There’s no better way to start the new year than setting a new goal for yourself: drinking more water, doing all the reading for your classes, or not waiting until your last clean pair of underwear to do laundry. Keeping your New Year’s resolution demands concentration and self-discipline, and while that might not be the easiest set of circumstances for busy college students, here are some tricks and hints to help keep your goal.
To keep a New Year’s resolution, you must first have a goal in mind. While brainstorming for what to try and pursue, it is important to make sure that you keep your goal accessible. A Harvard Medical School article writes that to set and make goals, it is important to think big, and then break down the original goal into smaller goals and consecutively achieve them, leading to the completion of the goal as a whole. This completion of mini-goals also boosts confidence; as the article writes, “just getting to first base can build your confidence to tackle—and succeed at—more difficult tasks.”
Although it is fairly painless to write down a goal and complete it, in an article for The New York Times, journalist Jen A. Miller writes that to have a successful and completable New Year’s resolution, avoid setting resolutions that are “based on what someone else (or society) is telling you to change; it’s too vague … you don’t have a realistic plan for achieving your resolution.” Basically, to truly make a goal worth working for, the goal must be something that you want to achieve and not something you are doing to please others. It is great if your goal is to lose 50 pounds, but before you act you must ask yourself, is this what I want to do, or is this good for me? Instead of wanting to lose weight, try an alternative such as learning to love yourself, or trying to walk more.
With this kind of intention behind fulfilling your New Year’s resolution through to the end of the year, other steps you can take are talking about your goals with your support system and asking for help. “Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating,” writes the American Psychological Association, and “accepting help from those who care about you and will listen strengthens your resilience and ability to manage stress caused by your resolution. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking professional help.” Whether it be a physiologist, dietician or personal trainer, each is here to help guide you towards the results you seek. Mills College offers both counseling at Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS), located in Cowell, and the Vera Whole Health Clinic, which offers wellness coaching.
All things considered, the most important things to remember when setting your New Year’s resolution can be summed up in four helpful tips:
- Create and visualize your goal, down to its tiniest detail. This is the same practice that performers and athletes use before a big event, helping them prepare for anything that crosses their paths.
- Define why you want to complete the goal—after all, you want to be improving YOU, not anyone else.
- Break the goal down into a list to ensure you remain on track. Don’t forget to check in with yourself to make sure you continue on track, and even if you’re not, don’t beat yourself up—change takes time and determination.
- Ask for help when needed. While this might be the most difficult part of staying on track, it is crucial to ask for help, especially when there are many resources around to help aid your success.
Given these points, any New Year’s resolution can be met! In the long run, what makes a resolution complete is not the level of difficulty, but the determination and concentration that is put into following the goal through.
CAPS can be reached in Cowell Building, or call 510.430.2111, Monday-Friday between 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Vera Whole Health Center Wellness Coach is located in CPM 117. Schedule an appointment at 510.671.3985, Monday-Friday between 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.