Have You Already Broken Your New Year's Resolutions?

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The start of the year is a fresh start in the gradebook. If the first semester grades were a little less than impressive, there are a few different ways to create goals that are measurable and achievable. Here are some Dos and Don'ts for your academic New Year's resolution list:

Don't start your year with, "I am going to study 3 hours a day, and go to the gym, and start goat yoga." If you have poor study habits now, have never have seen a treadmill, and have no idea what goat yoga is, then a list like that is more than likely going to paralyze you into complacency, when what you really want is change!
Do make small, attainable goals. If it's less daunting, you can separate out your year into sections, so you can focus on different habits that you'll introduce month by month. Start off the year with some specific, attainable academic goals. Once one has been achieved, then introduce something that is more challenging goals as the previous goals become habits.

Don't say, "I want straight A's this semester." It is too general, and wanting it alone will not magically change the gradebook. How will you suddenly get A's?
Do make a specific, measurable, academic goal that you can start immediately, like implementing daily study time. For example: "I will set aside 15 extra minutes of study time each day to review materials and study for upcoming assignments." By giving small, achievable steps to reach the overall goal, it makes the A seem like a real possibility.

Don't say, "I am not going to lose as many assignments." Again, you need to be more specific. If you don't know how you'll change, it likely won't be helpful to simply set the goal.
Do take the time to plan out how you will organize your materials so that things are accessible and easy to put away. Once your plan is set, get dividers, a planner, and the resources necessary to be successful! If you have a dedicated space for your school work, then you're far more likely to file it nicely away (and be able to find it later!)

Don't get discouraged when you find yourself slipping back into old habits! They took a long time to form, so you won't be able to naturally kick them without some effort.
Do give yourself a break. It's very difficult to make lasting change, but it is absolutely possible! Just keep working at your goals, and you will have your grades, fitness, or goat yoga goals realized before you know it!

Sources: American Psychological Association

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