As we approach the new year, many of us will pause and reflect on the previous year — not only on what we accomplished but also (and more often) on what we didn’t. We will blame ourselves for failing, when, in reality, our goals were unrealistic and our expectations were impossibly high.
This year, instead of asking, “Where did I go wrong in 2016?” focus on what would make you happier and more fulfilled in 2017. Achievable New Year’s resolutions are genuine — what do you want to change — and practical — what are you prepared to change. They don’t need to be complex; they just need to be personal and pursued with a plan.
If you’re having trouble coming up with your own reachable resolutions, we have a few ideas that may align with your objectives as a student. Our first reachable resolution was to get more involved on campus this upcoming year. Our second is to read more.
Reading has many benefits. In addition to learning something new, expanding your vocabulary and enhancing your own writing, reading can also reduce stress and improve your memory. Here, we’ll provide tips to help you form a reading habit — tips you can use for class-assigned and just-for-enjoyment reading.
1. Carry your books everywhere
In between classes, during your lunch break, while waiting for a meeting or appointment — small slots of time like these are perfect for reading, so bring your books everywhere you go. Download e-books or audiobooks if you prefer. (They are much less heavy to carry.)
2. Set a specific time each day to read
Take advantage of unscheduled reading time, like in the scenarios listed above, but also schedule reading time every day, even if it’s only 20 minutes. Building a routine takes practice. The more you flex that muscle, the stronger it becomes.
3. Read without distractions
When it’s time to read, find a quiet place and turn off your (other) electronics. If you’re still having trouble concentrating, try listening to instrumental music and take frequent but short breaks. The goal is to retain the meaning of the material, not just get through it.
4. Explore different styles and genres
Let’s say you enroll in a history class. You’re interested in the subject matter, but the academic textbook format is a little dry for your learning style. Browse other nonfiction books or resources on this topic that use storytelling to convey the facts. Then, explore other genres and forms of writing that pique your interest. It’s important to read for enjoyment, too, so you don’t get burned out from required reading.
We’re halfway through our New Year’s resolutions. Be sure to come back tomorrow as we reveal our third goal for 2017.