Keeping resolutions in check

New Year’s resolutions are great, that is, until February. This year, make a real difference by focusing on small habit changes instead of drastic reinventions. Your body and mind will definitely thank you. Most students come back for their spring semester with a well-intentioned but vague resolution in mind, such as “get better grades” or “be more healthy,” but these general goals will never come to fruition without specific goals.

Cory Hancock, Campus Auxiliary Service’s nutrition and wellness coordinator, suggested deciding a “when, what, how, and most importantly, a why,” for any goal. Hancock said that there is no “‘one size fits all’ change for students,” and individuals must find the change that will suit them best in the end. This change can be anything from eating more fruits and vegetables or going to the gym to getting more sleep through better time management.

For those with dietary resolutions, this semester is the perfect time to change their diet with the arrival of a juice bar in Mary Jemison Dining Hall.

“It’s good for anyone who wants to boost their intake of vitamins and minerals and antioxidants,” Hancock said.

Changes in diet and exercise can also benefit students who resolve to boost their academic performance.

“You can’t strive or do well in a class if you’re sick or unhealthy,” media manager for Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development senior Nick Palumbo said.

Working on small changes outside the classroom can actually hold many more benefits in the long term than overloading hours of studying and stress.

Thomas Chew, a Transitional Opportunity Program counselor, noted that students often do not realize the myriad of resources on campus that can help them succeed in the classroom.  At Milne Library, a program called the Center for Academic Excellence helps students through tutoring programs, walk-in appointments and the Writing Learning Center. It also matches them up with students and professors in every department, so they can receive extra help in classes in which they need it.

Chew said that most Geneseo students did not require help outside the classroom in high school and struggle because they still feel reluctant to ask. He stressed the importance of recognizing your strengths and weaknesses before trying to blindly make changes.

“If you know you suck at math, ask for help in math,” he said. “Don’t try to study it the way you study history because you love history.”

In fact, according to Chew, one of the best ways students can improve academically is to ask for outside help and have honest discussions not only with their professors but also their friends, families or roommates.

So before you resolve to read for eight hours a day or start that juice cleanse, take a deep breath and remember that sometimes the simpler path is actually the better one.

No matter your resolution, making small, everyday changes will create much more improvement than the all-too-common two-week surge students attempt before returning to their previous habits.

As Hancock put it, “Everyone has individual things that they want to work on, and it takes more than resolve. It takes a whole plan.”