Here are some tips on how to make resolutions you can keep and 10 suggested resolutions for online students.

Happy New Year!

Don't you just love the launch of a new year? It's a fresh start. The gift of a new beginning. The opportunity to commit to changes that can make our lives and the lives of others better.

Which begs the question, have you made any New Year's resolutions?

Statistics show that 45 percent of Americans usually make resolutions, and those resolutions focus on four things: self-improvement and education, weight, money, and relationships.

According to Saint Leo University Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Tammy Zacchilli, people like to make resolutions because, when we look back on the previous year's accomplishments, we see things we would have liked to have done but didn't.

"By making New Year's resolutions, we can develop a plan to reach those goals in the new year. It gives us something to work toward," says Dr. Zacchilli.

Good news and not-so-good news about resolutions

Research shows that the good news about News Year's resolutions is that if you make a resolution, then you're 10 times more likely to change your behavior than if you didn't make the resolution.

The disappointing news is that only 8 percent of people actually achieve their New Year's goals. Twenty-five percent never make it past the first week.

How to achieve your goals

"It's often challenging to keep resolutions because they are often unrealistic," says Dr. Zacchilli. "We set very large goals and become discouraged when we give up after a short period of time."

Instead of making huge, over-whelming resolutions, break your resolutions into smaller, more manageable goals. Focus on creating a few, simple habits that are easier to integrate into your life.

"We want to lose 50 pounds or give up caffeine completely, but we need to ease into these new behaviors rather than trying to give them up all at once."

Here are some tips for success from Dr. Zacchilli.

  • Be specific. "Getting healthy" or "dieting" is vague. Make the goal concrete. For example, opt for eating less junk food or walking four times a week.
  • Keep goals realistic.  Don't overestimate your ability. You're just setting yourself up for failure.
  • Measure your progress: How are you going to know you're being successful if you don't have some way to track your success?
  • Share your goals: Letting your family and friends know what your goals are builds in accountability. It also gives you support and encouragement along the way.

10 resolutions for online students

In case you haven't made any resolutions yet, here are some ideas for online students that can help you achieve success in your studies.

1.  Get better sleep: Adults need 7-8 hours. Experts suggest going to bed 15 minutes earlier every night for a week; then 30 minutes earlier the next week, and so on, until it becomes a habit to go to bed at a time that allows you the sleep you need.


2.  Eat a healthy breakfast every morning: Eat within an hour after you get up, even something as simple as yogurt or oatmeal with a few berries.


3.  Create a study space: Having a designated desk or table in a quiet spot where you can keep your computer, books and supplies can help you stay organized.

4.  Get to know your professors: At some point, you may need a letter of recommendation for graduate school or a job, so it is helpful that you communicate regularly with faculty.

5.  Get involved: Join an online club or association. Saint Leo, for example, offers a variety of organizations for online students including Psychology Club, Business Club, Criminal Justice Club, Peer Mentoring, and more.

6.  Strengthen your academic skills: Sign up for an e-Coach webinar on APA writing format; take advantage of writing and research assistance offered through the Cannon Memorial Library, or tap into some tutoring through the Learning Resource Center.

7.  Grow your vocabulary: Write down (or note on your smartphone) when you read or hear a word you don't know and then look it up. Keep a list. Expanding your vocabulary will help you better understand what you read and improve your writing.

8.  Find a mentor: Seek out a faculty member for advice on a regular basis. Or find someone at work who is where you want to be with whom you can discuss career options and decisions.

9.  Finish assignments a day in advance: Making it a habit to complete papers early forces you to organize your time and break large projects down into manageable tasks.

10.  Make time for yourself: School, work, and family keep all of us busy. Try to ensure some balance in your life by taking time each week to relax and do something you enjoy.

Have you made any resolutions for the New Year?


Image Credit: Pixabay

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Choosing An Online Degree Program: 9 Do's And Don'ts

How To Be Successful In Your Online Class

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