January is a time to get excited! Motivated! Encouraged! There’s no need to make a big deal about New Year’s Resolutions, just set some realistic goals and habits for yourself for the year and beyond. Whether it’s healthy eating, reading one book a month, saving money or working out 3x a week (are you taking advantage of your *free* College Rec Center?!) – it’s a good thing to have goals. Chances are, you aren’t going to train to run a marathon in a month. But you could easily run a 5K! Setting attainable goals can help you stay on track and feel accomplished when you succeed.
A great habit to develop to help with goal setting (and being a more organized adult in general) is using a day planner. Your local Walgreens has them for $3-$6 or you can use a calendar app on your phone (check out Sunrise or Pocket Life, both are free to download). If you often feel a little lost or like there aren’t enough hours in the day, planners and ‘To Do’ lists can be your saving grace. Keep track of your assignments, work schedule, social events and day-to-day life activities all in one place. Planners also make it easy to document your goal progress – for example, if you worked out 3 times a week the entire month of January, note that in your planner to keep yourself on track.
A few more goal-setting tips for the road: don’t set too many goals. This can cause you to become overwhelmed and burned out. Also, don’t give up too fast! Achieving your goals won’t happen overnight or even in 7 days. It takes at least 3 weeks to develop a new habit so stick with it – even better, find a friend with a similar goal and hold each other accountable. If you’re the only person who knows about it, no one will know if you quit or give up. But when you share your goal with someone, it will make you work even harder.
Now that you have a few suggestions to get 2016 started with a bang, get out there and set goals! Start by answering these questions: “What do I want to accomplish this month/semester/year?” “Does anyone close to me have the same goal?” “What small changes can I make to get started?”