New Year’s Day has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to set some reasonable goals for this semester. In the hustle and bustle of winter break, it’s likely that you’ve fallen away from some of your biggest goals for yourself this academic year. I know I’m guilty of it. However, with the recharging time of a nice holiday break and the beginning of a new calendar year, you can start all over and make this semester the best yet! Here are some easy-to-implement game changers for the upcoming semester.
Limit your social media use
We’ve definitely all heard this one before, but this time there’s a twist. Instead of going on a 30-day detox, which is unrealistic at best, or obsessively tracking your precious minutes spent on Instagram, restrict yourself to using social media just once a day. This saves you time from the mindless scrolling throughout your day while still keeping you connected with the rest of the world. The bonus? You’re more than likely to find that checking social media apps once a day is more than enough, and with this newfound time, you’ll be more productive and have more time for the things you truly want to (and should) be doing.
Fun fact: Most multitasking we do is not actually multitasking. In the world of research, they call it task-switching because we aren’t meant to be capable of doing multiple things at once; we just learn to switch between jobs rapidly. Trying to watch a show while reading and taking notes on a textbook and carrying on a detailed conversation with your dad is a recipe for disaster. Not only are you more likely to make a mistake, you’re also more likely to feel harried and flustered when you don’t have to. It may seem like there’s no other way to accomplish everything on your plate right now, but giving 100% of your attention to a single task at hand is way more efficient and effective than trying to do four things simultaneously.
Get more sleep
Finally, a semester goal to really get behind! The benefits of sleep stretch to all different aspects of life¾from improved concentration and focus to a better mood and a stronger immune system¾yet on average, American teenagers are only getting about seven hours and 15 minutes of sleep a night, according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. While it may seem impossible to add time to your beauty rest during the week, this should be a priority due to its vast benefits to your life. Consider setting yourself a cutoff time when you’ll stop doing homework, or anything else you may be doing, and focus on your bedtime routine. If you’re a night owl, another strategy is to streamline your morning routine in order to wake up a few minutes later.
Read for fun
Perhaps you’re reading more than ever before with assignments for various classes, but when was the last time you read a book for pleasure? Reading is a productive yet enjoyable habit that can develop into a lifelong hobby and passion. Make a point to stop at your local library to check out some books to read for fun. From there, carve out even just a few minutes each week to sit down and get lost in your book. You’ll be amazed at the relaxation and mental recharging it brings.
Seeing the glass as half full can work wonders in many areas of life. Not only does it improve your mood and outlook on given circumstances, but it’s also connected to a healthier immune system and longer life span. Remember, the only person you can truly control in this world is yourself, and you can decide to use that control to develop an attitude of optimism. Optimism doesn’t mean you have to pretend you’re unaware of the negative elements in your life; it means focusing your attention on the good elements and striving to maintain a positive outlook. Keeping a gratitude journal where you can write down three to five things that went well during your day can be a great first step. Eventually, it’ll become a habit to seek out your wins and put your losses behind you.
Hopefully you’ve decided to implement at least one of these goals yourself going forward. If you did, take the next step and write it down! It’ll make your goal seem more permanent and not just like a fleeting thought. Be sure to brainstorm a few specific ways in which you’ll follow your goal, and also some ways to check your progress along the way. Best wishes for a great first semester of 2020!
For even more ways to set goals for the school year, check out this video from one of our student vloggers.