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Hermine Chan

Writing Services Coordinator
Simon Fraser University Library

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A piece of paper with "New Years Resolutions" written on it.
Credit
Tim Mossholder from Unsplash
If your goal is to study harder in the year, start with something small!

This blog was originally posted on the SFU Library Student Learning Commons blog on January 12, 2021. 

Happy New Year, everyone! Welcome back to another new term! On behalf of the SLC team, I wish everyone stays healthy in the new year and be motivated to make the most of 2021!

It's 12 days into the New Year. Have you figured out your New Year's Resolutions yet? Are you still having trouble getting started? Or have you already given up? 

The most common New Year's Resolutions will probably sound somewhat familiar: 

  • Eat healthier

  • Exercise more 

  • Study harder 

  • Stop procrastinating 

  • Be kinder to people

  • Keep the house clean

  • Etc.

How many people stick to their resolutions by the end of January? If you're like me, despite saying that I'm gonna start exercising more, there are still no activities recorded on my Strava app yet! The pandemic certainly isn't helping, and the rain and the darkness make any desire to go outside plummet to zero...

But for those who are able to get started and keep going, how do they do it? Here are a few tips that might be helpful when you want to stick to your New Year's Resolutions: 

Set realistic goals

Nobody knows you like you do. If you haven't gone out of the house in the last 10 months, it might not be the easiest thing to force yourself to run a marathon by the end of the month. If you plan to write 12 novels in the year--it can be done, but it takes a lot out of you and might leave you feeling more tired and unable to accomplish anything else. If you're setting goals that cannot be realistically achieved, you're more likely to be discouraged and quit. 

But if you start small, it's much easier to get there, and you'll want to push a little bit further. If your goal is to study harder in the year, start with something small, like aiming to write a one-paragraph review summary for your courses at the end of the week. You'll find that you can do this--and you'll want to do more. 

Celebrate the little achievements

2020 has been a rough year for everyone, and one of the consistent challenges is to be kind to yourself. Things have been difficult for a lot of us: being isolated from our loved ones, being uncertain about our futures, or facing financial difficulties. Give yourself permission to celebrate the baby steps in the right direction. If you wiped down the stove and you dusted the shelves, you have the permission to reward yourself! Have a donut!

Focus on the process and not the results

If your goal is to start living a healthier lifestyle, it might be easy to get distracted when you step on the scale and feel discouraged when you don't see any improvements yet. Instead of looking at the results, you should feel good about the steps that you've undertaken to try and change. If you've been eating healthier, going out more to exercise, and having fun as you do it--that's a great achievement! Keep it up!

Give it time

Rome wasn't built in one day, and neither is the new you! Research shows that it can take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days to form a new habit--so if you don't feel successful yet, keep trying! If your plan is to attend a virtual toastmaster to improve your public speaking and networking skills, the first few sessions are probably not going to yield a lot of results. But if you keep at it, you'll get more comfortable, and you'll see your own improvements eventually. Don't give up too soon. 

Take action today

And if procrastination is your number one enemy, kick it in the behind and start doing something about it! We're going to be running a Writing Without Procrastination Workshop on Saturday morning, January 16, 2020. If that sounds like what you need, register for it, and mark it on your calendar! We look forward to seeing you at our webinar!

Find a buddy and get creative

Sometimes it's hard to go it alone, and you might just need a friendly push. Get a like-minded friend to help you be accountable. My friend and I have an arrangement--I have an irrational fear of geckos. If I tell her I'm going to work out and I don't, she has permission to send me a picture of a gecko. If you said you were gonna read one chapter of your textbook after class, tell your friend. They might come up with inventive ways to keep you on track.

Try something new

If you find yourself feeling stuck in the repeating cycle of the same New Year's Resolutions year after year, make 2021 the year when you finally try something new! Step out of your comfort zone, expose yourself to new ideas, and meet new people. You can experience what other things life has to offer, grow as a person, and make the most of this new year! 

About the Author

Hermine Chan

Writing Services Coordinator
Simon Fraser University Library

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