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Reinvigorate your resolutions: Start 2019 off right

By in Opinions
Two people walking along the Meewasin Trail next to the U of S on Dec. 11, 2018.

Let’s face it –– the chances of achieving your New Year’s resolutions are not high. It is good to want and accept change in your life, but when it comes to following through, that’s where most New Year’s resolutions fail.

Riding the euphoria of making New Year’s resolutions is the driving motivation for many people. Setting a goal is not the problem for most people — it’s breaking all those bad habits, balancing time management and effectively mapping their goals that are really their downfall.

Habits are defined as routines triggered by an environmental state or a stimulus. Bad habits can hinder your resolutions because your brain focuses on routines that do not benefit your goals. Evaluating these habits and how they contribute to your resolutions is the first step to overcoming your stagnant mind.

The best place to start is evaluating your habits and discovering what triggers them. Then, write down your associated habitual response to those triggers and strategize a new plan that will work for your goal. If this new plan helps you achieve your desired reward, practice it again.

For example, let’s say you desire to lose weight. The reward you anticipate would likely be increased self-confidence and a healthier lifestyle, but you have a habit of stress-associated eating. The routine you can use, in this case, is setting a goal of having healthy snacks available at all times, so when stress hits, you can chow down on some fruit instead of fries.

Vices are the hardest to break so, don’t expect to improve your routines all at once. It takes time and dedication before you will begin to see improvements, which can be discouraging at first. Instead, why not set goals that focus on changing one or two of your habits at a time so as not to overwhelm yourself.

Bad habits, such as procrastination, often stem from unsuccessful time-management skills. “I don’t have enough time” has become a common phrase for post-secondary students because of their studies, but it’s possible for everyone to make more time for things by using successful time-management strategies.

First, you need to calculate how much time you spend on activities. The best place to start is with listing your day-to-day activities. The next step is prioritizing these activities from most time-sensitive to least.

A university course on academic success recommends that, for every hour of class, you spend two hours studying. So when prioritizing your activities, remember to reserve time for your classes.

Planning for a two-hour study session after class is most effective because the information is still fresh in your mind. At this point, you will begin to see where your week’s worth of hours go and how much time you can afford to spend on extracurricular activities and leisure.

The last problem students face is creating an effective goal that they can visualize without issues. Goals like losing weight, being more fit or having a greater academic performance are fantastic, but they may not be for you.

S.M.A.R.T. goals is an abbreviation for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goals. By creating specific goals that have defined targets, they become practical objectives that can be accomplished in an appropriate time frame. Using this method will help you set goals and realize whether or not you are achieving your ideal results.

If you wish to reinvent yourself for 2019, then you must recognize these three problems first. With a few of these quick tricks, you can aspire to be in the 8 per cent of people who achieve their New Year’s resolutions.

By setting realistic and attainable goals, incorporating them into a time-management strategy and breaking the bad habits that do not contribute to your success, you are on your way to reaching your goals and obtaining both a healthier physical and mental lifestyle.

J.C. Balicanta Narag / Outreach Director

Photo: Riley Deacon / Photo Editor

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