It is traditional to create a list of “New Year’s Resolutions,” but we all forget about them three weeks into the year. So what is an effective way to make yourself a better you? Every January, about one in three Americans resolve to better themselves through a goal. According to health.com, “While about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months later.” Transitions can be hard, but hopefully after reading this article, you will be motivated for making next year a turning point in whatever goal you are facing.
Improving your study habits is one area for resolutions. Teachers and parents constantly say that students just need to “get into the swing of things” and then work will become easier, but let’s face it — school is challenging all year ‘round. So, perhaps a better resolution would be to find ways to reduce stress. A 2008 study revealed that 80% of students say they frequently face stress on a daily basis. According to Dr Lee at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, “Stress is an inevitable part of life.” Yet, he recommends stress-reducing strategies such as “relaxation, sleep, socializing, and taking vacations.”
Improving your sleep is a related area for resolutions, one that will help reduce stress and improve school performance and general well-being. It sounds simple, but believe it or not the average high school student gets 6.3 hours of sleep per night. Sleep is crucial for strengthening memories, which is a process called consolidation. Going to bed early can really affect all that you do and all you can learn during the next day. Adolescents need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function well. A set time for bed can really increase the body’s sleep pattern and performance. According to a study by the Sleep Foundation, students “tend to have irregular sleep patterns across the week — they typically stay up late and sleep in late on the weekends,which can affect their biological clocks and hurt the quality of their sleep.” Another way to increase rest is to take power-naps. Power-naps don’t require much time at all; if you have 15 or 20 minutes, falling asleep will give your brain a time to breathe.
Getting more organized is another area for resolutions that will help you improve in school and feel more in-control and less stressed out about school Using the planner that was handed out at the beginning of the year or purchasing your own can help students watch their time management. It’s important to plan your study time as well as list your tasks. Organization can prevent one of the most dangerous sinkholes in school life: procrastination. If you are organized with your work and structure your study time to help you get to bed at a set time, you will wake up with a brain and body ready for a full day. If you don’t have homework finished by your bed time, think about getting up a little early and use your study hall times effectively. Also, dock your phone downstairs and close tabs on your computer to avoid distracting notifications.
A new year offers a chance to end the semester well and start the second semester as a new you — one more rested, more focused during the day, more organized during homework time, less stressed and more in control of leading a balanced life.