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A New Year, A New You: 7 Things Students Should Do In 2024

As we say goodbye to the old and welcome in the new, students may find themselves at a crossroads of new possibilities, wishful thinking, shortsightedness, and fear for some, while others may have dreams bigger than Texas.

With all the new year, new me dreaming, there are many students who simply lack the skill to move from great ideas, dreams, vision, and lip service to actualities and action plans, which is totally understandable. The new year is a perfect time to be a new you, but not so fast!

In order to really be new, students must set goals, kick the shortsightedness, and focus more on the bigger picture and habits they have developed—good, bad, or indifferent—that support their personal and academic growth while in school and for life after graduation.

For high school students, ringing in the new year isn't just about returning from break in the latest drip or hitting a kickback with your friends.

Furthermore, posting video recaps, and cliched/fake deep self-care affirmations isn't the only thing college undergrads should do to celebrate the new year, either.

The new year is a time for both undergraduate and high school students to do some reflecting, resetting, and revamping any areas of poor disciplines, habits, perspectives, and mindsets that need work. The new year is about celebrating what has passed with hope of what's to come.

It's a great time to plan, dream, and visualize who you want to be and what you want from now until graduation and beyond, all the while considering the actions you need to take to get there. Whether you're in high school or college, here are seven things you should think about in order to maximize this new year.

1. See yourself in the future.

What does the 30-year-old you look like? Is he or she fit, successful, owns a home, married, have you graduated? Do you run a business?

While it may seem like you have a lot of time before turning 30, you don’t. I promise this time will fly by faster than you know, and it’s important to think about the future you but also to avoid making poor decisions now that may negatively impact the future you. Listen to me: everything you do right now this semester will impact your future (in some way), so consider the future you in everything you do and set yourself up for success.

 2. Set goals and reflect on them.

Before diving into the hustle and bustle of the new year, new teachers, and new semesters, take a moment to think about what you actually want this year. What type of grades do you want? Who and what kind of energy do you want to be around? Are your friends drains or faucets? Like, who is pouring into you? How are your spending habits?

Let's set some goals. Create maybe 1-3 realistic objectives for the year and break them down into monthly small tasks that you can do to help you reach these goals. Write them down and consider printing and hanging them somewhere to remind and motivate yourself. Maybe create a vision board with friends.

What achievements are you aiming for—academically, personally, or professionally? Setting clear, achievable goals provides a roadmap for your journey and keeps you focused throughout the year. 

3. Be growth-minded.

A growth mindset is the belief that your abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. Growth-minded people don’t give up or allow anxiety and overwhelm to stop them when things and life feel too hard.

They recognize where they are and what they may be feeling, but they also embrace their challenges. They see life "being hard” as an opportunity to grow and learn. Growth-minded people look for feedback and accountability and recognize that failures are a necessary part of the learning process. A growth mindset will set you up for life in the real world and your future.

Seriously, practice this; a growth mindset doesn't always come naturally or easily, and success in school is fueled by growth mindsets. And this type of mindset also promotes resilience and flexibility. Growth-minded individuals recognize that things don't always go their way in life, but if they keep going, their chance will eventually come.

4. Make self-care a priority.

Self-care is more than simply shopping, having a massage, or getting a manicure. It involves being aware of your needs, stating those needs, and standing up for yourself until those needs are met. For instance, if you're tired and need rest, self-care may look like disconnecting, napping, or establishing boundaries with friends pressuring you to go out and hang out.

A form of self-care is being responsible and not waiting until the last minute to complete assignments. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety anyway. Granted, you’re busy, and balancing school and life can be a lot to keep up with. The demands of academics, family, friends, and extracurricular activities are a lot. Because life will be life'n it's crucial to prioritize self-care.

Make sure to get enough sleep. Put that phone down if you find yourself comparing yourself to others or getting anxious. Maintain a healthy diet and engage in activities that bring you joy, like REAL joy and relaxation. Be in the moment. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is the foundation for sustained success and happiness.

5. Do something new.

Ever heard the phrase, dead things don’t move, and there is nothing good that will come out of your comfort zone?

Okay, perhaps you haven’t because I just made them up, although I’m sure there are real quotes like this with these same principles somewhere.

In short, you need to get out there and LIVE life away from the sidelines and your comfort zone. You cannot grow if you stay there. Think about it: you can’t keep quoting the phrase “New Year, New Me” if you insist on being the same you.

In this case, the only thing that has changed is the year; instead, capitalize on the new year, step out of your comfort zone, and explore new opportunities. Get moving! Whether it's joining a club, participating in community service, or pursuing a new hobby, trying new things broadens your horizons, builds valuable skills, and creates lasting memories. Putting this practice into place, like right now, will be super helpful for life after graduation. So, what is one new thing that you will embrace?

 6. Get your squad and support system together.

Hey, we are not created to be islands. You will hear me say this over and over. The moment you isolate yourself or try to live life by doing everything on your own is the moment you choose foolishness. You're too smart for that!

You will go further and be more effective at doing life with others. Furthermore, no successful individual in history has ever achieved their current level of success on their own. To be successful, you have to be connected to the right people. Therefore, surround yourself with a network of friends, family, mentors, and educators who will support you. You'll be amazed at how many people are eager to help you.

Stop telling yourself you don’t want to bother anyone and that you don’t have anyone. You are as close, far, lonely, or loved as you choose to be. Be intentional and reach out to someone. Establishing a strong support system is invaluable during challenging times and enhances the joy of shared successes. Furthermore, when it comes time to graduate or land a job, you never know who knows who or who you can help.

Cultivate positive relationships that inspire, motivate, and uplift you as you navigate the opportunities and challenges of the new year. You will NEED this community this year, I promise you.

7. Focus on academic excellence.

Last but not least, you are in school to graduate in the first place, and keeping your academics at the forefront of your mind is crucial, and striving for excellence is even more important. The foundation of a successful future is built upon a commitment to academic excellence.

So, this year, don’t waste your time, money, or your parents money. Show up, study, follow up with professors and teachers, work hard, don’t cut corners (this only hurts you), and set out to make your name great. Go back to point two and use the new year to set realistic academic goals, create a study schedule, and seek help when needed. Whether it's improving grades, mastering a challenging subject, or exploring new academic interests, a focused approach to learning will pay off in the long run.

In conclusion, the new year is like a blank canvas or a fresh sheet of paper that is just waiting for you to write or paint the picture of the person you want to be this year. By considering the future, setting goals, reflecting on them, being growth-minded, prioritizing self-care, exploring new opportunities, building a support system, and keeping your academics in check, you can set the stage for a year of personal and academic success.

Remember that every day is a chance to improve yourself, gain new knowledge, and become the greatest version of yourself as you approach 2024.

Cheers to a new year!

Until next time, be the change you want to see in the world.


Coach Rahk


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