Goodbye 2020 and hello to 2021! 2020 has officially come to a close; a year that was marked with unusual adjustments, uncertainty and heartbreaking tragedies. While we recently experienced a year that will forever grace history books, many people are still hopeful for what 2021 will bring. No, unfortunately, the massive issues that the Covid-19 pandemic birthed almost a year ago did not disappear when the clock struck twelve on January 1, 2021. In fact, these burgeoning issues are still ongoing. However, while health care professionals and government officials work to find an end to the Pandemic, many have decided to use the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions as a stepping stone for creating a positive and productive 2021. Yes, many individuals are getting their notepads and listing ways in which they want to better themselves, change habits, set attainable goals and successfully conquer the new year. Nevertheless, while the dawning of 2021 has brought another January or “new beginning,” many have decided that their desire to grow and have a prosperous year shouldn’t simply be a resolution that barely surpasses the first week of February. Instead, they are attempting to locate a proper beacon for the new year that will provide a bright light in a mostly dim world. Profoundly, they have decided to enter the new year with goals; goals that are attainable and will be fulfilled in the coming months. Honestly, you may be asking yourself “what goals can I, as a busy college student, begin to work toward in this new year?” Here are eight goals that are perfect for the busy college student.
- To Eat Healthier
Cheeseburgers, french fries and cookies…oh my! Between completing coursework, an internship and working a job, you might feel as if you don’t have enough time to eat healthy meals. Sure, a quick run to a tempting fast food restaurant might be easier than making a healthy meal three times a day. However, meal prepping is an extremely effective way to easily incorporate healthy meals into your busy schedule. Meal prepping is the process of allotting time weekly to prepare meals in advance. For example, with meal prepping, you can cook multiple portions of your favorite beans, vegetables and proteins on Saturday morning, prepare meals and safely store them in a refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to eat. Apps such as Mealime and Yummly are wonderful aids in the meal prepping process. They both suggest recipes based on the ingredients you already have in your refrigerator and are inclusive to all dietary restrictions. Yes, this new year’s resolution just got a lot easier!
- To Get More Sleep
While you might think that your productivity train needs to roll well past 12:00 a.m., that is most definitely not the case. In fact, not getting an adequate amount of sleep every night is one of the most counterproductive things you can do. According to the Amen Clinics, sleep is a necessary component in promoting positive brain health. “Sleep rejuvenates all the cells in your body, gives brain cells a chance to repair themselves, helps wash away toxins that build up during the day, and activates neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate due to inactivity.” Yes, similar to when an iPhone updates, your brain gets rid of “bugs” while you are sleeping. While it may seem like a complex process, it truly is a necessity that should be abided by. World renowned Brain Health Specialist, Dr. Daniel Amen, also noted that lack of sleep decreases the amount of blood flow to the brain, increases chances of developing a chronic disease, causes weight gain and alters your brain’s ability to memorize, comprehend and focus. Clearly, sleep powerfully prepares your brain for yet another day of productivity and acts as an agent of change for overall health. Therefore, if you’re 18-25 years old, you should strive to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Looks like you and your pillow need to spend a lot more time together!
- To Schedule Time for Exercise
It is safe to say that not many college students have time to exercise. With the task of completing required readings, multiple research papers and quizzes oftentimes weekly, the idea of finding time to exercise might seem almost impossible. Yet, exercise is also an essential component to success in college life. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic have confirmed that regular exercise can increase energy levels and provide a stable foundation for one’s busy schedule. Clearly, exercise is the aid that serves as the glue for a busy college student. In fact, it has been proven that just thirty minutes of exercise a day is beneficial. You can easily include exercise in your schedule by doing virtual dance classes, quick workouts that can be found on YouTube, yoga, or registering for a “Workout To Go” on the KSU Sports and Recreation Website.
- To Develop Better Study Habits
Does it always seem like you are cramming for tests and quizzes? Maybe it is time to start the new year with better study habits. Instead of waiting to only study for a test or quiz the night before it is to be taken, study over the course of multiple days. In fact, The Princeton Review notes that studying at least a week in advance will provide you the opportunity to recognize the areas in which you need to study more or require additional help. Also, studying multiple times a week allows the study materials to become apart of your acquired knowledge. Oftentimes, cramming only commits information to your short-term memory which doesn’t last very long. Another way to improve your study habits is to unplug while you study. How can you ever truly study when your Instagram feed keeps tempting you so well? To keep your temptations at bay, shut your devices down or put them in another place while you study.
- To Be More Organized
“There were papers everywhere and I couldn’t find my science book!” One New Year’s Resolution that should forever grace the busy college student’s list is to be organized. Sure, it is so much easier to simply leave your books everywhere when you are done with them. Yet, this only increases your chances of being flustered when you can’t find your required text twenty minutes before your class. Remember that organization is the best friend that will always bring peace to your life. You can always stay organized by packing your backpack and planning your outfit the night before a class. Also, you can stay organized with the many deadlines and assignments you may have by printing a hand copy of syllabi, using a planner and leaving written sticky notes on the refrigerator as reminders. Lose your student i.d. or keys often? Apply a Command hook near the door to hold your keys and student i.d. lanyard. Now that you have your keys and science book, it looks like you are ready to face your busy day!
- To Develop and Stick to a Cleaning Schedule
Maybe cleaning your dorm room or apartment is the last thing on your mind after a long day. Surely, you can’t be ludicrous for being tired. Nevertheless, you can’t keep denying that pile of laundry that continues to grow daily. Develop a cleaning schedule that best works for you. Many cleaning schedules consist of weekly, monthly and yearly time allotments of thirty minutes or less. In these time allotments, tasks such as washing laundry, cleaning a kitchen and tidying a bedroom can be done. Search on websites like Pinterest for cute pre-designed templates of cleaning schedules.
- To De-stress
From arriving at an 8:00 a.m. course to clocking out at an on-campus job, being a busy college student can oftentimes be stressful. However, stress is not a friend to anyone. Research shows that stress negatively affects multiple areas of the body. Unfortunately, stress can cause chronic issues like Asthma and Hypertension, increase levels of anxiety and provide a gateway for insomnia. Since stress is the root of many issues that would make your college career even more challenging, it is very important to find time to de-stress. At least twice a week, make sure to engage in activities that will provide you with a sense of calm. Try meditation, prayer, listening to music, breathing exercises, painting your nails, journaling, chatting with friends or crafting.
- To Self-Love
As the world shifts between presenting us with both delightful and daunting days, the best environment you can provide yourself with is one that is riddled with self-love. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, your hard drive and work ethic has not wavered despite the many challenges that have occurred. You can proudly state that with strong dedication you have discovered the power of abilities in the middle of an increasingly challenging time. While you set goals for the new year, please remember that the best goal is being proud of yourself and all that you accomplish.
Now that you know just some of the goals that you, as a busy college student, should set, you are already on the way to having a productive 2021! As we continue to say “hello” to 2021, I welcome you to the opportunity to curate a productive year. I welcome you to a year where you utilize positive goals as beacons; the proper beacons that will provide a bright light in a mostly dim world. I welcome you to an opportunity to better yourself. Yes, I welcome you to your “new beginning.”