When you’re already juggling work, family, school, and other obligations, who has time for New Year’s resolutions? You do! But rather than selecting ones that simply feel like burdensome entries to add to an already packed to-do list, choose resolutions that reduce stress and lift spirits.
Here are five New Year’s resolutions that can make a profound difference for adult learners:
- I will become a time-management master.
Keeping tabs on what needs to be done and when cuts down on late papers and frantic calls to your mother to pick up your daughter from soccer practice. Start by committing to a central calendar in which all obligations get recorded. Such a document also assists in spotting free pockets of time that can be used for anything from getting ahead on this week’s psychology reading to folding laundry.
- I will make some time for myself.
Want to keep up with This Is Us or hit the gym twice a week? Schedule these activities into your calendar, too. Lofty ambitions rarely get fulfilled because time has a way of slipping through the cracks (a “quick” look at Facebook, anyone?), so commit to things that mean something to you. And remove the guilt – re-energizing benefits both you and all who depend on your efforts.
- I will strengthen my support system.
Speaking of others . . . make a goal of surrounding yourself with positive, encouraging people. Seek out friendships with other adult learners; you’ll gain a sense that others “get” what you’re experiencing. Reach out to instructors for academic assistance or career advice. Take advantage of tutoring, mental health services, and other help offered by your institution. Don’t be afraid to accept your spouse’s offer to take the kids to the movies so you can study in peace. And give yourself permission to avoid that know-it-all cousin who always wants to rain on your parade.
- I will celebrate my accomplishments.
Your son’s exceptional artwork and your daughter’s science fair ribbon make their way to prominent household locations for all to admire, but what about your Dean’s List notification? Resolve to celebrate victories large and small. The good feelings generated by treating yourself to a fancy latte after acing the calculus mid-term build momentum for the final. Also, consider maintaining a list of things you’ve done that fill you with pride. Turn to it on rough days as a reminder of your abilities.
- I will not give up.
Finally, make a resolution to weather the tough patches. When unexpected overtime arises at your job, dishes pile up in the sink, and that biology chapter proves difficult reading, vow to take a deep breath and keep moving forward. Determination and commitment will serve you well both on your road to a diploma and beyond.