4 New Year Resolutions You Can Actually Fulfill

By Adaeze Nwokolobia on January 6, 2019

via Pixabay.com

New Year’s Resolution #1: Wake up early. Every day.

In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell explains how certain circumstances surrounding a person’s birth like family background, date of birth and readily available economic opportunity heavily influence their success in real life. This is not about adopting a thousand New Year’s resolutions or as expected, failing to abide by them. Or a book review either.

Rather, Outlier’s opening page asks a very important question, perhaps, one you might have asked yourself a couple of times. In the red highlight, the question is clear “Why do some people succeed far more than others?” While there is no single answer to this question it is mostly answered in a typical way. Some people work harder than others and this is why they succeed. Of course not excluding intelligence and the intensity of drive which is complemented with hard work to make big bucks. Outliers says there is more to the story than just hard work and pure ambition.

A person’s circumstances sometimes set them up for automatic success. For example, Gladwell talks about Canadian Psychologist, Rogers Barnsley’s discovery of relative age. How there is a big correlation with the date of birth and how Canadian hockey players are picked. The kids might be born in the same year but the ones who turn older first which is usually before opening season get picked for rep squad. These kids get better coaching and therefore more opportunities and go on to be recruited to all-star teams. He states strongly that hard work is a huge component but sometimes these uncontrollable factors existent in our lives contribute to our greatness in exigent ways.

Yes, most of us are not born to rich parents who can afford to send us to prep schools or fancy boarding schools that ensure we get into the ivy league of our dreams. And for some of us, our date of births have never mattered in how we secure positions as much as experience does. However, there are aspects of our lives we have control over and it is important to identify them and make them work for us.

An entry quote from Chapter eight in Outliers, “Rice paddies and Math tests particularly stands out. The quote which is actually a very old Chinese proverb is integral to any New Year’s resolution worth adopting. “No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.” A rice farmer in early China had to wake up early to tend to his rice paddy which is really complicated and delicate to cultivate. They could not afford to lose hours because that could mean by a huge harvest loss. The family would need to wake up early to perform specialized tasks according to how and to whom they were assigned and thus make good use of daylight. This is exactly what you should aim to do this New Year. Assign your hours and days to specialized tasks, be clear what your goals are, and wake early as a regimen not just because you have classes but because you want to be successful. I mean isn’t that the point of adopting a New Year’s resolution to be successful?

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New Year’s Resolution #2: Take care of your health

You really can’t conquer a new year if you neglect your health. I believe this is pretty much straightforward. Exercise, sleep and eat breakfast and stay away from toxic people and environments. You do not need a killer fitness regimen instead try a more targeted regimen to work on what you really need. Ask yourself. Are you looking to lose weight or just get toned? Or build endurance? Nevertheless, your fitness goals should always be specific and achievable.

According to a 2016 Statista survey, 54% of survey participants agreed that their gyms helped them stay healthy. As a college student, take advantage of the campus gym I mean you do pay for it so get value for your money and your health. Care for the physical part of your body. Find time in the evenings and go to the gym. More so, you can sign up for clubs that host dance or work out sessions. That way you have a community where you can get all the support and inspiration you need to follow through with your New Year fitness resolutions.

Hold on. Do not neglect mental health as well. Sometimes, college gets really intense and hard to keep up with. Get help, talk to a qualified professional, and seek out therapy. Everybody has issues from depression, to anxiety to plain lethargy. Regardless, to perform at your best capacity your head has to be straight on and in the game. You have to play to win but first, make sure mentally you are as stable and strong as you need to be.

Also, do not miss routine check-ups and never forget to use protection. Especially if babies or STD’s are not part of your New Year’s list.

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New Year’s Resolution #3: Learn and harness strategy

If you play chess then you already know the importance of strategy and structured thinking. However, if you are just a normal college student you are probably wondering why you would need to incorporate strategy into your New Year’s resolutions. First of all, let’s talk chess. Briefly. The game of chess relies heavily on strategy, preparation and finesse. According to Adrian de Groot, chess masters can quickly perceive the key features of a position in which case the perception has been made possible by years of study and practice. They’ve had to cultivate skill and over time so that knowledge can be applied strategically when and where it sees fit. De Groot in his doctoral thesis affirms that it is the ability of a chess master to recognize patterns then memorize these patterns that differentiate the skilled player from the novice player. By anticipating and syncing situations, a “simple” game of chess can easily mirror real life at any point in time.

Greg Githens, in his article, “Strategic thinking & The game of chess: Myth and Reality” actually points out de Groot’s finding and goes further to explain the importance of strategy. Githens opens with “Make sure your resume says that you play chess. It shows you are a strategic thinker.” He recounts this statement as advice given to an older businessman to a young novice looking to break into industry ranks. However, please do not go making false claims about playing chess if you do not play chess. Matter of fact, you do not need to play chess to necessarily be a strategic thinker. The takeout lesson is that for you to navigate through a new year it is best to have a concrete plan and make informed moves one at a time like a chess player would. Githens affirms that strategic thinkers go on to develop acumen which is needed to excel in any industry. Think of strategy as finding what works for you backed up with tried and tested facts and knowledge that enable you to make moves that will work time and time again.

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis is one of the simplest strategic planning tools you can start with this New Year. While it is commonly touted as a business strategy, it can also be applied to your academic and personal life. First of all, look within yourself and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself this, how can your strengths help you get your dream GPA or secure your desired internship? How can you improve on your weaknesses and neutralize them as much as possible? Then, look outside of yourself. Are there opportunities out there you are missing out on due to ignorance or fear? Can you identify an opportunity in every situation and make it work for you? As for threats, the company you keep do they hinder your progress in any way? Answer these questions truthfully and approach them with as much seriousness as possible. Expand your knowledge and stop going through life blind. Life is unpredictable, always have a counter- move.

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New Year’s Resolution #4: Network, network, network

Go out more, talk to people, and be more invested in your professional life. Every semester, most campus career advising centers host professional development, leadership, and meet-with-alumni workshops and programs. As part of your New Year’s resolution, attend! And don’t just attend make sure you participate, let your voice be heard. Be seen. If you are passionate about your life and future, it radiates onto other people and they will be willing to guide and support you.

Join a professional fraternity or sorority. Some people are averse to social fraternities because of hazing and the excessive partying akin to these groups. However, you would note most campuses have strict regulations against these types of behaviors so abide by campus policy and stay out of trouble. Some professional fraternities especially major specific typically require you to meet a GPA requirement in order to be invited to join. While others are free to join and do not require you to pledge or commit excessively. Regardless, this New Year, meet new people and make some solid professional contacts. You won’t be a college student forever. The real world awaits and people investments matter.

Have a happy and prosperous New Year!

I am a nineteen-year food addict whose love for food transcends the base need of satisfaction but to the higher appeal of fulfilment, appreciation and recognisance of the finer things in life. Aquarius by design, Scorpio by adoption.

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