Regular tips and advice to help you better navigate young adulthood from someone who had to learn some of this stuff (way too much of this stuff) the hard way.
You may not want to make any resolutions, but you do need to have a game plan of sorts to help you succeed and achieve your goals in the new year.
Game Plan for School:
- Whether you’re in high school and will be in the same classes in the new semester, or taking one-semester college classes, think about what worked for you last semester and do your best to replicate the positives. You might be in different classes during this go-around, but you can still use the same strategies that worked for you before (like note-taking, having productive study sessions, and staying on top of schoolwork) to succeed again.
- On the flip side, think about what didn’t work? Did you find it difficult to turn in assignments on time? Did you struggle with tests and quizzes? Take some time to figure out the challenges you had to overcome last semester and think of ways you can avoid this in the future. Did you always feel like you were in a time crunch? Try to get in the habit of working on a little bit of classwork on a regular basis so that you don’t feel rushed doing everything at the end. Were you struggling with a subject that you have to take this semester? Find out where you can go for tutoring and assistance early in the semester so you can have the help you need to succeed.
- Start planning now for what comes next. If you’re graduating or transferring soon, start researching now to see what will be required of you in the next few months so you’re not overwhelmed later down the line. If you’re not quite sure what your next step will be, start researching viable options so you can make an informed decision once the time comes.
Game Plan for Work:
- If this is a job in your prospective career path: congrats to those of you in the workforce who are pursuing your chosen field! However, that doesn’t mean that your work is done. Take some time to make connections in your industry, find out what certifications or training you need to move up in your field. If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected, so also make sure you keep work-related documents like your LinkedIn page, résumé, and cover letter up-to-date just in case.
- If this job is just to pay the bills, or if you know this job is a temporary step on your journey, that’s okay too. What are you doing now to prepare yourself for a future job or career change? Are you saving enough money from the job or jobs you’re at now to finance what a change could cost (in training, moving, tech costs, etc.)? If you feel like a move is imminent, make sure your work-related documents are up-to-date, make sure you have co-workers or supervisors who can serve as recommenders, and prepare yourself for the job search. And while it may feel cathartic at the time, avoid doing anything to burn bridges on your way out. You can’t help how others will react, but keep it professional and don’t do things like look for another job and field phone calls while working at your current job. Getting caught may mean your job search starts sooner than you anticipated.
Game Plan for Your Personal Life:
- Looking for an idea for habits you can start in 2022? Click here for a list of several ideas that you can start as soon as today.
- Want to quit a bad habit? Start doing something else instead: Results may vary, but it can be psychologically advantageous to exchange one behavior with a better one to increase your chances of succeeding. Check out this article and this article to see how you can begin to replace a bad habit with a good one.
- Give yourself grace but keep going: it takes a long time to make or break a habit. Think about how many people resolve to go to the gym more and even buy a membership only to give up by February. If you’re wanting to make a change, know that you have to be intentional but flexible, forgiving of yourself, and ready to commit to long-term work instead of quick fixes. For example: if you want to start working out more (or at all) in 2022, get creative. Start by visiting your school’s rec center, search for free workout videos on YouTube, or start walking, jogging, or biking outside (weather permitting). If you miss a day or two, pick back up when you can without feeling punished (like you might if you have to pay missed-class fees or for a monthly membership you don’t use but can’t cancel).
- Don’t quit (or do. Whatevs): While this piece of advice may seem counterproductive, you know you better than anyone else in this world and you know what you’re ready to do or quit altogether. If you’re not trying to stop harmful behavior, think about your why. Why do you want to quit altogether instead of moderating intake and what benefits will come from quitting? If it’s negligible, determine if fully quitting as opposed to decreasing or pausing the activity might be the better route to go. For example, if you’re trying to quit sweets, perhaps try moderation instead. Eat something healthy before you eat that one cookie (okay, maybe two #balance). Fruit smoothies or fruit bowls provide a healthier but still-sweet alternative, but if you just have to have some candy, try eating a fun-sized candy bar instead of a king-sized bar. Fully abstaining isn’t for everyone, and it’s okay if it’s not for you (or at least not for you at this time). Recalibrate, moderate, and move forward.
- If you are trying to stop a harmful behavior or a behavior that has become harmful (like if one hour of playing video games has become an all-day event and has begun to negatively impact your grades, relationships, and life), know that you’re not alone and that you can reach out for help. There’s no shame in it and know that you’ve already made one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever make by acknowledging that what you’re doing isn’t working for you and you need to make a change. Here are some resources for anyone trying to quit a harmful behavior: