Goodbye Resolutions, Hello Realistic Solutions – A Guide to Making It in 2017

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New Year, New You… Oh, who are we kidding? New year, old me, same habits more like.

New Year’s resolutions are mostly wishful-thinking – a wistfulness developed optimistically after the Christmas period, in an effort to console yourself and overcome the January blues. We all know the gym subscription is going to be cancelled after the first two months, and that you won’t be able to resist splashing out every payday either. Resolutions are only as good as the resoluter – that is to say, of course you won’t be able to stick to your resolutions if you’ve made ridiculous ones.

Here’s my bash at suggesting some more achievable resolutions for the coming year – or, as I like to call them, realistic solutions – goals that we as students can realistically aim to achieve, hopefully getting a bit further towards greatness than we did in 2016!

Save Money and… Don’t buy books.

No seriously, don’t buy them. All those books on your reading list can be found in the uni library. And if not, they’ll definitely be available in the city centre library. Buying all the books on the reading list at the beginning of the semester is a waste of money and a waste of effort convincing yourself that you’re really going to give it your all this time. The odds are that you’ll never need the books beyond that one time… that’s if you bother to read it in the first place anyway. You can thank me later for the money it saves you.

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Save Time and… Set alarms.

Not your morning alarms (although you want to keep them set as well). Try setting alarms to help you keep track of time as you work. I recently read a fantastic chapter on time management, which recommended giving yourself specific time periods to complete tasks. Say for example you have an essay to reference and an exam to study for on Sunday evening. Decide how long you want to spend on each task, and set yourself a countdown timer when you begin. With some luck, you’ll be able to cut down on (or even avoid completely!) unnecessary procrastination.

Save the Planet and… Walk.

Yes! You taking the initiative to climb those three flights of stairs instead of waiting for the lift to arrive is doing your bit to help the planet! Not to mention the calories it will burn. Think about it: simply taking the stairs as you go to your classes each day will fulfil most of your hour-a-day exercise. And it’ll make you feel better about that grande hot chocolate you had this morning.

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Save Good Manners and… Say ‘Thank You’.

It might not be your typical resolution, but getting into the habit of reflexively using simple manners will make you a much happier person (in most cases). It’s not difficult – start by saying ‘thank you’ to the bus driver on your daily commute, or ‘good morning’ to the lady who serves you coffee each morning. It’s the small things that make the big things, eventually. Try it!

Save Yourself and… Take some time off!

As if the first semester hadn’t provided enough stress you make you want to curl up and cry already, the New Year brings… wait for it… semester two! For most, this means more assignments, more exams and certainly some more nervous breakdowns. No, I can’t tell you why life is so hard (actually I can, but let’s stick to the topic for now). What I can advise though, is setting aside some time to yourself at least once during the week where you do No Work Whatsoever Under Any Circumstances. It can be an afternoon on the weekend or an hour each evening – whatever suits you best. The important thing is that you give yourself some time to switch off.

So, there you have it: five New Year’s realistic solutions that you can actually try to act upon throughout 2017. There goes my alarm – that’s all from me folks, it’s time to stop typing and start doing No Work Whatsoever Under Any Circumstances…

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