Let’s be honest—goals in January are hard to stick to.
The start of a new year can inspire us, but the feeling doesn’t always last. Our advice? Don’t be so hard on yourself, and create a plan you can stick to. We’re all human, and over-committing is our specialty! The best long-term goals for students are the ones we can stick to. Here’s how to make realistic New Year’s resolutions that won’t bring you down in February:
Make Specific Goals
People tend to set sweeping and generalized goals for their New Year’s resolutions, which makes reaching them tricky. How will you know when you have accomplished your resolution if it’s confusing to begin with?
Instead of making broad statements, like “I want to get good grades in 2023,” reasonable long-term goals for students should be grade-specific. For instance, tell yourself, “I want to get a B+ or higher overall grade in my math course during the spring semester.”
Adjusting your goals and making them reasonable, specific, and manageable will allow you to keep track of your progress. The more defined your goals are, the more motivated you will feel about working toward them. And you won’t get burned out on day one!
Focus on the Things that You Care About
Your New Year’s Resolutions should mean something to you personally. If the gym doesn’t inspire you, you should avoid forming resolutions around pumping iron or running on the treadmill. But if wellness is still your goal, find something you love that gets you moving. Daily walks, intramural soccer games, or pickleball still counts as exercise.
If you set goals that excite you, you’re bound to work harder to see the results. This advice may seem obvious, but the social pressure to make “popular” New Year’s resolutions can get to anyone.
Your New Year’s resolutions can—and should!—be different from your peers. It’s better to set your own unique goals. This way, you won’t compare your progress to everyone else’s throughout the new year.
Set Up Rewards for Yourself
Long-term goals for students can be hard to achieve without incentives, so it’s a good idea to give yourself something to work toward. Give yourself rewards to enjoy along the way instead of only celebrating when you finish.
For example, set a goal and say, “if I get an A on my first math test, I will buy myself new shoes.” Then, when you get an A at the end of the semester, you can get the outfit to match the shoes.
Some more ideas for progress rewards include:
- Buying new clothes
- Spending a fun night (in or out) with friends
- Visiting your favorite restaurant
- Making a large purchase for your hobby
- Having a self-care day
These are great ways to motivate yourself toward your New Year’s resolutions year-round (and you won’t even have to wait until the end of the year to enjoy extra fun).
Be Kind to Yourself
Any form of progress is significant progress! If you spend time beating yourself up about your slip-ups or other mistakes, you will lose that excitement you felt in the first place.
New Year’s resolutions are meant to be goals that will improve your health, happiness, and well-being, so it’s counterproductive to stress over them. Some stress is healthy, but it should never hurt your day-to-day ability to do things or impact your self-worth. Take everything one day at a time, and do not be afraid to start again if you stumble.
Get an Accountability Partner
A great way to stay on track this New Year is to partner with someone else. Find an accountability partner and tell them about your goals, your timeline, and the milestones you want to hit along the way. You can keep each other on track; teamwork makes achieving goals easier!
Enjoy the New Year in EPOCH Clemson Student Living
Long-term goals for students can be hard to achieve, but we are always around to help you. No matter where you come from, you are welcome on our campus! Apply online to begin your journey with EPOCH Clemson Student Living!