In a very reliable survey (of roughly five housemates, two overheard conversations and a five-minute Skype chat with granny about “Perfect” Cousin Sophie), as many as ten different New Year’s resolutions were vowed upon with great sincerity and a painful repetition of “…and I’m NOT going to give up this time…”
Without needing any professional training in telepathy, it is clear to us all that by the dull days of mid-February, all resolutions will have been deserted (apart from those of Perfect Cousin Sophie who will continue juicing spinach and kale until at least Easter).
C’mon, people! We need to be realistic with our plans.
Dieting: After the gluttony of Christmas, it is nearly impossible to go completely cold turkey (pun absolutely intended) on all of the rubbish you have been eating. To switch from four meals and 27 snacks per day for a month (“because it’s Christmas”) to half an apple and a shot of kiwi pulp per day in January just isn’t realistic. In colder months, we need warm and filling food to stay and feel healthy—a more sustainable resolution might have been ‘only 2 squares of chocolate a day’ or ‘3 pieces of fruit for lunch’. At university, especially, we give up easily on expensive eating habits; so a dairy-free, fat-free, fun-free diet is simply not sustainable. Yes, continue making those smoothies with the Food Musher 2000 that you got for Christmas, but forcing it upon yourself at every meal is eventually going to have the opposite effect.
Exercising: Don’t be a New-Year Gym cliché. I beg of you, either pay-as-you-go for a few weeks or wait until you know your timetable and can work out the feasibility of going to the gym ‘every day at 6am after my morning marathon’. Exercise is great, but trying to force yourself into a strict regime by investing a harsh chunk of the student loan into memberships and gym kit galore is bound to tempt fate.
Productivity: “I’m going to go to all of my lectures this year AND do the compulsory reading”… this is all well and good, but just because you are in the lecture or you have opened the PDF, it isn’t automatically more worthwhile! Sitting in a lecture and boosting your Yakarma, or investing in seven shades of pink highlighter to skim read and mark a few words that take your fancy, is not what you had in mind. Motivate yourself—”a Haribo for every paragraph I read and take notes from,” “if I explain this lecture back to Course Buddy correctly I’ll go on a night out of my choice, if I get it wrong…”
The message here isn’t to abandon the pledging of New Year’s resolutions, but merely to keep them within reach and reason. Go outside at least once a day; cook a healthy, hearty dinner at least three times a week and invest some serious motivation into your work. Think properly about your plans before announcing them to everyone that will listen (or overhear), and don’t get too carried away in the falsely optimistic young days of January.
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