Are your New Year’s Resolutions Setting You Up for Success?

It’s that time of year again: Resolutions. We all do it, and we all have very good intentions of making and keeping our New Year’s Resolutions. However, it can be very difficult to stay committed to our resolutions for an entire year, and it can be even more challenging when we are not making specific, attainable goals.

Are you setting yourself up to be successful in 2016, or are you trying to tackle too many or too broad of resolutions? In this article, we’ll discuss some of the more common resolutions that affect Wayne State students, and how to create a plan to keep them all year long.

  1. Lose weight

Too often, weight loss goals push people into unhealthy behaviors. Fad dieting or products promising a quick fix may cause weight loss initially, but they usually lead to weight gain in the long term. Try instead to focus on overall health. Take the time to notice how healthy behaviors cause you to feel more focused and energized and have a more positive attitude. Changing your lifestyle will not only lead to weight loss but improved overall health for life.

One way to get started is tracking your food intake. MyFitnessPal is a popular app for food and activity logging, but pen and paper work just as well. The idea of food logging is to become more self-aware of your choices so you can take action to change them.

Another tip is to be mindful of hunger and satiety cues. From time to time, all of us need to relearn what it feels like to be hungry and what it feels like to be full. Listening to your body will help guide food choices and portion sizes.

Lastly, work on making high quality food choices instead of calorie counting. By choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables daily and opting for water over sugary beverages, the calories will take care of themselves. Eating well-balanced meals composed of whole foods will leave you feeling full and satisfied. Cravings for processed foods and sweets will naturally diminish when replaced with high-quality food items.

If you are struggling with your diet and need help managing your weight, you have access to a dietitian right here on campus for free. Phone or visit the Campus Health Center to learn more.

  1. Quit smoking

We are all too familiar how hard it is to quit smoking. It is a much harder path than many anticipate, but the lasting health benefits far outweigh the struggle to quit. We are proud of you for taking the first step toward quitting smoking.

Being a Wayne State student may make quitting a bit easier. On August 19, 2015, Wayne State joined hundreds of colleges and universities across the country and adopted smoke- and tobacco-free policies for indoor and outdoor spaces.

As a result of this policy, you now have countless free resources at your fingertips. You can order a Smokeless Program Kit for free online, which will give you many of the tools you need to end this bad habit.

  1. Reduce stress

University is inevitably an extremely stressful time for many students, and this stress can get worse with exams, lack of sleep, no exercise, poor diet, and not spending time with family and friends. Stress is a part of life, and we all need to learn how to cope with and manage it in order to be successful in school and in our personal lives.

Here are some tips that will help you prepare for this very stressful time, and if preparation is not enough, we also offer a few anxiety busters that will help you relax and refocus.

Some tips include:

  • Stop procrastinating
  • stay connected
  • Use a student counsellor

For a more detailed explanation of tips, please read A Healthy You: Kick Exam Anxiety to the Curb With Five Easy Tips.

  1. Volunteer

Volunteering and giving back to your community is definitely a great way to get involved, and it increases your happiness, boosts your resume, and can help you make new friends. There are countless organizations on campus that you can donate your time to, and Wayne Cares offers ways for you to get involved as well.

The best thing to do here is to get involved in ONE event or organization and commit your time and schedule to doing that. Don’t decide to volunteer with five different new organizations or events and overextend yourself. This will add to your stress, and you may give up on your resolution.

Stay focused on one specific event or organization, and schedule your volunteering hours in advance so there is no backing out.

  1. Cut back on alcohol

We have seen the articles all over Facebook discussing the health benefits of a small amount of alcohol. While this is true, too much alcohol is still a big problem, especially with college students. Alcohol in excess affects the brain’s neurotransmitters and can increase the risk of depression, memory loss, and even seizures. Chronic heavy drinking boosts your risk of liver and heart disease, hypertension, stroke, mental deterioration, and even cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, and breast.

We applaud you for deciding to cut back on your alcohol intake. This can be a very hard decision in college, but it’s one that you will see the benefits of long term. Tips to help limit your alcohol consumption include:

  • Attending a party earlier and leaving earlier or attending a party later in order to limit the amount of time you have to drink
  • Only bringing enough alcohol for one or two drinks and sipping slowly
  • Pre-mixing your drinks at home so that you can control the amount you put in your mixed drinks
  • Keeping track of the number of drinks you have
  • Take time to eat snacks
  • Find alternatives to drinking, such as taking up intramural sports or joining clubs on campus

This year, as you commit to your New Year’s Resolutions, try to follow some of these guidelines in order to be successful. Setting goals to make healthy changes to your lifestyle is a good step, but following through on those goals is a lot harder. We know you can do it, Warriors!

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