Tips and tricks to keep your New Year’s resolutions on track

The beginning of the spring semester, in tangent with the start of the new year, always includes promises of self-betterment and  plenty of motivation to match. Students return with well-rested brains after a month-long break, equipped with New Year’s resolutions to focus on all semester.

Art by Shideh Ghandeharizadeh | Daily Trojan

As great as these ideas sound, New Year’s resolutions never seem to last past the first two weeks, as it can be difficult to consistently work toward them all year. Nevertheless, this year will be the year you finally break through that two-week block, and here’s how you’ll do it.

The day before class starts, plan out your semester. Fill in  your electronic calendar, or buy a physical planner if you don’t carry a laptop around for classes. By organizing your schedule like this, you will be able to set aside time that will not clash with your prior commitments, and spend that time following through on resolutions, such as working out at the gym.  

Make promises to yourself to attend every class and download to-do lists and Chrome extensions that help with motivation. Take advantage of that adrenaline rush from the “new year, new me” mentality and make 2018 the year you finally achieve those goals you have not achieved in the past.

Usually, the first few days of class will be refreshing — a good exercise for a brain that hasn’t been used since early December. However, by week two, you start to lapse back into old habits. You think to yourself, “today’s my cheat day, I’ll get back on the grind tomorrow.” The day after, you tell yourself the same thing. Within a few days, those goals that you set two short weeks ago have fallen apart, and another year goes by without change.

This year, when you hit that slump in week two, push through. Ignore the devil in your head telling you to give up. Instead, keep your calendar and to-do lists open on your computer and use it as a motivator. Continue to hit the gym, go to your 9 a.m. class and get to sleep at a reasonable time.

Reward yourself with small things, like getting yourself an açai bowl if you successfully adhere to your goals for a whole week. Those few days might seem like the worst few days of your year, but they are also the most important. With small rewards and motivators, the whole process will become less grueling and more doable. As soon as you get through those few days, the rest of the year will be an easy cruise.

Studies have shown that humans tend to view their future selves as other people, and therefore form unrealistic expectations for what’s to come. However, it’s much more important, and useful, to imagine your present self in your future self’s shoes. If you can follow through with your goals, not only will you improve, but your future self will have a much easier time improving as well. By studying that extra hour for your class and abolishing cheat days, you are doing your future self a huge favor.

Whether it is a healthier lifestyle, better grades or better relationships with friends and family, these New Year’s resolutions were created to incite change in your life. It takes hard work and dedication to follow through on these goals, but the outcome will certainly be worth it. Make this semester the semester you turn your life around because after all those years of procrastination, it’s about time for a change.