How to Keep Your New (Academic) Year’s Resolutions!

It’s the start of a new term and a brand new year. You’ve had a relaxing Christmas break and are raring to go; ready to hit the books again, ready to get that First, that Distinction; to nail that dissertation.

You may well have used the Christmas break to reflect on last term. What could you have done better? What didn’t go so well? What do you need to change to really succeed this year? You may well have written a few New Year’s resolutions based around getting better grades this term.

Now, the problem with new year’s resolutions is that they are so easy to break. Many people write down a long list of impossible goals, things like ‘Cut out all sugar and caffine’ or ‘Exercise every day for an hour’. By February they are more than likely tucking into a Latte and a muffin in Costbucks and feeling guilty about paying for an unused gym membership.

So how can we avoid that all too familiar scenario?

Choose the ones that really matter

There’s nothing wrong with writing a long list of ambitious targets. But are you really going to exercise more, eat healthier, study 4 hours a day, join a society, spend more time outdoors, wake up and go to bed earlier, restrict your nights out….. Which ones are really going to make the biggest difference? Choose 2 or 3 that really matter and focus on them rather than overwhelming yourself with a long list of impossibles.

Break goals into achievable targets

Whether you’ve decided you’re going to exercise more or spend more time in the library, the likelihood is that after a long Christmas break anything is going to be a shock to the system. You’re far more likely to succeed if you break all your goals down into smaller, more achievable chunks. So for example, say you’ve resolved to spend 8 hours per week in the library. Start with just a couple of half hour slots per week. Achieving this is relatively easy, and the success will motivate you to keep the resolution going. Building up to your goals, rather than trying to achieve them straight away will give you a much better chance of reaching them.

Let yourself slip

With the best will in the world, there will be days or even weeks where you don’t meet the goals you set yourself. When this happens there is the temptation to give up entirely. Don’t. Just start again from where you left off, and keep building towards that vision you had when you wrote your resolutions.

A final word from ASP:

The likelihood is that your new year’s resolutions are focused around getting better grades, using your time better and generally being a more successful student. If that’s you, then the Academic Success Program is here to help. We offer one to one appointments where we’ll give you helpful advice on your work as well as running short courses on things like essay writing, critical thinking and time management. If your goals are to get better grades this year, we can help make it happen! Visit our Myuni page for more information.

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