By Allison Milton/The AS Review

Two years ago on Jan. 1, I made a resolution to cut sweets out of my diet. On Jan. 2, I found a chocolate Santa left over from my Christmas stocking and felt no remorse as I unwrapped and ate it.

This situation may sound all too familiar for some, and instead of making these promises to ourselves that are too hard to keep, it might be the time to reevaluate these resolutions.

For many students who choose to make resolutions at the beginning of the year, the pressure of commitment can keep them from making progress toward their goal.

Some popular resolutions include losing weight, working out more, eating healthier or studying harder, and if you’re serious about making these changes in your life, there are resources on campus to help you stick with them.

Jill Kelly, Western’s dietitian, said the problem with most resolutions is that many people go about them the wrong way, causing them to give up on their original goal. The first step in making a new year’s resolution is to write it down and hang it up, she said.

“If it’s not reminding you of what you want and what’s important, it’s as good as gone,” Kelly said.

Other than keeping your resolution in the forefront of your mind by writing it down and posting it at home or at work, Kelly reminded students that most resolutions need to be long-term changes and not quick fixes, especially in the case of diet and exercise.

Diets appear promising, which is why many people choose dieting and losing weight as their resolution for the year, Kelly said. Quickly, though, they often find out that it’s not as easy as it may look. Instead of dieting, Kelly offered advice to students about alternatives to dieting so that as they begin to make changes in what and how they eat, it will be easier to make these changes fit into their lifestyle.

If students were to change one thing in their diets to move toward a healthier lifestyle, Kelly suggested getting rid of unhealthy foods and convenient snacks, so the temptation to eat them goes away. Replacing chips, chocolate and processed snack foods with healthier options such as string cheese, fruits and vegetables and making sure to carry these snacks with you while you’re at school or at work may help increase potential weight loss and prevent overeating at meals.

Trying to lose weight can be tough and for some weight loss is only a temporary fix as the weight comes back once the diet is finished. Instead of trying to lose all the weight at once in a couple of weeks, aim to lose only half a pound a week, Kelly said. This way, you are losing less muscle and you feel less deprived unlike with strict diet and exercise routines, she said.

Another resolution that students often take on at the beginning of the new year is to establish better studying habits. Rather than just resolving to “study harder,” students should adopt a resolution with a clear goal in mind such as increasing your GPA or studying more hours per week, when it comes to making changes in studying behaviors, Barbara Quick, assistant director at the Tutorial and Academic Skills Center, said.  There are many things that students can do to make sure that they are getting the most out of their studying time, she said. Her advice to students ranges from how students study to where they study, reiterating the fact that studying habits are different from person to person.

One thing that may help students be successful in their classes is to familiarize themselves with lecture and class material before the actual lecture. Students can read the assigned chapters ahead of time or browse through slides on Blackboard before the lecture. This may help students better understand the lecture and retain the information, Quick said.

Another study habit that students can adopt to help their resolution of doing better in school is to study in the same place at the same time on a regular basis, Quick said.

“You condition yourself so when that time of day comes or when you sit in that certain desk, it is easier for you to switch into studying mode,” she said.

The Tutorial Center offers free services to students who are seeking help with their schoolwork or need to reevaluate their study habits. This on-campus resource offers a study space for students to do homework and to ask questions of tutors pertaining to many GUR classes, including math 112 and 114, biology and chemistry. Also located in the center are academic success coaches who meet one-on-one with students to help diagnose their study habits to find something that works for them. Study groups are also available for students in classes such as chemistry 121, 122 and 123, math 157 and philosophy 102.

Whatever your resolution may be, know you are not alone. Whether it is to graduate from Western, learn how to skydive or make smarter choices in your diet, look to campus resources first for help. And, if your resolution just doesn’t turn out like you hoped it would, just remember, there is always next year.