Resolutions column

I've never been a big fan of New Year's resolutions. But I always found myself coming up with too ambitious resolutions, causing me to ditch my goals and feel guilty for the rest of the year.

As this year begins, so does the second semester of my freshman year. Last semester I found that I was neglecting my physical well-being. Coming into college, I didn't realize how much harder it would be to complete basic tasks like going to the doctor or working out.

New Year's resolutions have had a long history, starting with the ancient Babylonians, and they have changed over time. Now, they have the power to impact a life in significant ways.

College is the first experience a lot of students have with functioning on their own. One resolution that could benefit students is making a point to go to the doctor more regularly.

Young adults often ignore this responsibility because they believe they are relatively healthy. While this may be true, a doctor's appointment is more than just treating sickness, as they can aid in preventative care. This new year, take advantage of the Student Health Center on campus for any needs in primary care.

Exercise is something that busy students can often forget in their day-to-day life, but this should be different. Completing a short workout at least three times a week can improve one's immune system, stimulate brain cells and relieve stress. The Student Recreation Center has options for every student to participate in this new year.

In college, one's schedule changes almost every day. With classes being on a block schedule and having multiple extra commitments, it's easy to drown in responsibilities. Therefore, improving time management in the new year should be a common goal. Properly managing your time can look like setting small weekly goals, creating to-do lists and mapping out a solid routine. By making the most out of your time in one day, you will likely be able to accomplish more overall.

Another resolution that could benefit college students is making sure to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. While this may seem unnecessary and annoying, our circadian rhythm significantly affects things such as metabolism. When the body gets a proper amount of rest, it can balance the digestive system, improving immunity.

In addition to better health, a consistent sleep schedule also leads to improved concentration and productivity. When students don't get the proper amount of sleep each night, short-term memory and the ability to focus are not maintained, leading to a decline in academic performance. So this year, ditch the late-night study sessions when possible and get a good night's sleep instead.

The foods you consume also can affect your health and academic performance. Unfortunately, falling out of proper eating habits is common in college. Irregular schedules make it easy to skip meals on accident or only eat snacks instead of filling meals. An excellent resolution to set is prioritizing healthy eating habits. 

By implementing healthy meal plans, students are less likely to contract a sickness and better protected from complications such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke. Students also need proper nutrition to do well in class. Food affects brain function, and by eating nutritious meals three times a day, one's body can stay more attentive and productive. According to a study, students who met the proper fruit and vegetable intake requirements saw a GPA higher by at least .15 points. 

Once you establish the resolutions you want to accomplish, you have to stick to them. So many people ditch their resolutions quickly, but finding a routine that works is essential. Make sure to limit yourself, as it can be overwhelming to have too many resolutions. Find one or two that you truly believe in and conquer them.

Once you have that, break the resolutions into small steps and take them day by day. The key is to take it slow. It's okay if you don't see immediate progress. Good things take time.

Despite the benefits seen in New Year's resolutions, people still find them pointless. Just because it's a new year doesn't mean you should feel obligated to change how you live your life.

It's always possible to create goals for yourself. This new year, prioritize your health and stick to resolutions that will make a difference in your life.

- Rhian Davis is a journalism freshman

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