Gold numbers 2023 on shimmery gold glitter with shimmery blue background

How to Set Better New Year's Resolutions You Can Commit To

Hoping to start better habits in the new year? Some may think resolutions are overrated, but with the right mindset, you can really commit to them.

New year, new me. The phrase may sound cliché, and it is, but there’s a reason people try to reinvent themselves and grow better every year. Now, for most people, this motivation burns out in a couple weeks, even a couple days. While New Year’s resolutions are surrounded with jokes of failure and some backlash, they can be vital in starting the new year off right, both in and out of school.

People often use the new year as a way to mend mistakes of the previous year, be it bad grades, unhealthy habits, or just their general outlook on life. They're excited to be better in all aspects of life and create a sense of positivity to eliminate stress from procrastination or dissatisfaction. It kick-starts a—hopefully—more productive year. But the question is: How can you get the most from your resolutions?

Be specific with your goals

First of all, it’s important to be specific. General statements like “do better in school” or “lose weight” have no benefits, because you can get an A on one quiz and have met your goal or spend your year raising your expectations so high that you can’t reach them. Instead, add numbers or outlines. Instead of just doing well in school, try to get three A’s every semester. Having a more defined goal makes it much easier to keep going because you know what you want in the end.

Set benchmarks for yourself

Another bit of advice is to break up your goals into smaller checkpoints, because you’re more likely to lose sight of a single goal that spans a year than a lot of simpler, more immediate goals. Instead of deciding to cook more in the new year, try to cook eight meals in January, 10 meals in February, and so on. It pushes you in a bigger way, because most people lose sight of their resolutions when they’re so out of reach. With a more immediate deadline, they become more important and easier to obtain.

Related: 9 Great Tips for Students to Have a Successful New Year

Write everything down

The next tip is to write everything down. What are your overall goals? How are you going to spread them out throughout the year so you stick to them? How do you think you'll feel once you’ve reached a benchmark? Then track how you do feel when you reach it. Keeping track of these things works as a way to keep you in check because you have a physical reference for when you’re feeling unmotivated or lazy. Nothing is more motivating than seeing a physical manifestation of your progress.

Cut yourself some slack

Don’t give up if you miss a day or goal. It’s okay to fall off the wagon—you can always get back on. It’s important to shake off small mistakes and rearrange your goals if needed. If you don’t, all the hard work you put in before that will have been for nothing and can create a poor attitude in the future. Basically, just cut yourself some slack when it feels like pressuring yourself to keep to your goals is proving counterproductive. 

Related: 10 Attainable New Year’s Goals for College Students

Take this new year to recognize how you can improve your life in any way. We went through a lot in the first couple years after the onset of COVID-19, and it's been harder than ever to get back in the swing of self-motivation and growth. Work on your struggles until you feel happier and more at ease, because that’s what matters most.

It's not just time for New Year's goals—it's also time for spring semester goals! Start planning with our blog It's Time to Tackle Your New Semester Goals.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

goals New Year new year's resolutions resolutions setting goals student life

About Zia Sampson

Zia Sampson

I am currently a first-year student at Loyola University New Orleans, where I'm majoring in Mass Communications, both Strategic Communications and Journalism, and minoring in Sociology. I'm in the University Honors Program and the Social Justice Scholars Program. In my free time, I like to watch Netflix, sleep, and read. I am a big animal lover, with four cats and two dogs, and I have two older brothers and a twin sister. You can follow me on Twitter @ZiaSampson.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Sarah Armstrong

Sarah Armstrong

High School Class of 2022

I am a deaf student, and I had always dreamed of going to Gallaudet University. CollegeXpress helped me search though other qualified universities. They helped me know for sure that Gallaudet University was the right choice for me!



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me find the school I am currently attending by consistently sending me emails of other schools. This allowed me to do research on other schools as well as the one I am in now!



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me find Allegheny College with the super-user-friendly search tool for both schools and scholarships. Using CollegeXpress, I was able to search for programs I was interested in studying and find colleges that offered those programs. Also, once you search for the college, CollegeXpress can get you connected!

Anthony Vidal

Anthony Vidal

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress has helped me in a series of different ways when it comes to finding scholarships and learning information about different universities. I actually found my dream university through CollegeXpress and am working on getting there.

Jada Bohanon

Jada Bohanon

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me find scholarships for the colleges I applied to. It was very hard for me to find scholarships in the beginning that I was qualified for. My teachers recommended this website to find some, and not only did I find some scholarships but I also got to look into some schools I hadn’t heard of before. I was very happy to have discovered this website, especially with the coronavirus spreading all over as I can’t really go visit many colleges.

College Matches