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Writing this article is somewhat like writing to myself as a way to hold myself accountable for doing these. I have to admit I haven't always followed these; however, these are my goals from now on. Recently, I had my physical checkup done and it made me realize there were multiple things I needed to change. This is perfect timing because a new year is approaching us. I know we all make new year's resolutions — half of which we never end up doing — but here are some practical and realistic things you should do along with me to make 2021 the best it can be! 

Change Your Sleep Schedule

I know you've heard this multiple times and it’s been in our new year's resolutions for ages, but we never actually do it. I always use the excuse of being a night owl to justify my horrible sleep schedule. A mistake I’ve made this year is ruining my natural sleep cycle. I’m constantly sleepy throughout the day and felt like I did now have to do things I would usually do even when I’ve had a good number of hours for sleep. This was because although I was getting the correct number of hours of sleep, they were never at the right natural times or were usually broken throughout the day. From experience, just changing this itself you will see a huge change in your mood and activeness. I know it's easier said than done, but challenge yourself. Start off by using the Health App on your phone (or any sleep tracking app) to set a sleep schedule. With this, you can not only track your sleep, but your phone will automatically go to “do not disturb” mode during that time frame and will send you a reminder when it is your scheduled time to sleep. Next, dim your lights or cover them with a t-shirt to minimize the light exposure. If you’re sensitive to light try a sleep mask. Additionally, I highly recommend taking a warm shower at night to help you sleep better. Try to drink something warm such as tea before bed. If possible, get into bed a few minutes before your planned time as it takes some time to fall asleep. Put your phone on silent, set an alarm, and leave it more than arm's length away so you are not tempted and have to get out of bed to turn the alarm off.

Hold Yourself Accountable 

This can be interpreted in many ways and is more or less vague. This new year, find ways to hold yourself accountable for completing tasks. Think about what forces or motivates you to get work done. For me, having a planner where I write down all deadlines and tasks for each day helps. I highlight out every task I’ve completed and it's satisfying to see all tasks highlighted and completed. Another way is to vlog yourself. I actually saw my friends doing this and it's a great way to hold yourself accountable. Use your Snapchat story (a private story can even be used), TikTok, Instagram, or any platform to vlog your day and walk through tasks with you. This not only gives you something fun to do and share but also gives you a reason to want to complete your tasks and be active throughout your day.

Have A Disciplined Eating Schedule

This is something I always struggle to do. I usually just eat when I’m hungry and this is at very random times. It is so important to eat in properly spaced intervals to ensure your body is fully nourished and active. I always have a tendency of skipping breakfast; this could be the very reason why I’m always tired throughout the day. Breakfast is, therefore, vital in being active throughout the day. I highly recommend trying to wake up early (before/at 10am) so you don't have to skip meals. Have breakfast within one hour of waking up and stay away from unhealthy snacks or foods. Opt for something from all five food groups. Your next meal, lunch, should be four-five hours after the time you had breakfast. Lastly, dinner should also be in the four-five hour range from lunch. Light snacking is definitely okay between these meals. Try to not have something too heavy that will stir you away from these recommended meal times. Here is a study by Northwestern Medicine to read more.

Visualize and Write

There’s just something about writing down and visualizing your goals that makes you feel more motivated and organized. Writing down basic flexible goals or achievements for each month and year helps you follow some sort of guide and path to follow. Write down monthly goals in your planner or on sticky notes. This will give a rough schedule to work towards. Visualizing yourself achieving these and planning encourages you to stay motivated and keep going. This also helps in visualizing what your final destination will be and it will keep you going in your darkest times. Be your own motivation and don’t be fully dependent on someone else to keep you going, but also seek inspiration from people and things that inspire you and keep you going.

Try Something New

As 2021 approaches I want all of us to challenge ourselves to at least try one or more new things or do something differently. This should be something you never usually do or something that you’ve always been afraid to do. Every year should be a time of growth and learning and as young adults, it is important to try things and learn things about ourselves. This could be anything from trying new food, visiting a type of place, doing an activity never done before, changing a current practice, or broadening your perspective and learning about something new. Make this a yearly goal that you want to achieve before the end of the year. Who knows? You could find something totally unexpected about yourself.

Take these how you want. Remember you don’t have to follow these exactly how they are presented. Tailor them to your lifestyle and apply what seems best for you and always allow for flexibility. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Rather, find new ways and new things you want to improve about yourself as this new year approaches. Happy Holidays and New Year! I hope 2021 is prosperous and filled with success for all of us! You got this.

Bhavya is the head of social media and is an assistant editor for MSU's chapter of Her Campus. She is a sophomore majoring Genomics and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Environment and Health. Her writing interests include: lifestyle, beauty, health, and wellness.
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