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A new semester provides the perfect opportunity to start fresh, but the same can also be said of New Year’s Day. If you count on resolutions to give your lifestyle a boost, you are certainly not alone. Research published in PLoS One indicates that nearly half of people plan to make resolutions for the following year. Top areas of focus include health, finances, and—for college students—academic performance.

The act of setting a resolution can supply motivation and accountability, but settling on the right resolution matters. You should personally connect to your resolutions and determine whether they will genuinely improve your health and mentality.

To help you start the planning process, we highlight examples of New Year’s resolutions for students. In addition, we explain why these resolutions are so worthwhile and the steps you can take to implement these changes.

Starting Fresh: The Importance of New Year’s Resolutions for Students

It can be easy to get caught up in the grind of everyday life and begin feeling uninspired. Sometimes, the mere perception of a new beginning can be enough to jolt you out of complacency. While a new semester, month, or even week or day can form the basis of a fresh start, there is something special about the concept of a new year. This blank slate helps you feel as if you are in control and not beholden to your past experiences. Look to these resolutions to get a strong start:

1. Create a Consistent Study Routine

If your study routine feels haphazard or inconsistent, it might be time for a change. A new semester provides the perfect opportunity to revamp your study habits and develop a routine that works for you. This should reference not only when you study but also where and how. If you have access to your schedule for the new semester (and especially to your syllabi), take this chance to map out your next few months and determine how you will bring more structure to your study routine.

How Can a Study Routine Benefit Students?

A study routine offers much-needed consistency and accountability. While you may not stick with the routine 100 percent of the time, its simple existence should go a long way toward preventing procrastination. If you divide the work throughout the semester and schedule time for breaks, you can accomplish more in less time.

2. Diversifying Knowledge: Learning Something New

College should encourage you to expand your horizons, but what if you start to feel too comfortable? Complacency is best avoided. Rather, it is through exploring new material that the process of learning becomes less intimidating and more enjoyable.

There are many ways to achieve this resolution. As a college student, you will benefit and become better-rounded from taking elective courses outside the scope of your usual classes. This helps you satisfy your requirements for graduation as well as exposes you to new concepts and perspectives you might otherwise never discover. These different ideas can contribute to your broader base of knowledge and expand your skill set in unexpected ways. You may even discover a newfound passion!

If you are unable to dramatically diversify your knowledge through course selection, there is a range of ways to continue learning and growing. A new book or podcast can make a world of difference, particularly if it covers a topic you typically shy away from. You can also attend one-off classes or workshops or sign up for a new club. The goal is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

3. Understanding the Value of Seeking Help When Needed

New Year’s resolutions tend to be focused on self-improvement, and though there is nothing wrong with that, it may be worth your while to look beyond and consider other more accessible changes you can make. A simple resolution that is definitely attainable? Learning to ask for help.

This begins with knowing where to seek support—and thankfully, as a college student, you enjoy access to plenty of resources. A lot depends on the type of help you need, but when in doubt, count on assistance available through:

  • Mental health and wellness services
  • Health services
  • Center for Academic Success
  • Center for Career & Professional Development

4. The Crucial Role of Sleep in Student Life

College students are alarmingly lacking in sleep, and unfortunately, the implications of this lack of rest can be problematic for not just mental and physical health but also academic performance. A growing body of research indicates that both the quantity and quality of your sleep play into how you fare as a college student.

This resolution may seem simple, yet it is more nuanced than you might think. You can set a goal of getting a certain number of hours of sleep, but this will accomplish little unless you determine how to effectively execute this plan. For instance, if you are currently pulling all-nighters because you have a tendency to procrastinate, your sleep-based resolution should emphasize time management as well.

Furthermore, you need to be mindful of your sleep environment: one with low levels of light and noise. Plan to fall asleep and wake up at approximately the same time each day to establish more consistency in your sleep routine. It is also essential to develop and stick to a wind-down routine that includes minimal exposure to electronic devices before bed.

5. Prioritizing Learning Over Grades: A Paradigm Shift

Grades undoubtedly matter, but they need not be the sole and central focus of your college experience. Instead, these should provide insight into your progress toward longer-term goals, such as gaining knowledge and skills that will help you in the professional world and your personal life after graduation. When you shift your focus away from strict metrics like grades, you can recapture your love of learning and truly engage with the material.

This is a more complex resolution to implement—chances are, your entire concept of learning revolves around the almighty grade point average. One of the best ways to get started is to set academic goals based on the types of skills or concepts you hope to master each semester rather than strictly focusing on the grade you want to achieve. Each syllabus can offer context around these core ideas, and you may also ask professors for insight.

6. Achieving School-Life Balance: The Key to Long-Term Success

Balance is a must in all walks of life, but it can be difficult to achieve as a college student. Between classes, work, extracurricular, and your social life, you may sometimes feel pulled in too many directions or worry you never have any time to truly relax. If striking a balance is a struggle, it is worth pursuing as a New Year’s resolution, even in lieu of more common goals related to academic performance. After all, without balance, all other areas will suffer.

How Can Students Maintain a School-Life Balance?

There is no formula for achieving balance, but for many students, this involves prioritizing and purposefully scaling back commitments. Take time to assess how you spend your week and determine which pursuits deliver the most value or enjoyment. Set a goal of saying no to requests or engagements that make you feel overwhelmed.

7. Overcoming Procrastination: Strategies and Tips

Procrastination is one of the most common challenges today’s students face, so it should come as no surprise that this is also one of the most common academic New Year’s resolutions.

If this is the year you plan to kick procrastination for good, be prepared to change your entire mindset behind how you study and manage your time. Begin by creating a consistent study routine that includes regular reviews. Get involved with a study group, and add incentives or rewards to keep you (and group members) on track.

8. Organizational Skills for Academic Success

Getting organized takes dedication, and even students who manage their time effectively may struggle to juggle so many assignments, documents, and schedules. A solid organization system can streamline your study efforts and make your personal space feel calm and comfortable. Additionally, organization helps limit the stressful scenario of needing a particular item and then searching fruitlessly for it.

If your resolution focuses on organization, identify which habits stand in the way of getting your space in order. Remember, this is rarely as straightforward as buying a new filing system or other organizational supplies. Rather, you need a simple, easy-to-follow routine you can rely on no matter how busy or stressed you feel. Use a planner, calendar, and filing system to bring structure to your schedule and your life.

9. The Benefits of Active Campus Involvement

How involved are you in your campus community? Perhaps you have been so focused on coursework that you have neglected the wider world of college and all its opportunities. Strong campus involvement makes you feel more invested in your college experience and connected to fellow students navigating that experience by your side. This can serve as a powerful form of networking (but is also a lot of fun).

The easiest way to get more engaged? Join a club or student organization. This is a tried-and-true solution for building your social circle on campus. If you are already loosely involved with a few organizations, this could be an ideal time to take the next step and strive for leadership roles. Organizations always need help, and your efforts could make a positive difference while also strengthening your connections with club members.

10. Mental Health: The Unsung Hero of Student Success

Success does not strictly revolve around grades or career achievements; instead, value should be placed on equipping student to thrive in both their personal and professional lives. This begins with improving mental health or gaining skills to maintain your well-being in a number of settings and situations.

New Year’s resolutions can build accountability into this effort. A great way to start is by signing up for counseling services. This is an essential first step toward taking charge of your mental health and getting the insight and support you need.

Other previously mentioned resolutions can play into this effort, too. For example, if you establish better balance in your life, your mental health will naturally improve along the way. Similarly, you can boost your mental health by developing stronger relationships with other students and getting more involved in campus life. In addition, it is critical to address concerns such as poor sleep or dietary issues, which also contribute to your emotional well-being.

Prepare for an Amazing New Year at Post

At Post, we are here to support students as they make progress toward various goals. We want to see you succeed and are happy to assist you every step of the way. Reach out today to learn more about our student services and other opportunities to improve your college experience.


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Please note jobs and/or career outcomes highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs or career outcomes expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s programs and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions advisor.