A new year means new opportunities and new expectations. It is exciting: the sense of a fresh start, an opportunity to make positive changes in your life, to learn new things, explore new places and meet new people.

It can also be a little overwhelming. The pressure to be hyper productive, to make this “your year”, and the inevitable sense of failure that comes when you set unrealistic goals for yourself can often take the positivity and the joy out of this new beginning. That is why it is so important to keep your resolutions as realistic as possible. Small steps will still allow you to move forward and make 2023 a more positive year without the stinging burden of knowing that you are destined for failure as you write in your pretty new notebook that you will exercise for 12 hours a day, never even crave chocolate or dream of watching TV again.

Here are the College Tribune’s top 5 recommendations for realistic resolutions that you might actually manage to keep!

1. Digital Detox   

The start of a new year is a time when your social media feed is bombarded with “New Year, New Me” posts. While individuals are free to celebrate their personal victories, if you’re having an unproductive day, those posts can often cause self-doubt and insecurity. A digital detox is admittedly something that everyone struggles with which is why we suggest you to be realistic with your approach to this resolution. 

It would be unreasonable to suggest that you stop using your phone cold turkey; but, even small changes can make a world of difference in not just how we feel about ourselves but also how we connect with others. The next time you decide to meet a friend for a coffee, ditch your phone for 30 minutes before and after meeting them. Give yourself time to clear your mind before catching up and time to reflect after. In a world of virtual connections, ditching your phone, even just for a short period, can help you reconnect with yourself and others in the real world.

2. Practise “Daily Daylight” 

Instead of convincing yourself that you HAVE to go on 7 runs a week, promise yourself that you will  take some time outside each day. Whether that is a 30 minute walk, a 45 minute run, or 15 minutes of jumping jacks in your garden let your body absorb some natural light and feel some fresh air on your skin. 

3. Wake Up Earlier 

Try waking up 20 minutes earlier than you usually do everyday until you reach your goal wake up time. This can ease you into the habit of waking up earlier, and might even help you go to sleep earlier! Be sure to readjust your sleep schedule for your new wake up time and you’ll find yourself going to bed slightly earlier. After all, do you really need to be scrolling through dog videos on tiktok at 3 AM? Probably not.

4. Try New Things 

Be open to trying new hobbies and routines, and being comfortable with the fact that you might not be very good at them! As UCD students, there are plenty of clubs and societies at our fingertips to make this happen. This is also a safe way to step out of your comfort zone since you’ll be among peers. Whether it’s learning to paint or getting on the pitch, there is something for everyone. 

5. Don’t Be Afraid of Failing

This is the most crucial thing to remember about making resolutions; failure does not always have to be perceived as a negative thing. Making changes in your life and trying new things means taking risks and stepping outside of your comfort zone. It means getting things wrong, having to start over, and that’s okay! In the words of journalist Elizabeth Day, “learning how to fail in life actually means learning how to succeed better.”

Leah Byrne – Arts and Lifestyle Writer