You said you were going to eat healthy, but Friday night you ate an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in under an hour. You promised yourself you would be organized, but you have no idea where your syllabus is that you just printed last week. You bought sports attire because 2018 is the year you’re going to go to the gym, but three weeks in you’ve only worn it once.
Yeah, sometimes New Year’s resolutions are easier said than done. That’s where help from an expert can come in handy. Adonis McCullum, graduate assistant and success coach in the Office of Experiential Education and Learning, who routinely helps students reach their goals, has us covered.
Don’t give up
First things first, if you’re having a tough time reaching your New Year’s resolution, don’t throw in the towel.
“If a student starts to get off track from a New Year’s Resolution, [they should] start over. It’s as simple as that,” said McCullum. “Stay persistent.”
McCullum said that sometimes fear can get in the way of a goal or make you think it’s not realistic, but not to let the negativity get to you.
“If something scares me, but I can see it happening at the same time; that’s how I know it’s realistic,” he said.
Basically, keep trying.
Find your motivation
McCullum said it’s important to be motivated to achieve your goals, but that can be difficult if you don’t evaluate why you’re setting it and how you’ll accomplish it.
“The main thing is knowing why. You say you want to go the gym, but why?” explained McCullum. “So a student might say ‘to live a healthier life, to live longer.’ Great! Now you know why you’re doing it which will make staying motivated that much easier.”
Once you know why you’re setting a goal, you should know how you’ll attain it. McCullum said that students should make a plan using small steps which can help you achieve your goals. To use the previous gym example, McCullum said that a student might go to the gym more by finding a friend to go with them — or at least hold them accountable. If you find yourself losing motivation at any point, return to the reason why you’re striving toward the goal and how your plan can you help you reach it.
If you haven’t already, write your goals down
McCullum said one of the most important things that most of us don’t do is write down their goals.
“We say a lot of things, right? We tend to say things, but then when we just say them instead of writing them down, they get lost in the air,” said McCullum.
He recommends writing your resolutions down and going through them near the end of the year, keeping track by crossing off all the ones you’ve kept.
Find an accountability buddy
McCullum’s final piece of advice was to find an accountability buddy: someone who can hold you accountable for staying on track. It helps if this person has the same goal as you. In McCullum’s example, a student who wants to study more should find a friend to study with weekly. Setting a date and time with that friend makes you more likely to keep the goal, because now someone else is involved.