A new year is just around the corner and high school students everywhere are already looking forward to the upcoming summer. But with each new year comes the end to a grade level and the beginning of a new one. For some, that may be college, while others may simply be moving on to the next grade in high school. Wherever you find yourself headed this fall, begin this new year on the right foot and with plenty of excitement, goals, and positivity. In order to have the best year yet, you need to be mindful about your choices this upcoming year and make plans to succeed in every area of your life. Here are a handful of our best suggestions for New Year’s resolutions for high school students.
Stop Procrastinating & Actually Get Ahead on Schoolwork
Ah, the most common grade-killer in high schools everywhere: procrastination. You probably had really good intentions to start that paper early or begin that huge project as soon as it was assigned, but life happened and you forgot. Before you know it, the due date is tomorrow and it will be a miracle if you can put together something even halfway decent. You know you’re capable of so much more than that, and by procrastinating, you’re selling yourself short and not giving yourself an opportunity to be successful in your classes. Aim to stay ahead of your schoolwork, and give yourself your own deadlines for big projects or papers. Plan which day you’re going to start and make certain that you follow through on that. Give yourself small deadlines throughout the process of completing the assignment, and have a friend or family member hold you accountable to meet those deadlines.
High school students today are busier than ever before. Between sports, after-school clubs, church activities, social time, and school, it’s amazing that students ever have a chance to rest and relax. We know it can be fun to stay active and busy with all your favorite activities, but you have to be careful not to overcommit this year. The closer you get to completing high school, the more you need to prioritize your activities and make the best choices about what is getting your attention and energy. Try to pick just a few things to participate in and really stick to that so you’re not overcommitted and constantly exhausted.
Manage Your Time Better
Time management is a huge challenge for most adults, but the sooner high school students learn to manage their time, the better off they’ll be in the long run. Set aside time to study, do chores around the house, hang out with friends, and do your other hobbies. Make yourself a schedule if that helps and do whatever you can to minimize your distractions when you’re doing a task. Even though multi-tasking can feel super effective, an article by Forbes actually explains why it’s not beneficial to try to manage several things at once or switch back and forth between multitudes of tasks. Set aside distinct times for each task, schedule it out, and stick to it.
Yet another big challenge for high school students, sleeping needs to be made a priority this year. It’s not good for your brain, your body, or your mood to be sleep deprived, and the majority of high school students don’t get enough sleep at night. When you resolve to prioritize sleep this year, you’ll likely experience huge changes in your life. You’ll be happier and more energetic throughout the day (and even into the occasional late-night study session), you’ll have an easier time focusing and getting schoolwork done, and you’ll simply enjoy life more and get the most out of each day. You’ll also be significantly healthier and will want to make healthier food and activity choices throughout the week.
Reduce Social Media Time
This one can be a biggie for the average teenager, too. Countless hours are wasted on social media every single week, and not only is it poor time management, but it can also damage your psyche. Social media tends to bum a lot of people out—they’re seeing everyone else’s “highlight reel” and comparing their own lives to other people’s seemingly perfect lives. Social media can be good in small doses and when utilized in the right way, but high school students should aim to limit their time on social media sites each day. Many phones are offering “screen time” widgets nowadays so you can see how often you’re on your phone and what you’re spending your time doing. Aim to keep your social media time under a certain amount or at least to spend less time each day than the day before.
Buy a planner and use it! Keep your notebooks clean, keep your bedroom clean, keep your car clean, and so on. The more organized you are, the less stressed out you’ll be and the more productive your time will be. A clean space is better for studying and completing other tasks, and you’re more likely to do better in school when your schoolwork is neat and organized. If organization is a huge struggle for you, ask someone who’s great at it to help you get organized, and then do your best to stick to the organizational systems they’ve implemented.
Set & Achieve Academic & Personal Goals
High school is a big time in a lot of people’s lives where they really come into themselves and learn who they want to be. Set some goals that are related to what you want to accomplish this year, whether personally or academically. Then figure out the steps you need to take to achieve those goals and hop to it! These goals should be “SMART” goals, meaning they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Drive Out Negativity
Did you know that negative thinking can actually impact your physical health? Negativity is not something you need in any area of your life, so do whatever it takes to drive it out this year. Practice positive affirmations each morning, minimize interactions with negative people, and do your best to stay positive through each and every situation you face.
Know Your College Prep Timeline
Especially if you’re a junior or senior, you should definitely be on top of your college timeline. If you’re not certain what you should be doing when, make an appointment with your guidance counselor as soon as you can. Make sure you’re aware of testing dates, essay deadlines, application due dates, and any other admission requirements. Make a resolution to stay on top of your college prep timeline this upcoming year to set yourself up for the most success in the future.