How Students Can Stick to Hard-to-Follow New Year's Resolutions

January 5, 2009 By Christine Clark
How Students Can Stick to Hard-to-Follow New Year’s Resolutions
Sophomore Sarah Raifsnider works as a Wellness Intern at UC San Diego.

( -- Winter quarter at UC San Diego begins on Jan. 5 and many students are carrying a variety of New Year’s resolutions along with their textbooks. Students who have resolved to improve their lives can take advantage of an array of wellness programs designed to help them improve their mind, body and spirit in the new year.

“January is a pivotal month for freshmen because many of them have had a chance to reflect on their first quarter,” Wellness Center Director Jerry Phelps said. “They may have studied too much, not enough, or they may have overlooked their physical, emotional or spiritual well being. The winter quarter provides a chance to make a positive change for the new year.”

Students soon learn that it may take additional planning to exercise more or balance studying with socializing. “Students get so wrapped up in school their first quarter,” sophomore Sarah Raifsnider said. “They get focused on trying to do well, or making sure they do everything they weren't allowed to do in their parent’s house that they lose sight of their wellness.”

UC San Diego’s Wellness Center website highlights resources from Counseling and Psychological services, Student Health Services, Recreation, Housing, Dining and Hospitality, the Center for Ethics and Spirituality and other wellness programs.

Raifsnider said that during her freshmen year she took advantage of the resources offered by the Wellness Center. A wellness peer educator encouraged her to meet new people on and off campus and try new experiences. “I was pretty homesick this time last year,” she said. “So I tried to meet more people and get out of my ‘bubble.’ I learned that there are many aspects of wellness that are important to keeping my life in balance.”

Students who want to improve their emotional, psychological and social well-being can receive support from UC San Diego’s Counseling and Psychological Services and the UC San Diego Center of Mindfulness. These resources can help students learn the principles of positive psychology and the benefits of practicing gratitude, forgiveness and thoughtful self-reflection.

Undergraduates and graduate students who want to improve their physical shape can enroll in UC San Diego’s Personal Wellness Program, which is sponsored by Student Health Education. Students can learn how to avoid unhealthy weight gain by participating in free Weekly Weight Management Groups, which provide guidance from dietitians, psychologists and physicians on diet, exercise and behavior.

Students also can get in shape through UC San Diego’s recreation department by enrolling in the Wellness Program. The free eight-week program consists of an initial physical fitness assessment, entrance interviews with wellness instructors and six weeks of small group training with weekly nutritional advice.

Students who want to improve their spiritual wellness can turn to the Center for Ethics and Spirituality. The Center supports students as they explore the central spiritual questions of their lives and it provides an accessible source for students to find spiritual, moral, and ethical guidance and support.

Phelps encourages students interested in sticking to their New Year’s resolutions to consider the following:

• Improve your motivation: Describe or write down the reasons why you want to change or why this change is important to you.

• Increase your confidence: Look back on successful changes you have made in the past and repeat what worked or helped you succeed.

• Tell a friend: You are more likely to achieve your goal if you tell someone or if you have the support of a friend.

• Keep a diary or journal: Research has shown you are more likely to stick to a goal if you write it down and keep track of your progress.

• Don’t be too hard on yourself: Relapsing or slipping is a normal part of behavior change, but don’t beat yourself up about it, just be persistent, learn from what happened and start again.

For more information, go to .

Provided by University of California, San Diego

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