Halfway through college already? Someone pinch me. I can’t believe summer has already come to an end and I’m done with my first day of classes! But I must say, the 50-degree weather in Madison is making the transition into fall a bit more realistic.
I always have such mixed feelings this time of year because I already miss the days of relaxing with a good book and no schoolwork, but I’m also ready to jump back into a routine, meet people in my classes, and learn new things.
I’m the kind of person who likes to start the year with some new goals and intentions to better myself as well as the people around me. The best way to actually follow through with these goals is to make them attainable (a.k.a. don’t expect to run a marathon in a month if you’re still training for a 5K) and to work on them every day with small yet intentional actions.
So gear up for the new school year and get ready to become the best you with some of these healthy habits! Whether your goals are related to school, fitness, mental wellbeing, or relationships, I hope you find what you’re looking for here 🙂
- Determine what environment is best for you to study in – maybe you prefer total silence, or maybe you need background noise to keep you from falling asleep! Then, find a go-to study spot where you can be productive and undistracted for long periods of time.
- Attend office hours at least once a week for any of your classes and get to know your professors/TAs.
- Form study groups with people in your discussions, or with friends who are taking the same class at a different time.
- GO. TO. CLASS. Even if the lectures are recorded and posted online, being there in person will keep you accountable for paying closer attention.
- Create an exercise routine that fits around your school schedule. You’ll feel more energized and the benefits will show in your schoolwork, too.
- If you’re living in your own house/apartment: Meal prep once a week so you have healthy meals at the ready when you’re too exhausted to cook something fancy. Lee from Fit Foodie Finds put together some delish, college-friendly ideas HERE!
- If you’re in a dorm or sorority/fraternity house: You don’t have total control over what food is served, but you can make healthy choices with what’s offered. Learn how to make eggs in the microwave, utilize leftovers, and hit up the salad bar using these tips to keep things fresh!
- Stock up on healthy snacks. These will come in clutch when you have back-to-back classes.
Pantry: Larabars, RX Bars, pre-portioned nuts, some fresh fruit (bananas, apples, oranges), and popcorn (like SkinnyPop)
Fridge/mini-fridge: veggies and hummus, berries, plain Greek yogurt, eggs, homemade protein bars (like my peanut butter banana protein bars!) and string cheese
- Walk to class instead of taking the bus. I know this is easier to maintain while the weather is still nice, but stick with it through the winter and avoid the crowded bus anyways!
- Start a gratitude journal. I wrote about this a while ago here, but writing in mine every night has helped me reflect on all the wonderful things in my life even during hard seasons.
- Start saying no to some things. I’m the queen of over-filling my calendar with activities (and working on that), but avoid overwhelming yourself by leaving a club that doesn’t serve you anymore or declining a leadership position if you need to.
- Meditate. Keeping a regular meditation practice has been shown to improve focus and memory while reducing anxiety and fatigue! There are all kinds of apps out there that offer free trials to get you started – try HeadSpace or Simple Habit.
- Plan weekly dinner nights with friends! Whether you cook and eat at someone’s place or go out, food has a special way of bringing people together.
- Keep in touch with your family. Make an effort at least once a week to text your parents, call your grandparents, tag your siblings in Facebook memes… It doesn’t matter how, just DO IT!
- Every week, introduce yourself to AT LEAST one new person. It could be someone in your discussion, a friend of a friend, or even that person you always pass by in the same spot on your way to class. Expanding your social circle never hurts – the more the merrier I say!
Whether you’re starting your freshman year, have already graduated college, or are somewhere in between like me, I hope these habits are things you can apply to your daily life. I’d love to hear which of these you’re most excited to try, and what you would add to this list! Happy Humpday and cheers to the new year 🙂