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Because calling them “New Year’s resolutions” is sooo last year.

Each time we watch the ball drop marking January first, we’re basically baptized. All of our sins are forgiven, the ghost of New Years’ past are gone, and we get to start over with a list of new resolutions that are probably too ambitious.

“Work out seven times a week,” “ONLY eat fruit for dessert,” “cook EVERY night,” “read 200 books,” “ditch social media,” “do more of what makes you happy.” Though are all good resolutions;  they are all equally unattainable.

By February first we’re back to our old habits, which include comparing ourselves to instagram models while stuffing our faces with last month’s Christmas popcorn with a side of Monday’s Chinese take-out.

And let me tell you, there’s nothing more depressing than opening your fortune cookie, among all this self-deprecation, for it to read, “You will do great things,” as a chicken Lo Mein noodle hangs out the corner of your mouth. Meanwhile your New Year’s “resolutions” have evaporated from your conscious altogether. Trust me. This isn’t my first rodeo.

So, instead of calling them resolutions, this year let’s call them personal growth goals. And if you follow these five steps, you can actively making a change this New Year.


Make a real, tangible list of things you want to accomplish. The list must be handwritten, not on a piece of printer paper you snatched on the way out the door to work or on your smart phone. Go to a craft store, buy a nice sheet of paper, a good pen and write your goals for the New Year.


Create goals that ACTUALLY interest you, things you want to accomplish. This could include realistic eating habits such as, “have dessert twice a week,” or “go for a walk around the block three times a week.” Even something as simple as, “make my bed every day,” can boost your self esteem and encourage you to stick with your personal growth goals.


Once you have your list, hang it up in your bathroom by your mirror, or somewhere you’ll look at it every day. If your goals are staring you in the face each morning, then you’re more likely to complete them!


Make your list short. Keep it to no more than 10 things you want to accomplish. That being said, you can set one big goal such as self-love or getting in shape (those can also go hand-in-hand). Having a smaller list can make completing each goal realistic. If you make a list of 100 things you want to do in 12 months, you’ll be overwhelmed and deflated when you only check three things off the list.


Actually do what you say you’re going to. Your personal growth goals are only as real as you make them. Allow the ideas turn into actions. Stop saying, “Oh, I’ll do it next year,” because we’re not promised next year, or even tomorrow. Make the change now. You deserve to live the life you’ve manifested.

Photo by: Sammi Sontag
Location: Valencia, Spain

The New Year is a time to check-in with yourself, to see what you’ve accomplished and what you still need to work on, which is utterly daunting, I know. 

But, if you ditch the idea of a “resolution,” and pitch it to yourself as personal growth goals, you will move mountains. You have the power to make 2019 or whatever new year it may be, the best year yet.

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More on Mental Health on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis