New year, new you, right? The odds are, things won't drastically change for us personally between December 31, 2015 and January 1st, 2016. However, that doesn't mean that we won't drastically change between the dawn of the year and the beginning of 2017. We have 365 new days, usually. But thanks to 2016 being a leap year, we have 366 days to make a big difference in our lives. That means that now really is the time to set ourselves up to meet our personal, emotional, financial, academic or other goals. I think we can all agree that each year we have that friend (or maybe we are the friend) that makes an over-the-moon goal. Usually, those get dumped by the halfway mark of January. But we can still make goals that aren't huge, but are hugely impactful.
1. Save a small amount of money every week
Instead of having that last latte or extra meal out, stash 5 or 10 dollars every week in a jar. By the end of the year, you can be looking at anywhere from 200-600 dollars to use for anything you want or need, without taking a hit to your wallet every week that causes you to notice a difference.
2. Learn a new skill
Take time every day, few days or week to learn something new and improve yourself. Whether you take time to learn the basics of a new language in Duolingo, use Lynda to become a wiz at Microsoft office, or use YouTube to become a self trained makeup artist or learn how to do calligraphy, hobbies can help you destress while still being productive.
3. Give one person a compliment every day, and mean it
This can be as easy as telling a stranger that their shoes are cool or that their hair looks nice. Or, it can be an opportunity to tell the people in their life that you appreciate them. You can approach a professor about a lecture you particularly enjoyed, thank your best friend for always supporting them, or tell one of your teammates how big of a difference their positive attitude makes in practice.
4. Take time to recognize yourself
In the vein of complimenting someone else daily, you need to take time every day or as often as you can to recognize the small successes you're making every day. It's easy to pat ourselves on the back for amazing grades on a big test, or for winning whatever contest. But, sometimes we need to take time to applaud ourselves for the little things that are hard, like going to class on a day you're feeling shitty, or being there for your friend who needs someone to listen.
5. Put your phone down while you're with your friends
This isn't a hard and fast resolution for 100% of the time. There are times in study groups, casual hang outs or outings where it is totally cool to hop on your phone to answer a text or look for directions. But, if you find yourself feeling like you missed half the conversation, or like nobody is even spending time together, it may be time to set the phone down during the coffee date, group dinner, or one on one between class hangout.
6. Adopt a new hygiene or self-care routine
If you don't floss, start flossing. Please brush your teeth. Try to shower at a specific time every day. Have some rituals. Buy yourself a nice foot scrub for shower time. Get some face masks. Buy a new hair gel. Get a new facial hair treatment. Do something nice for yourself, that makes you feel good and makes your hair, skin, nails or whatever healthier.
7. Go to class
This sounds simple, but I think we all know that it's tougher than it seems. It is so easy to talk yourself out of the useless seeming 8AM, or skip the late night lab on Wednesday. But, I think we've all recognized how much of a difference it makes to always be in class. So, even if you're going to sit on Facebook or play on your phone, make sure you at least make it there and possibly attempt to listen.
8. Skip the gossip
Do you ever catch yourself realizing just how much time you spend discussing other people? We've all heard the saying that intelligent people discuss ideas while unintelligent people discuss others. I don't necessarily agree with the mantra 100%, but I do believe that our lives become better, happier and more positive when we don't exude negative energy by putting other people down behind their backs. Let steam off when you need, but get in the habit of talking about real things going on in the world, happy things, funny things, or personal things rather than filling conversations with gossip or smack talk.
9. Drink more water
A lot of people don't realize that they are seriously dehydrated. Many of us are drinking less than half the amount of water we should be. Drinking enough water improves your health, appearance and the way you feel. To accomplish this goal, look online for estimates of your suggested water intake for your height, weight and activity level. Then, buy a water bottle, note how much it holds, and make it your daily goal to drink 2, 3 or 4 to reach the amount of ounces you need.
10. Make one really good, new friend
Meeting great people is easy. Meeting great people, clicking and maintaining or growing a real friendship is hard. That is why this goal might take an entire year. Keep an eye out in your classes, clubs or around campus for someone you don't know yet and try to engage with them meaningfully. It might be worth while to focus on finding someone you wouldn't normally buddy up with. Getting to know someone, and letting them get to know you is one of the most rewarding parts of one-on-one interaction. By the end of the year, you could have a life long friend or at least an amazing coffee-chat buddy.
Or, explore alternatives to resolutions:
Instead of making a specific, little goal or task to strive for, consider setting a theme for your year. It starts with one simple sentence, "this year will be _____." Learn more about choosing a theme for your year in this article.
Lead Image Credit: Tumblr User time-to-get-focused