How to Make 2018 Your Year

By Sonja Malek, Academics Editor

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The first week back at school after break seemed to drag on forever, and it’s time to take a moment to regroup before school is back in full swing. If you’ve already broken every one of your New Year’s resolutions about procrastination and homework this first week, don’t sweat it. I’m going to give you a few tips to make 2018 your year (for real this time).

In order to make better resolutions for myself this year, I looked to last year’s to see what went right and what went wrong. The main issue I saw with my own resolutions was that they either weren’t realistic or I had no plan on how I was going to implement them into my current lifestyle consistently and successfully.

This year, I decided to ditch resolutions altogether in exchange for specific, attainable goals, each with a timeline. And a checkbox. By the end of my planning, I realized that I didn’t need a list of New Year’s resolutions, I needed an entire two-page spread, complete with highlighting and color-coordinated headings, to think through and plan everything I hope to accomplish. 

Setting Specific, Attainable Goals

I’ll refrain from abbreviating them as SAGs. Anyway, specific, attainable goals are ones that have a definite time frame. In contrast to the traditionally broad generalizations we often call our resolutions, these should be narrow and leave very little room for interpretation.

I divided my goals into five distinct categories: academic, financial, health, family, and personal. Here are some examples of specific, attainable goals in each:

  • Academic: You’ve likely gained some insight about how your classes are working out during first semester. What needs to improve? Set a goal for each class if you’re so inclined.

                     EX: Practice Spanish vocabulary for 30 minutes each weekend; visit the Literacy Center for math help/review before each test.

  • Financial: If you’re a senior, scholarships, financial aid, and summer work can be important this year.

                     EX: Earn $5,000 in scholarships; submit all required financial aid documents by [date]; save X amount of money.

  • Health: No, “Exercise more” is not a goal. This could include a specific workout routine or a weekly goal.

                    EX: Go for a 30-minute run every Saturday morning; drink X amount of water each day.

  • Family: This really depends on your own family dynamic and what you may want to improve.

                    EX: Ask your sibling/parent about how their day at school/work went.

  • Personal: Again, this is completely up to you

                    EX: Practice playing the guitar for half an hour after school each day; read one book for fun each month.

 

Depending on how serious you are about these goals, you could go further and schedule specific dates onto a calendar. For example, dedicate half an hour or an hour each Saturday to searching for scholarships or a job you might be interested in, and put some time into submitting those applications. You can have as many or as few goals in each category as you see fit, but be careful about spreading yourself too thin. 

 

Keeping Up with Your Goals

Now that you’ve set your goals, how are you going to stay motivated and/or remember to keep them? One way to do this is to keep them in sight or even on you. This could be in the back of your planner or even in your phone.

Another way to stay on top of your goals is to keep yourself accountable. Tell your friends and family about your goals so they can encourage you to keep up with them, and remind you when you don’t.

Motivation is overrated. The goals you set should be improvements that you actually want to make, and if you make good (specific, attainable) goals, the prospect of completing them should be motivation enough. That said, don’t be too hard on yourself. The most important thing to remember is that it’s never too late to make a change and that it takes time to develop a habit. If your workout routine derails mid-February or you get into a rut of procrastination, don’t just throw in your towel and say ‘better luck next year.’ Pick up right where you left off. Reminding yourself of why you made the resolution in the first place can help you to regain the original motivation you had.

Remember: just because it’s mid-January doesn’t mean it’s too late to set some goals for the year. Good luck this year!