5 Non-Health Resolutions for this Semester

We know, we know. This year your New Year’s Resolution is to go vegan, start running again, or go to CARSA six times a week; but didn’t you say that last year?

While these are noble goals if you truly want to be more healthy, the majority of our health-based resolutions are never met, and many are unrealistic expectations that may not even be medically necessary. 

If you’re tired of giving up by the first of February, try choosing a resolution in a different sphere — goals based around our ambitions, family and social lives, or personal well-being may be more achievable, and more sustainable in the long run. Here are five resolutions that don’t center around your waistline, and instead focus on the parts of our lives that many students neglect.

1. Don’t Let Friends Fall to the Wayside

It’s a new semester, and you’ve got a million things to do. Between figuring out your schedule, settling back into residence or into a new apartment, and finding textbooks at a price that won’t kill you, it’s tempting to skip the weekend meet ups and ignore text messages. You’re just too busy, right?

But while everyone needs time to themselves, it’s even more important to stay balanced between social, school, and personal time. This year, make a resolution to reach out to friends you didn’t keep up with over the break. You’re friends for a reason, why not make plans to catch up at Biblio, even if it is over course readings?

In my experience as a student returning to UVic after a semester abroad, the friends who met me to chat for a even few minutes made me feel much more confident about being back on campus. It takes very little energy to be kind, and instead of motoring to your next class, take a moment for a smile and a greeting. You never know what someone is going through and it might just make their day!

2. Sleep When You Can

This resolution looks surprisingly simple, but judging by the number of zombie-like students at UVic, we could all use a little more sleep. This year, make a resolution to sleep when you have the chance; go to bed early when you can, and don’t push off sleep until the weekend. (Researchers at the National Sleep Foundation find that sleep deprivation can’t be compensated with a single weekend of catching up on sleep).

This year, make sleeping at night a priority. Attempt to avoid naps (they disrupt your circadian rhythms) and instead try to go to bed early, instead of sleeping in late. It won’t always work out with your schedule, but if you make sleep a priority, you’ll feel refreshed, productive, and ready to concentrate on the task at hand. Which means you’ll spend less time staring at the wall in vegetable-mode.

Your readings and study sessions will go by faster, so you won’t have to stay up so late, so you can go to bed earlier! It’s a beautiful, beautiful cycle. Try it.

3. Exit the Course-load Competition

Do you ever feel as if you’re not taking enough classes, even though your coursework keeps you more than busy? Do you ever feel inadequate when your Biology friends tell you about their five hour lab practicals, or your Fine Arts friend rattles off their full schedule from classes to rehearsals that last until eleven at night? I want to tell you that whatever you’re doing, as long as you’re happy, is enough.

If you feel challenged and engaged by your courses, that’s fantastic! You are exactly where you are supposed to be. In university, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress competition; suddenly a casual lunch at Mystic turns into a Four Yorkshiremen-esque debate on who has it the worst.

This semester, resolve to keep yourself out of these pointless discourses. Ask your friends about their winter break instead of their schedule. Share that story about your hilarious new writing teacher who used to be a wedding DJ. If you remove yourself from the running for Best Stressed, you’ll feel much better about yourself and your classes, and you’ll be able to focus without worrying that you “should” be taking seven instead of five.

Although January is swimming with unrealistic health expectations and resolutions, this year, take the opportunity to make a positive change for your academic or personal life. And who knows? It could be the year your resolution sticks around for good!

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