New Year's Resolutions

"New year, new me!" we've all heard at least 200 times in our lives towards the end of the year. 

Naturally, us humans decided that the refreshing of our calendar is a great time to hit "refresh" on our lives as well, and we do this through a series of goals set at the beginning of the year in hopes of achieving them by the end of the year. To some it's not a big deal, and there was a time that I thought it was pointless for us to rely on a certain time of the year to make goals for ourselves. Even though I still hold on to some of that belief, I think as a college student it can hold a significance to us because of this timing. 

This is a great time to think about your plans for getting through this next year because we all just got through a long fall semester (and it’s the end of 2016 and this apparently has been a terrible year for everyone in the world). Starting a new semester in a new year with a new outlook on life is the most refreshing thing that can happen to us right now. The feeling of going into the academic semester recharged and refocused is amazing, and I think it's essential for us to take the time for ourselves to outline how we are going to make the most of it. I usually do a good job of sticking to my plans because I consider myself to be a very goal-oriented person, and I like the structure that it gives my life. As a college student, we are always on a schedule and time management is key--it shapes our daily lives as students on the go. That being said it shouldn't be that hard for you to set aside a few minutes to think about some things you would like to throw on your schedule for 2017.

So, here's my little list:

1. More Volunteer Service

I love being of service to others, helping out any way that I can, and just being a presence in a good cause. One thing that I did this year during the summer was sign up for a free membership on Volunteer Match. It’s basically an online database of volunteer opportunities of all kinds (child care, food service, people with disabilities, helping the elderly, etc.) that is constantly being updated for connections near you. They allow people in your community to post as well as community members to sign up for the opportunities by allowing you to contact the administrators, and you could be helping out as soon as the next day! It’s a great site, and it’s how I came in contact with UCP of Greater Cleveland, a local organization that helps people affected by Cerebral Palsy, and whose main focus is to help these people be more incorporated into normal society, and to live less like outcasts. I love these types of missions because I learn so much about myself and about so many different groups of people. This was just one volunteer experience I did this past summer, and as a person who truly values what other people and their experiences can offer my own life, I want to have way more of those experiences in 2017.

2. Read more books

I love reading and I truly wish I was a bigger bookworm. It’s not because I don’t like reading that I don’t get through many books, it’s simply because I don’t have time. Honestly, if it’s not on the weekend, reading during the week feels like I’m wasting time and I could be studying (here’s that college student robot conscious speaking and telling me that there is always something to be doing other than something that is even remotely relaxing). I love all kinds of books and I can convince myself to get into anything, so I want to finally quench this thirst for a good read.

3. Finally sell prints of my photos…and take more photos

I have so many photos to print and so many prints to sell! I want to make this a real side-career, and I’m planning to meet with some local photographers soon to take some great pictures. This should add to the collection and I’m hoping by the summer I’m able to fully fund multiple copies of all of my most popular photos and have them for sale.

4. Open up to new, healthy foods

So recently I’ve decided I’m a vegetarian…but not really because I occasionally give in to adding some chicken in my Chipotle bowl, plus Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner recently happened in my household and I just couldn't resist. But on a serious note, I became a “vegetarian” to pay more attention to what I’m eating and to take out the processed foods as well as those that come from animals who maybe haven't lived a great life. Not just that, but I want to think about how to support my own diet outside of the one that I grew up on, which was mostly greasy soul food (hey, not complaining because I still enjoy a plate here and there). I want to learn how to enjoy a healthy life outside of my regular exercise that reflects the hard work that I put in at the gym. Taking care of myself in 2017 is going to start with what I eat, and I'm going to see the results in how I feel. 

5. Save more money

Because I am terrible at it and we all need it. 

With these in mind, I'm going into 2017 with a positive attitude and an open mind, just like I did at the beginning of 2016. My goals for this year helped me to get through it and stayed focused!

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