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LEARNING HACKS We seldom achieve the New Year’s resolutions we set ourselves for the next year. Yet a few goals can bring so much positivity into our boring everyday lives and make our school life much easier.
Everyone knows it: Next year you want to do everything better. More sports, less sweets, better grades. Unfortunately, these resolutions usually don’t come to anything. Of course, a guilty conscience sets in at some point, but with time, it also calms down. And it’s as if the resolutions never existed. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you next year, I’ve put together 10 creative and sustainable New Year’s resolutions that really can be achieved by anyone. But before that, let’s take a look at what resolutions are really all about.
Interesting: This is why you never keep your resolutions
An English study of 300 respondents published in 2012 shows that about 88% do not keep their good resolutions. This begs the question: Why is it that after 5 days (when the initial euphoria has worn off) the sofa, the chip bag and Netflix are more appealing than all the goals that could make our lives five times easier? And why do we set such goals at all if we know we are unlikely to keep them anyway?
The custom of setting New Year’s resolutions today has more to do with the superstition of new beginnings than with real goals. After all, hardly anyone sets a goal for the next 24 months on 27th April. It is simply a nice tradition that promises good things to come.
Resolutions give us the feeling of being in control of our lives. So if I tell myself that next semester I will study for 30 minutes a day, then I really feel like I can do it. That gives me confidence and reduces stress. I feel happier. The only important thing is the feeling of being in control. People are optimistic, mostly unrealistically optimistic, but optimistic nonetheless. And that actually makes them more active.
Whether I reach my goal or not doesn’t matter at all in retrospect. In thinking, we are all the same in one thing: in the end, I am proud of myself when I get a better grade in a subject. But if I fail, there are a thousand other reasons that prevented me from achieving my goal.
How to set more realistic resolutions
1. Avoid vague wording. “Study a little more” has a certain non-committal quality and never got anyone anywhere. How about “Learn vocabulary for 10 minutes every three days”?
2. Choose a positive goal. Suppressing your interests evokes a bad attitude towards resolutions in you. Instead of “Watch less Netflix”, write down “After 90 minutes of homework, I can watch Netflix for 30 minutes.
3. Write down your resolutions. To make sure you stick to your goals, you need to keep them in mind at all times. Try a sticky note on the fridge door. “A piece of chocolate (only) after a study session.”
4. Stand behind your resolutions. No matter what great suggestions for New Year’s resolutions I give you here, don’t adopt any simply because you can’t think of better ones. Only if you really WANT to achieve something, set it as a goal.
5. Set your goals before New Year’s Eve. As you can see, resolutions are more than just a harmless New Year’s Eve tradition. If you want them to work, it’s best to think about them beforehand. Not just 15 minutes before midnight after 3 glasses of wine.
10 slightly different (school) New Year’s resolutions
1. Introduce a motivating morning routine, e.g. listen to your favourite song while getting ready.
2. Smile at yourself in the mirror every morning and say “I know I can do this”.
3. Make a list of life goals and hang it up where you can see it while studying.
4. Every Sunday, write down the most interesting fact about the world that you have learned this week on a piece of paper and hang it up in your room.
5. Learn an exciting sentence of your favourite foreign language every day.
6. Find new sides to a subject you used to hate and make friends with it.
7. Tutor your friend/brother/acquaintance etc. in your favourite subject.
8. Tick off failures quickly and focus on the future.
9. Stick a star on the wall for every successful work and be proud of yourself.
10. Think about nothing but yourself for at least half an hour every week.
Some more information
Why is it so difficult to keep our resolutions?
How can I keep my New Year’s resolutions?
How can I learn better in the long term?