Have you ever noticed that we all make resolutions in early January, but by March almost everyone has forgotten about them? What’s the deal with that?
Behavior experts say that sticking to non-specific goals can be much trickier than holding yourself accountable to specific, measurable ones. For example, “earn better grades” is subjective; what does “better” mean, and how much better? On the other hand, these very targeted resolutions can help you become a “better” student, in specific ways that encourage commitment.
Exercise daily. Research has repeatedly shown that regular exercise boosts mood, and improves memory and concentration. Aim to get at least thirty minutes of exercise daily.
Set clear limits. Is a particular habit drawing attention away from your homework? It might be a video game, scrolling your Instagram feed, or binge-watching Netflix. If this habit encourages procrastination, set a clear limit for yourself. There’s no need to give up fun entirely; set a time limit or engage in these things only after you’ve finished homework for the day. It might feel better as a reward, anyway, instead of having responsibility hanging over your head.
Set a participation goal. If you’re the shy type in class, make a promise to yourself that you’ll speak up once per day. After a few weeks you’ll notice it getting easier.
Get organized. If you’ve struggled with organization in the past, make this your goal for January. Turn off your phone or any other distractions, clean your desk, clean out your backpack, and mark deadlines on your calendar.
Study every day. Between your classes and SAT or ACT preparation, you have plenty to accomplish. Set a resolution to study every day, and put it on your schedule.
Read. Promise yourself that you’ll read one book per month (or some other number that works for your schedule). And no, assigned books don’t count! When you choose your own reading material, you develop your own interest and unique worldview. This comes across as a deeper personality, and might make you more interesting during college entrance interviews.