A new year is a great way to recover from last year’s mistakes. Accordingly, having resolutions for 2017 is cool, but actually keeping and achieving your them is a whole other story. 2016 was a rough, so if you’re anything like me, I really want to keep my resolutions this year. Below I’ve compiled a list of popular resolutions (that often fail), and provide tips on how to actually keep them.
Lose weight/get fit
This resolution is the most common culprit for a “tried and failed” resolution — which explains why the gym is swarming with people in January and empty in February. There’s no denying being motivated to lift weights, go for a run, or even move from your desk is a challenge when university is in full force. That’s why the best way to get going is to find someone to keep you accountable, whether that’s a friend, a significant other, or scoping somebody out at the gym who looks like they know what they’re doing. Not only will they help get your butt moving, but you’re returning the favour! Couple this with scheduled weekly work outs, and not only will you start to get back in shape, but you’ll have an excuse to see someone you won’t see as often because of school. The other component of this resolution, healthy eating, is easier said than done. Who wants to eat a salad at 4 a.m. when you’re frantically finishing an essay you should’ve started weeks ago? The first step is to realize you don’t have to cut out all the junk — it’s about moderation. If you make a goal for yourself to eat healthier three or four times a week, you can still have a few days where you eat what you’re craving without feeling as guilty.
Get enough sleep
When you have five classes to take, all of which have assignments due within days of each other, there is barely time to breathe let alone sleep. Of course, there is going to be the odd night or two staying up past 2:00 a.m. is necessary, but during the rest of the week, you will find yourself feeling significantly better if you get a solid eight hours while going to bed consistently around the same time. One trick to help you get there is to set an alarm for yourself — not for when you want to sleep, but for getting ready for bed. If your goal is to be asleep by midnight, set an alarm for 11. This gives you an hour to do whatever you need to do before you crash, and is a gentle reminder that you need your beauty sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep, I swear by warm milk with honey and a TINY bit of vanilla. Works wonders.
Drink more water
We often forget that grade 3 science class tid-bid that our bodies are three quarters made up of water. I for one consistently forget to keep hydrated, and then wonder why I feel like crap. The only thing that I’ve found to encourage me to drink more is downloading iHydrate. It’s an app that sends you reminders to have a swig of H2O when you need it. It tracks how much you’ve had to drink throughout the day, and recommends how much more you need to meet a healthy quota. If you don’t drink enough because you just don’t like the taste of water (there are people out there like this, I assure you), consider a liquid flavouring. Try to avoid anything with sucralose in large doses. It’s a fine sugar substitute, but not the greatest for your system.
Put your phone away
On a daily basis, it’s easy to forget there is life past our phone screens. It’s hard to ditch them as they’re a major form of communication, but connecting with the world around you offline is important, not only for building relationships but also for personal happiness. A challenge to set for yourself is, like with junk food, to be more aware of your usage without quitting cold turkey. Instead of plugging your phone in right beside your bed, plug it in across the room (plus, it’s been scientifically proven using a cell phone’s form of blue light disrupts sleep). If you realize you’ve been on it for longer than you should be, set it down and walk away for a bit. Come back in a half hour. Chances are you didn’t miss anything that important. And remember, when you are with a real life human, get off your phone.
I saw a picture recently that resonated with me. A man is holding a jar with the word “happiness” on it. A second man asks him where he found it, as he was searching for it everywhere. The first man replies “I made it myself.” Sometimes being happy isn’t as simple as thinking “happy” — depression and anxiety have minds of their own. But one thing I truly believe in is the ability to change your perspective. This isn’t as simple as saying “today I will be happy.” No, that’s not how life works. However, by isolating specific things in your life that you can be grateful for, helps me put things into perspective. By making a list of what you are thankful for that day, or giving yourself positive affirmations daily, it ideally can train you to change your outlook. It takes major practice and determination, but in the long run, it’s worth it.