Ahhh… it’s that time of year again – the time you break out a pen and paper for the first time since mid-December, and make a list of all the ways you are going to improve yourself. Resolution time. But let’s be honest, 90% of those resolutions are the same as last year, which are the same as the year before, and so on… We all have good intentions, but as a student, sticking to your guns is seemingly impossible when you feel like you’re being buried alive with deadlines, expectations, papers, and exams. As the semester progresses, goals you were once so gung-ho about suddenly become “that’s good enough”… sound familiar?
Don’t sweat it, this semester RCKTSHP has your back. We’ve gathered a few common resolutions on improving student life, and put together our advice on how to actually stick to them!
1. Improve Grades
It’s easy to feel good about a semester when you sit down at your desk on the first day with visions of success, A+’s, and sugar plums dancing in your head. Nevertheless, as classes pick up, these visions become clouded with the darkness of your course load. Fight the darkness by maintaining your perspective, staying organized, remaining committed.
Maintaining your perspective is easily one of the most difficult stages to improving your grades. Your friends are all going out, and you have to be the lame one that ditches your friends for a cozy night at home with el textbook. To get yourself through these nights, try to keep in mind why you’re here in the first place, and it’s not to pass the biology exam tomorrow. It’s a dream university, a foot-in-the-door at a coveted organization, or an opening door to your future. Once you remind yourself of that big picture, those nights won’t be quite as lonely.
Get organized. We can not stress this enough. Buy an agenda you love, use Google Calendars religiously, or download an app, such as Fantastical, that helps you get organized. Stop missing paper deadlines, coffee dates, and Grandma’s birthday – it will greatly reduce your stress levels and leave you feeling better prepared.
Once you’ve nailed down why you’re improving your grades, and organized yourself to do it, remaining committed comes easily. You can’t, with a good conscience, avoid the quiet ding of a calendar reminder telling you to pick up your statistics textbook for a couple hours, and you know doing it will land you where you want to be.
2. Spend Less
This one is a toughy – especially as a student, when either a Tim Hortons or Starbucks is always within 500 metres from your location. Education is expensive, and most students are working part-time jobs to keep themselves afloat; but there are a couple ways to stretch those hard earned dollars a little bit further.
Firstly, rather than just stretching your dollars further, add to it through scholarships. There are literally hundreds of websites that help students find scholarships – including RCKTSHP! Check out our scholarship page bursting with grants, scholarships and bursaries for students. And our advice? Apply to everything. Often, companies will give a scholarship out to the only applicant, even if that applicant did not meet the required qualifications. Not a bad return on investment for an essay that only took you an hour or so to write -amiright?
Secondly, make a budget. Budgeting is the sure fire way to save money in 2015, but it takes time. Sit down and draw out a monthly budget for yourself each month, and adjust accordingly from previous months. Be realistic. If you know you can’t stop buying coffee at school everyday, account for that in your budget. More coffee = less shoes that month – think about it as a balancing act. There are a lot of apps out now-a-days that help as well, if you’re more of a digital person. We like Mint – it connects directly to your bank account and keeps track of everything you spend money on, it even reminds you when your phone bill is due!
3. Get Healthy
Last semester’s cloud of darkness led you to eat your feelings, and now everything fits just a little bit snugger. Or maybe you’ve heard about all the stress benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and you’re ready to push it, push it, to the limit (insert appropriate Disney soundtrack). Regardless, it’s not easy to keep up the enthusiasm after January 2nd, when the couch and left over Christmas baking is so seductive.
Firstly, as if S.M.A.R.T goals have not been drilled into us enough, why not take this theory to the real world? Write down your health goals in terms that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Secondly, find a buddy that you’re accountable to. The power of our friend’s judgement is potent. We’re kidding of course, but only a little. Having someone you are accountable to provides us with the support we need to persevere, and inspires us to keep on trucking.
The final tip, that is little known, but most effective, is rooted in psychology – and it is this: limit sharing your resolutions with too many people. Seems a little counterintuitive doesn’t it? Well Derek Sivers explains otherwise in this Ted Talk. Here’s the CliffNotes version: by sharing your goals with too many people, you can activate the pleasure centres in your brain, which can lead you to feel as if you’ve already achieved your resolutions. So, in 2015, find the Robin to your Batman, and hold your resolutions as secret as your identities
Do your resolutions this year echo the ones above? We’d love to hear your formulas to successful resolutions in 2015!