You’ve just survived this last decade, the 2010’s. And what an incredible decade it was! It could be that this last year, 2019, was a good year for you. Or perhaps 2019 was the worst year yet. Either way, it’s best to put the past behind you and be in the moment for the new decade upon us, the 2020’s!
As you reflect on changes you want to make in 2020, make sure that the goals you are setting for yourself are attainable ones. It helps if you set small goals that, together, make up the big picture goal. Some general goals you might have could be:
- to get good grades,
- be healthy,
- get organized, and
- save money.
Here are some ways to set up small goals within these bigger goals for your 2020 New Year’s Resolutions.
Let’s dive in.
Get Good Grades
Getting good grades is an important goal to have because it leads to the big picture goal of graduating from the University of California in Davis, or whichever college you attend.
Getting good grades seems like a simple goal. However, we all know that getting good grades is not that simple because it requires a lot of time, effort, and commitment.
There are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to getting good grades.
Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can improve grades just by adjusting regular habits.
One of the best places to focus your time and efforts is in developing good study habits. Hopefully, you already have good study habits in place; habits learned in high school. They certainly helped in getting you into college.
College life offers a multitude of distractions; distractions that can chip-away at good study habits. Don’t let those distractions impact your success. Stay on top of those great study habits.
Need a refresher on study habits while at college? Check out this blog post on preparing for midterms and finals.
Review your class syllabus thoroughly
The first week of the school term can often be very relaxed, perhaps you just got back from break and everyone, including your professors, are getting back into the swing of things.
However, the most important thing to do during the first week of the term is to thoroughly read the syllabus for your class. 99.9% of the information you need to be successful in your class is located on the syllabus.
Print it. Read it multiple times. Make notes on it. Understand the information that is on your class syllabus!
Do not just throw it away either. Keep it handy; with you in your class binder or folder. Scan it and put it on your phone and computer. Take a picture of it and keep it on your phone. Make sure you can always refer to the course syllabus.
Often, there are important due dates for tests, papers, projects, etc. listed on the syllabus. These dates may be far off into the future, but don’t use them as an excuse to procrastinate.
Remember, you have 3, 4, 5 classes? Procrastinating in one class can lead to procrastinating in other classes. When those due dates come around, everything will get bunched-up and you will have a lot of work to do on your hands.
Not fun at all.
There is no excuse for getting the work done when you knew about it on the first day of class.
Never skip classes
Challenge yourself to never skip a class, unless of course there are extreme circumstances beyond your control. Often, professors give points to students just for showing up and participating in class. Those are the easiest points to get!
In addition, when you go to class every day, you are not going to miss out on any of the material the professor covers and it will be easier to retain the information outside of class because you’ve already had the teacher explain the topic using key words.
Sometimes professors can be a bit more generous towards students with exemplary attendance. A little bit of leniency in the event of an emergency may save you a point or two in a tough situation.
Stay on top of studying
Study during the entire term and not just the night before mid-terms or the final test. You will thank yourself that you took the time to stay on top of studying. Taking the extra time helps you to better understand the class materials.
No need to stress during finals week. Studying throughout the term improves information retention. Cramming is a surefire way to create stress and overload right before finals.
Staying on top of studying includes class reading too. Read all the assigned reading your professor assigns instead of skimming or reading the “SparkNotes” or “CliffsNotes” versions.
A common New Year’s resolution is about health; diet or exercise. Health is a great goal to have and there are lots of ways to make small health related changes which can help you achieve your overall goal to be a healthier person.
For instance, a great way to start small in improving your diet is to incorporate at least one cup of vegetables at each meal. Most health websites suggest adults should have up to 2-3 cups of vegetables per day.
Set an attainable workout schedule. When you do set a schedule, carve out 20-60 minutes for your workout.
A great idea is to work out with friends or roommates to help keep you accountable or go to group workout classes. Many of the residents in the apartments located in North Davis take advantage of all the greenbelt paths to jog, walk or ride their bikes together for exercise, great views and fresh air. Not only is it a great opportunity to catch up with current friends or roommates, but also a chance to meet new people.
Another healthy choice is to drink more water throughout the day; There are lots of studies that suggest drinking a half ounce for every pound you weigh. For example, if you weigh 130 lbs., it is recommended that you should drink 65 ounces of water in a day.
One way you can incorporate drinking more water is to get a reusable canteen or water bottle. Fill it up before you head out to class. Then you can refill it at one of the many water stations located throughout the UC Davis campus.
For more information on how to maintain healthy habits in college, check out these tips on Staying Healthy in College: Top Eating and Workout Tips.
The key to being more organized starts at the root of all things, keeping your room clean. At the very least, if you make your bed every day, you will have accomplished one thing during the day. And once you accomplish that one task you will want to do another task, which for example, could be to pick-up 5 items and put them where they belong. This theory helps if you tend to keep a messy room and want to improve on consistently keeping an orderly bedroom.
Often when you look at your messy room that looks like a tornado came through and destroyed it with all your clothes and belongings lying around, it can be extremely overwhelming. It’ll even make you think, “where do I even begin?!”. Taking these small organizing steps of making your bed every day and to pick-up at minimum 5 items and putting them where they belong could possibly even motivate you to keep going and accomplish more organizational tasks.
Try using a planner
A vital part of keeping organized is to have a planner. There are tons of different kinds of calendars and planners; paper or electronic. If you go the paper planner route, you want to use a relatively medium sized one so that you can record all the things you need to do and be able to accessibly carry the planner around at home, school, or work.
What is great about planners is that you can record “to-do” lists, homework due dates, paper deadlines, exam dates, appointments, extra curriculars, work schedules, etc. Keeping a planner also heavily improves time management because you can see all the things that need to be accomplished in the month, week, and day.
Keep your finances organized
Keeping a folder of financials is another great way to stay organized with rent, utilities, credit card bills, subscriptions, etc. It is convenient to keep track of your spending habits by keeping everything you need in a folder sectioned out by month. If you have a job you can also keep track of your paystubs or proof of income in your financial folder as well. Keeping your financials organized will help you later down the road when you eventually one day buy a house and need a loan, for example, you must provide proof of income and the ability to pay bills on time. When that day does come, you will be fully prepared to provide the information from your financial folder.
There are many ways to make small changes to your spending habits that will improve the way you spend less and save more money. For example, you can create a budget for yourself for the month. Section your budget by income, rent, utilities, groceries, self-care, savings, etc. That way you know how much to allow yourself each month to spend or save each of the sections you have allocated for yourself for the month.
Another example to save money is to make most of your meals at home. This can be a huge money saver, especially if you normally go out to eat for every meal.
You can start small by challenging yourself to make at least two meals per-week at home. To help on saving time, plan for big meals once or twice a week and then reheat leftovers for days you are “on the go”. You can find lots of recipes online that you can make at home.
Find a job
If necessary and you are able, it is beneficial to get a job while in school. Not only are you able to make a paycheck and bring in income to put towards expenses or to have extra spending money, but it is a great way to grow your resume. When you graduate from college and start to apply for jobs related to your degree, you can leverage the skills and experience from the job you had while you were going to school.
Ultimately what it all boils down to when spending money is determining needs versus wants. It’s important to satisfy your needs first and then if you’re able to afford your wants, you can satisfy those wants. But often, it is best to save up money for your wants for a later time when you are comfortable financially enough to afford them.
Accomplishing Your New Year’s Resolutions
Accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions can be a daunting venture. From the tips above, you can see that if you take the challenge as a bunch of small tasks, you won’t feel so overwhelmed and improve your chances of achieving your goals. Just remember, although college requires hard work and dedication to studies, be sure you are carving time to spend with friends and family. In addition, reaching out to people that are not in your everyday life.
Life is a balancing act of all the things that are important to us. You’ve survived the 2010’s and now its time to take on the new decade.
You got this!
Hope your 2020 year is exceptional and that you accomplish all your resolutions!
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