This Year, Put Yourself First

We’ve all heard it before. Whether it’s “I’m going to start working out more and eating healthy,” or “I’m planning to study more and procrastinate less,” at the start of every new year, many people feel ready for a fresh start and accordingly, set new year’s resolutions for themselves. These goals, whether academic, professional, or physical, are almost always created with the ultimate intent of self-improvement. And focusing on self-improvement, though essential to reaching our full potential, also forces us to focus on the negatives, or the things that we need to fix in our lives. So this year, rather than resolving to fix myself, I’ve resolved to prioritize myself. I believe that putting my needs first will make me more productive and therefore prepared to work on the things that need improving. Here are some reasons why I believe that all new year’s resolutions should ultimately be about self-care in some way:

 

  1. Putting yourself first can be motivating: Many of us have, at some point, felt stuck doing something that we don’t like or aren’t good at. For example, maybe you’ve been taking a bunch of classes that you don’t find interesting. Rather than forcing yourself to continue on a path that doesn’t excite you, if you resolve to put your interests first, either by having a conversation with your family about how you’re having doubts about your future plans, or by signing up for classes in subjects you’d like to explore, you’re allowing yourself to find the things that you really love and want to pursue. And in doing so, you’ll feel more motivated to study. 
  2. Self-care is essential for your mental health: If your resolutions only consist of “action items” that will get you that coveted internship or a spot in the honor society, you might be setting yourself up for exhaustion and eventual burnout. Instead, if you resolve to incorporate more study breaks into your routine, or to set aside some time every night to relax before bed, you’ll feel more refreshed and ready to tackle your goals. Taking some time to recharge helps to fight off the stress that usually causes us to feel burned out and makes us abandon our goals. 
  3. Taking some time for yourself allows you to learn more about who you are: Spending the time to do the things that you enjoy, like taking up that dance class, or writing in your journal, will give you the opportunity to get in touch with yourself and determine the things that really matter to you. And college presents the perfect opportunity to do so. When you’re in high school, your values and dreams for your future can easily get influenced by the family and friends around you. In college, you should take the time to think about what’s truly important to you. And who knows? You might discover a new hobby, or a hidden talent while you’re at it. 
  4. The way you talk about yourself determines your quality of life: It’s common knowledge that negative self-talkcan literally ruin your life. If your new year’s resolutions focus on all of your perceived shortcomings, your self-esteem will likely drop. You’ll start to believe that you truly are insufficient, because there are so many things that you need to improve. So instead of saying that you’re going to work out because you’re so out of shape, say that you plan to exercise because you deserve to take the time to look after your health. If you treat yourself like you’re worth it, you’ll start to believe it.
  5. Ultimately, it’s your life: It’s your responsibility to look after yourself. And to be your best self, you need to prioritize your needs. So this year, be sure to put yourself first.