolutions that you can practise daily once the New Year rolls in!
#1. Get enough sleep
Sleep is “vital for learning and memory”, which makes it important to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. It may be tempting to burn the midnight oil to complete your assignments but trust us, sleep is essential to your health.
Instead of merely resolving to “get enough sleep”, identify a specific number of hours of sleep that will allow you to function without becoming a zombie. For example, if 8 hours of sleep is ideal for you, work towards getting that 8 hours of sleep each night.
#2. Exercise every day
Exercising doesn’t mean signing up for your local gym. Instead, you can substitute short drives with brisk walks or jogs, jumping jacks while watching television or even lunges from the front of your house to the back (it may look silly, but who’s judging?).
It can be as short as 10 minutes a day, but the difference it makes after a month or two will surprise you! Not to mention, exercising improves your focus, memory and cognitive thinking. So let’s get physical!
#3. Stop procrastinating
Whether it’s homework, chores or even hanging out with your friends, procrastination can become a habit if you don’t nip it in the bud.
However, similar to determining the number of hours of sleep or exercise you need each day, you will also need to determine what you need to stop procrastinating to achieve your goal.
The simplest way to get started is by creating a simple daily to-do list and tackling one task at a time, starting with the most important. Research suggests that multitasking may not be for everyone, so don’t attempt multiple tasks at once until you’re sure you can handle it!
#4. Save more money
… or spend less money, depending on your point of view.
One of the most effective ways to keep track of your spending is to set up a monthly budget. You can either do it old school and note each expense into a notebook or log it into an app. This gives you an overview of your monthly spending habits which you can continue to improve on with each passing month.
It may seem like a tedious task, but at the end of the month, you will be more mindful of your spending and future purchases. It’s worth remembering the Malay peribahasa, “Sedikit-sedikit, lama-lama menjadi bukit.”
#5. Get organised
Being disorganised can negatively affect your productivity and stress levels as it is believed to restrict your ability to focus and sift through information.
This is hardly surprising — imagine searching for your notes and going through stacks of paper in your room as the deadline for your assignment looms… You’ll not only delay working on your assignment by scavenging through your mess, but you’ll also get more frustrated as time goes by.
So make it a weekly habit to declutter and have a place for each of your belongings for easy retrieval.
#6. Improve your grades
If you’re guilty of doing the bare minimum to pass your classes and exams, then it’s time to kick the habit in the butt!
You don’t have to aim for a perfect 4.0 CGPA. Instead, gradually work towards improving your grades. For example, you could set your mind to bump up your grade from a B- to a B in your exams, instead of taking a giant leap and hoping for an A.
With the right revision tips, you can easily work towards improving your grades in no time.
#7. Spend more time with family and friends
If you have been feeling guilty for not hanging out with your family and friends, the New Year can be a good push for you to rekindle your relationships with them.
You can propose a weekly ritual together and engage in an activity that both sides enjoy, such as going for walks and jogs at the park, window shopping or allocating a particular day of the week for dinner or movie with your family and friends. This way, you’ll both look forward to meeting up.
Alternatively, you can make the effort to message your family and friends more regularly. After all, these days, everyone is just a text message away!
#8. Pick up a new skill
You’re bound to pick up numerous skills in college, such as communication, presentation and leadership skills. But why not stand out from your peers and pick up a new skill that can help improve your chances of securing a job upon graduation?
With so many free online resources available at your fingertips, you can learn about entrepreneurship, coding or even pick up a new language online without leaving the house. Depending on the skills you equip yourself, this may give you an edge above the rest when it comes to the job hunt upon graduation.
#9. Eat healthier
Eating healthily doesn’t have to be a chore if you commit to a meal prep plan. By preparing your meals in advance, you can avoid the urge to buy fast food (or anything else that is quick but unhealthy) when you’re rushing between classes and are strapped for time. You’ll also save some money in the process, killing two birds with one stone!
However, eating healthy doesn’t mean going cold turkey on the foods you love — it simply means cutting down on fast food, instant noodles, soda and your caffeine consumption at each meal. It’s not something you will achieve overnight, but it helps to be patient with yourself.
Bonus: Keep track of your habits
There’s no point making New Year resolutions if you’re not going to keep track of your habits and progress!
To ensure that you stay on track on, it helps to maintain a regular routine (e.g. sleep at the same time each night, eat dinner at the same time, etc.) to reinforce the behaviour we want. Meanwhile, one study suggests that you can adopt a new behaviour by doing it when you first wake up in the morning!
You can also consider using apps to help you stay on track, such as HabitBull, or get your friends who have the same goals as you to come onboard as research suggests that this can help you reinforce your willpower to achieve your goals.
If you can’t seem to stick to your New Year’s resolutions, rest assured that you can start with these suggestions at any time of the year. Your resolutions don’t always have to be vigorous or extreme from the get-go — instead, you can start slow and build a momentum as you go along.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!