If you are a human being who functions in the world, then you are familiar with New Year’s resolutions and, most likely, have written some for yourself at one point. But chances are, you’re also no stranger to how difficult it can be to maintain those resolutions past January 31—and you are not alone. An estimated 80 percent of Americans are not optimistic about sticking to their resolutions, and another 42 percent think it’s a “pointless” ritual to begin with, based on a survey from YouGov.
To successfully beat those odds, it’s helpful to shift your mindset from a resolution that demands staunch willpower to a routine that builds intention, endurance, and consistency. Whether the goals you want to pursue this year are rooted in academics, finances, relationships, career dreams, or personal growth, if you make them part of a habitual routine, they start to feel more achievable. You’ll also find the benefits will enhance numerous areas of your life.
“Following a daily routine can help you establish priorities, limit procrastination, keep track of goals and even make you healthier,” adds Chris Winfield, the co-founder and CEO of Super Connected Media.
In fact, since creating a routine around his own personal and professional endeavors, Winfield found, “Today I have more drive, motivation, and passion which makes reaching my goals easier and more fulfilling. I have more physical and mental energy to make it through my days, even the tough ones. I feel happier and more satisfied with the quality and depth of my life.”
On that note, here are some actionable ideas to map your own routine for 2020 for better health, success, and vitality.
Develop a Weekly Budget and Commit to Following It
From tuition and housing, to student fees and textbooks, to food and social activities, college can be expensive. The sooner you learn how to budget, the more financial control you’ll have. A budget helps you track the outflow of all money from your bank account to form smart habits around both saving and spending. Budgeting also ensures that you’re not broke halfway through the month and calling your parents to borrow cash for the concert all your friends have tickets for. If you are new to the idea of a budget, there are free mobile apps such as Mint, Wally, and Pocketguard to monitor your finances with the swipe of a finger.
Unplug from Social Media for a Couple Hours Each Day
As a digital native, you are part of the college student population raised in the era of smartphones and social media. However, while these tools offer instant connection to the world around you, this reliance on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook can lead to feelings of isolation. In fact, young adults between 18–22 are more prone to identify with loneliness than older generations, reports USA Today. Moreover, 80 percent of your age bracket uses social media daily for an average of 2 hours and 43 minutes, notes the University Professional and Continuing Education Association.
Start a trend on your campus (or with your friend group) and unplug from this excess of screen time in order to connect with people face-to-face.
Access the Mental Health Resources Offered on Campus
You lift weights, run on the treadmill, or take a yoga class to maintain physical fitness, but how often do you even think about exercising your mental and emotional stamina? More than one-third of college freshmen deal with anxiety, depression, and other related mood disorders, according to data from the World Health Organization, and it makes sense when you take into account the stress of academic performance, career objectives, and being independent for the first time. This is why mental health should be prioritized in the new year, and most universities offer onsite counseling—both individual therapy and group sessions—which is free to all students who need extra help.
Learn a New Skill—Both In and Outside of the Classroom
College provides unlimited access to explore whatever interests you, so take advantage of this to acquire skills that make you well-rounded as a person and marketable in a future profession. Here are a few examples to consider:
- Study a foreign language to hone multicultural communication.
- Volunteer at a nonprofit to learn community impact.
- Enroll in an internship to grow as a leader and team player.
- Take a writing course to boost critical analysis and creativity.
As SkillsYouNeed points out, learning “boosts your confidence and self-esteem, makes you less risk-averse and adaptable to change when it happens, helps you achieve a satisfying personal life, and challenges your ideas and beliefs.”
Create Positive Boundaries to Strengthen Relationships
Whether it’s your parents who insist that you FaceTime them at least twice a week, your significant other who vies for your spare time, or needy friends, certain relationships can add to your stress levels—and that’s where healthy boundaries come in. When you limit exposure to the activities and interactions that deplete you, while surrounding yourself with the activities and interactions that energize you, this will teach other people how to treat you. To create boundaries, use these questions from PsychCentral as a blueprint:
- How much attention do people expect from you at a moment’s notice?
- Do you always make yourself available?
- How much praise and acceptance do you receive?
- Why are you so popular with your friends?
- How do you feel after spending time with each friend or family member?
Create a Routine in 2020
If you want to set resolutions, go on ahead! (In fact, we have a blog post with a few recommendations). But also consider working on your routine in this new year. If you set yourself up with a realistic routine, you’ll find several other areas of your life will get lighter, you’ll feel more productive, and you’ll be happier in the process!