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My (Realistic) New Year’s Resolutions

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

Every year on January 1, I have a bad habit of getting out of bed and thinking to myself, “This is it. This is the year I reinvent myself.” Well, maybe it’s a good habit, but only for people who don’t expect to have written a New York Times bestseller, mastered a new language or traveled to an extensive myriad of cool places in 365 days — especially if they’re in school full-time. True reinvention is rarely necessary, so here are 10 things I’m prioritizing this year to improve my life without completely revamping it or striving for goals that just aren’t feasible. 

Drinking water as soon as I get up 

Drinking water right when you wake up can increase energy levels, fight illnesses and fuel your brain, according to Care Health Insurance. In the past, I’ve been terrible at drinking enough water throughout the day, so getting a start on it right away will be helpful and manageable.

Calling a loved one or long-distance friend once a week

At the beginning of college, I was really good about calling my hometown best friend at least once a month, my grandma at least once every two weeks and my parents at least once a week. As things picked up and I started to get busy, I started to abandon this routine, so this year, I want to get back in touch with loved ones on a more regular basis. I feel much more connected to them when I can hear their voice on the line versus willing it to come through in a text. 

Journaling regularly (and healthily)

Another habit I’ve largely surrendered is journaling. I journaled every week during my sophomore year, but stopped reaching for my canvas-bound stack of bulleted pages once June rolled around and I fell out of a routine. I’m still navigating the fine line between writing to dwell on something versus writing to move past it, so I want to start following prompts instead of journaling with no structure. 

Refraining from counting down 

I’ve had the Countdown app installed on my phone since my freshman year of high school and I’ve used it regularly. Sometimes it’d be useful to help me keep track of how far away exciting events were, like concerts, holidays and birthdays, but in college I started to use it to count down to breaks and the days after big exams and, according to the app, I now have only 327 days left of being a student. I have a bad habit of always waiting for the next thing so that I can feel better, and it’s become a vicious cycle. 

Writing more cards and letters 

Making friends in my 20s means realizing I have no idea what a lot of their handwriting looks like. In elementary school, I could identify a peer based on their penmanship alone, but since I’ve graduated from such a close-knit, communal environment virtually independent from technology, that’s no longer the case. To preserve this, I have every card, note and letter I’ve received since 7th grade on a bulletin board above my desk. I assume that if the written word is so valuable to me, it must be to other people in my life, too. I want to write more birthday cards, congratulatory cards and “just because” cards this year. 

Cutting back on social media 

I’m a stereotypical Gen Z-er: Snapchat is my main mode of communication, I say, “Do you guys know that one TikTok audio?” regularly in conversation and it’s hard for me to get through a class without checking to see how many likes my recent Instagram post has so far received. Even so, rarely is going on social media a pleasant experience, so this year I’m aiming to use my phone primarily for texting, calling and photo-taking. I’ve found that setting the screen to grayscale is a great way to reduce the appeal of endless scrolling because my brain isn’t overstimulated by bright colors. 

Reading at least 10 non-academic books 

Nine-year-old me would be devastated if she knew I haven’t used a library card in ages and 13-year-old me would scream if she found out I haven’t read a dystopian trilogy since middle school. I’m starting by re-reading some novels I used to love, and then I’ll get a new library card and start pestering my friends who are avid readers for recommendations. 

Going on more hikes 

This might not be something I can comfortably start right away, given it was in the negatives earlier this month. As it gets warmer, I want to get outside more — I always find that hiking helps me calm down and clear my mind. I like going to Chautauqua to look down at campus. It reminds me that what feels big to me now will feel small later. 

Separating grades and self worth 

I spend much more time than I should over-preparing for exams, stressing out about assignments and rewriting workshop pieces until they’re as close to perfect as I can make them. Of the 27 classes I’ve taken thus far, I’ve only scored in the B range twice, and while I’m proud of myself, I wonder if all my hours spent at the library have been worth it. I still want to do my best in school, but not if that comes at the expense of my wellbeing. 

Spending more time with family 

My siblings are starting college this fall and I have no idea where I’ll be in a year from now, so I want to cherish time with family this year as much as I can. I’ve already accepted a summer internship close to home so I can do just that. I’m looking forward to going for walks with my mom, having movie nights with my dad, going on Dairy Queen runs with my brother and baking with my sister. 

January is the perfect time for new goals and commitment to improvement, but it’s not a time for newfound perfection. Start small this winter; it’s a year, not a lifetime.

Sydney is a contributing writer and Editor in Chief for Her Campus (CU Boulder). She joined Her Campus during her first semester of freshman year, and her favorite things to write are concert/album reviews, reflective essays and pieces about local events or organizations. She loves getting to empower women to explore their voices and contribute their insights. When she's not writing or studying, you can find her taking photos, hiking or trying her hand at barre chords on guitar. Sydney is currently a junior majoring in strategic communication and pursuing minors in journalism and creative writing. She is a Norlin Scholar, an active member of PRSSA and interned with Renewable Energy Systems' marketing department over the summer. Following undergrad, she hopes to combine her passions for creative writing, public relations strategy and clean energy to ensure a brighter future for upcoming generations. While she's not writing or studying, you can find her playing music, attending concerts around Denver, shooting senior portraits, hiking at Chautauqua or spending time with her family. She hopes to publish a novel someday.