With New Year’s Eve in two days, everyone is in the throes to conducting last minute plans for celebration. It wasn’t until recently that I found myself so pessimistic towards the holiday.
During a conversation with my sister over coffee, I mentioned my disdain for New Years.
“Ughh, why do we have to repeat this song and dance year after year? We find ourselves spending way too much money to attend some kind of New Year’s Eve party only to spend more money on overpriced cocktails and champagne. Then we spend the following weeks going to our now overcrowded gym, scrolling on Instagram wondering if our acquaintances had a better New Years Eve, and writing the wrong date on all our documents.” Plus this is the fourth consecutive year that Dallas’s version of the Times Square celebration, Big D NYE, is “on hiatus” (and yes, it really is called the “Big D”).
My sister looked a little unsettled, causing me to feel like a jackass.
“I enjoy the celebration of the New Year, but I guess I get where you’re coming from.” she glumly replied.
Maybe I was forgetting the purpose of celebrating the New Year. Sure, it has its downsides — after all, if you Google “Why does New Year’s Suck” you get hundreds of articles and videos on the subject. AsapScience even backed up this notion with their dose of research of scientific studies.
But the New Year can bring about some good things, one being a sense of starting with a blank slate. We can shake off a bad previous year like Taylor Swift and picture a better self and a better year ahead.
Maybe the celebration isn’t the focus of the holiday but the premise of a shiny new year – one that we can mold into anything we want.
With this newfound outlook to guide me, I’m sharing three things I’m doing to get prepared for the new year ahead. Join me in starting off the year on a positive note with these three tasks:
Reflect and Plan Strategically
During my time in college, I’ve learned the importance of planning strategically. The process is more comprehensive than your typical resolution-making procedures — you have to do more than randomly assign a few aspirations to a list!
Sure, you may want to quit eating junk foods in 2019 or learn a new language but with little to no strategy behind your mission, it’ll be easy to lose your focus and drift away within the first two weeks of the year.
First and foremost, assign yourself a set of values you wish to uphold. What’s most important to you? For me, my current values include acquiring my independence, having a positive impact on the people and world around me, and changing my habits to incrementally improve my health. When your goals closely align with your values, you will be more passionate about achieving them.
Use this weekend to conduct research about yourself. What have you accomplished over the last year? What has worked for you in the past and how can you replicate your past actions to help you reach your future goals?
Do the same with your mistakes! What did you learn from your mistakes this past year and how can they be avoided in the future?
Then, as cheesy as it might sound, you should come up with a two-sentence mission statement or motto that will remind you why you created your goals in the first place. By constantly repeating your values and mission statement to yourself, you will be more likely to stay focused on the track you have laid out for yourself.
Next, perform a SWOT analysis! What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? For example, if eating healthy is a goal for 2019, a threat may be the abundance of fast food eateries on campus, a strength may be that you actually love eating vegetables, but your weakness may be that you don’t know how to cook. After conducting a SWOT analysis, you can use this information to craft your dedicated plan around your biggest variable – YOU!
Lastly, find a community to keep you accountable. If your resolution for 2019 is to learn to code, join a coding for beginners Facebook group like Newbie Coders Warehouse. If your goal is to become a better public speaker, join your local Toastmasters. Whatever your resolution is, find like-minded people who can help stick out your goal for the long run!
Schedule Dates to Complete Items on Your College Bucket List
One of my biggest regrets in college was not completing my college bucket list. Most of my list was checked off including hikes through West Texas Canyons, road trips to New Mexico, successes in academia, and many other events, but I never went on any of my school’s outdoor activities, for instance.
My college offered cheap nature adventure trips such as canoeing in Big Bend or kayaking in San Marcos or mountain biking in Ruidoso. Although I fully intended to go on these trips, I never did. A couple of my friends who enthusiastically said they would go with me backed out last minute. Later on, I got caught up in working busy weekends as a server to obtain better tips.
Now that I’ve graduated, I wish I’d just gone on a few of these trips alone and made new friends who enjoyed the outdoors.
This year, make set dates to complete all the items your college bucket list and stick to them! This way you’ll be able graduate without any regrets.
Start a New Reading Challenge on Goodreads
The Goodreads reading challenge is reminiscent of the summer reading challenges we did as kids, but your reward is that you become a wiser and more creative human being (okay, I’d still be down for free pizza coupons and bowling tickets too!).
I’ve always felt insecure about my reading speed — or lack thereof. While reading plaques at museums, my family and friends would surpass me in reading while already moving on to observe the next exhibit, ending in me getting flustered and pretending to have finished reading everything too. *sigh*
Little did I know that my slow reading speed was actually related to my lack of reading. After committing to a challenge of reading at least 25 books a year, I noticed that my reading speed and comprehension greatly improved!
So why 25 books a year? For me, completing one book every other week is a reasonable, doable goal. Also, with my local library’s app Libby, I have access to thousands of books for free from my smartphone. Instead of scrolling social media out of boredom, I now find myself flicking open the app to read actual books.
Plus, reading has an incredible amount of benefits including building your vocabulary, improving memory, building knowledge, increasing problem solving, and reducing stress. It’s an excellent replacement for binge-watching Netflix or scrolling through Facebook for hours!
What do you Think?
Are you excited for the New Year? What are some of your 2019 goals and your plan to achieve them? Let us know in the comments below!