By Trilby Goouch
It’s that time of the year again when New Year’s resolution lists are made. I’ll exercise everyday; cut out sugar; do my readings on time; wake up earlier. Sadly, New Year’s resolutions tend to be put on the backburner when the newness and excitement of a new year fades. I did some research to find ways to make New Year’s goals realistic and long-term in an effort to make New Year’s resolutions stick.
Standard resolution: Get fit
Realistic resolution: Achieving fitness doesn’t mean hitting the gym for hours at a time; do this and you’ll inevitably burn out. Instead, incorporate 30 minutes of physical exercise daily, be it a walk to the grocery store or ARC spin class. If you miss one day, simply double up the next.
Standard resolution: I will lose 10 pounds in time for my reading week grad trip
Realistic resolution: The minute you tell yourself you’re on a diet, you’ll likely want to eat more. We’re wired to respond to deprivation; our metabolisms slow, and our drive to acquire food increases. Hence most that start a diet end up gaining more weight as a result. Instead, make health a priority; aim to exercise more, eat more fruits and vegetables and drink more water.
Standard resolution: I will do all of my readings
Realistic resolution: For some, this is achievable. However for those of us who are committed to intramurals, clubs or part-time jobs, completing all of your readings with a full course load may not be doable. Rather than rush through every reading with the goal of getting them over with, set aside a chunk of time per week and review your lecture notes from that week. When the material is reiterated, look at your chapter summaries if your textbook provides them; this will give you a good understanding of what the chapter covers, and when midterms and exams roll around you can dedicate more time to each chapter. If you’re studying math, do a few practice problems to keep things fresh. If your readings are article based, go through and highlight key words or phrases.
Standard resolution: I will stop eating sugar, gluten and/or drinking caffeine
Realistic resolution: Going cold turkey on anything raises a red flag, and why deprive yourself of something you enjoy? Rather than making a commitment to cut out sugar, aim to replace processed sugar with natural sugar sources, like honey, agave or stevia, when you’re baking or want to sweeten up your beverage. If you want to dabble with gluten-free eating, make one meal a day gluten free, or make a conscious decision to use more quinoa or brown rice in place of bread. Rather than cutting out caffeine entirely and suffering headaches and exhaustion, start your day with a cup of coffee and switch to decaf from thereafter. When your body is accustomed, you can start to wean yourself off caffeine entirely by incorporating decaf-only days.
Standard resolution: I will wake up early
Realistic resolution: By all means aim towards being an early riser, but do it gradually; if you’re used to waking up at 10 every morning and start setting your alarm for 6:30, your body isn’t going to respond well. Instead, start setting your alarm half an hour earlier for a few days, and then reduce your wakeup time by another half hour and so on. This way your body will become accustomed to your changing routine.
How do you intend on keeping your New Year’s resolutions?
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