A Collegiette’s Guide to New Year’s Resolutions: New Year, New You!

New year, new me? We’ve all said it, but how many of us have actually done it? Here are some easy tips to help tackle those resolutions that seem to sit in the back of your closet all year picking up dust. 

The Diet: Possibly the most common new year’s resolution, dieting is a perennial favourite but continuously get pushed aside and kicked to the back of the proverbial closet, never to be talked about again… until next new year’s. The holiday season is a time of overindulgence and also the benchmark for the slow trudge back to summer weather. So what better time to start working on your 2016 bikini body? The hardest part of getting fit and losing weight is making exercise and healthy choices part of your routine schedule. One way to overcome this is by completing a 90-day challenge; having a schedule set out for you, with different options each day, can help overcome the lack of motivation to get to the gym, and if 90 days is too long, there are tons of 30-day challenges. Just get started. Once you do, you won’t look back! In addition to looking great and feeling great, exercise is a great therapy for stress relief during those busy exam periods, collegiates! 

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint: A green Christmas? If climate change wasn’t a topic a year ago, it certainly is now with this 20-degree weather during winter in Canada. The biggest struggle with giving back to our earth and taking ownership of personal contributions to climate change is knowing where to start. It is hard not to feel completely inadequate when you are just one individual in a sea of millions contributing, but taking responsibility for your ecological footprint is key to rectifying the damage we have caused on earth, and the more individuals who do so, the greater the ripple effect.

Offsetting your unavoidable carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions does not have to be a dreaded job. There are many easy, practical, simple, and immediate ways to take ownership of your personal contribution. 

Stop Procrastinating: Every year, people make their resolutions and promises, and every year they are broken. So here’s a list of those failed, neglected, inconspicuous, and unremembered resolutions that you have so easily left in the “back of your closet” all year:

1) Back Up Your Computer: Crashes happen, and unless you’re the next Steve Jobs, do you really have any idea what to do when it happens? It’s the keynote of the Apple technical support, “Have you backed up your files recently?” They aren’t saying this for fun, or because they like the way it sounds; it is the most critical thing you can do for a computer. Don’t lose all those priceless photos and memories, or hours and hours of work on a school project. Just take 20 minutes out of your day, buy an external hard-drive, and back up your files! It’s a chore that, once done, you will never regret.

2) Stop Eating Fast Food: This ties in with the diet and exercise that was previously talked about, but also deserves a section of its own. Fast food is quite literally the demise of our 21st century population. No matter what nutritionist, health economist, doctor, or any health professional for that matter that you ask, the answer will remain the same: fast food is bad for you. Nearly a third of Canadians under the age of 16 are considered obese, and these rates are directly related to the prevalence of fast food outlets in the area. Research has shown that cutting out just two cans of soda per day, without introducing exercise, will result in the loss of 20 pounds within the first six months – this is absolutely insane. You are what you eat may have more meaning to it than we give credit. Everything that you eat will become a part of not only your inner being, but the outer fabric of your body as well. This means healthier foods equal not only a higher functioning system, but healthier hair and skin as well.

3) Quit Smoking: To be honest, I can’t believe this still has to be a resolution in 2016. Smoking is bad for you, plain and simple. There’s no confusion surrounding it. Smoking puts you at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung disease, diabetes, pneumonia, blindness… the list could go on and on. And if that isn’t enough, smoking kills more people per year than any other drug, and outranks AIDS, fires, homicides, suicides, and car accidents in terms of lethality. If that still isn’t enough, smoking doesn’t just affect you; there’s second-hand smoke and third-hand smoke that continues to put people around you, who made the decision not to smoke, in harm’s way, exposing them to chemicals that are more toxic and dangerous than those inhaled directly from the cigarette. So to put this simply, STOP F***ING SMOKING!

Cut Your Stress: We all know as students that a meltdown here or there is just a part of the university experience. It is so easy to over-dramatize things when we are at an age in life when we are expected to make decisions about the rest of our life without having the resources to do so. A bad grade, a fight with a friend, a cold during exams, breaking up with your significant other, all of these things seem like the end of the world at the time, but truthfully they all have one thing in common: ultimately, they do not matter. In 20 years, no one is going to ask you if you passed introduction to psychology, or if you got an A vs. C in statistics, because like I said, it does not matter. Pamper yourself collegiates! You are in university, which means you are already on a positive life trajectory and you should take time to realize and value how much you have accomplished in your life so far. Spend time with your family and friends, go to a movie, go on a date, just do something to have fun, because life shouldn’t be all stress.

Whatever your new year’s resolution is, put some time into it. You will feel accomplished after completing a goal you set your mind to, and remember to have a little fun while you’re at it. Have a great 2016 collegiates! XO