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Top 5 Obstacles to New Year’s Resolutions – University of Toronto (Academic Success)

Top 5 Obstacles to New Year’s Resolutions – University of Toronto (Academic Success)


Hey everyone, my name is Jonathan Vandor
and I’m a learning strategist with academic success. I was reading an article this morning that talked about people’s ability to keep their New
Year’s resolutions and according to some sources, January 12th is the day that most people actually fall off the wagon.
That’s two days ago. It’s January 14th, so if you are still
doing your new year’s resolutions, good for you, you are already ahead of the
curve. But for some of you who might be feeling a little bit more wobbly we
thought we’d do today’s session on the top five obstacles to turning over a new
leaf in the new year. So we’re gonna do this David Letterman
style. I’m just gonna throw those when I’m done. So, Number Five: biggest mistake
is being vague if you have a long-term goal, like oh you want to get fit or you
want to save money or you want to eat better, you’ve got to think about
bringing that into the short-term. If your long-term goals aren’t being
reflected in immediate actions, odds are you’re not gonna be able to start
working towards those right away. So I want you to actually look at your bar at
the bottom of your screen and hit pause for a moment and actually write out your
goals and think about how you can visualize those in the short-term. So
that’s number five. Number Four: being unrealistic. If you are actually setting
a new goal, you’ve got to check a few factors to see if you’re actually able to do it. Number one is probably to check if you
have the time to do it. If you’re looking at a packed schedule
of five courses plus volunteering plus a student club, it might be difficult to
squeeze in a few extra hours for this activity or another activity or whatever
you’re trying to do, so you’ve got to be realistic in that sense you also have to
be realistic about whether you actually want to do it. This is one of those
things where you know you cannot force somebody to want to do something. If you have the motivation to do it, you really got to think about well, why am i doing
it? and how can I actually make this real for me? Last but not least and this is
kind of one of those self-fulfilling prophecy things. It has to be realistic
in that you believe that you can do it. If you don’t think you can really hit
your goal, chances are you’re actually not gonna be able to hit it. But if you
believe you can you probably can do that as well
so think really critically about what you are doing and see if it’s actually, you know supported by the time, your will and your own belief. That worked, kind of. Alright. Number Three: is relying only on your willpower. It’s really important to want to do something, but relying only on your willpower is
probably a bad idea. We have a limited resource on willpower every single day
and by the end of it we are probably just going to go dive for the bag of
chips or the bad habits that we are used to doing. So thinking about actually
finding ways of conserving that willpower for what matters is really
really important. If you can make whatever you are trying to do easier or
even habitual, your odds are going to increase if you’re actually staying with this new behavior or thing you’re trying to do. I would also say that if you can
build a reinforcement or a reward system for doing what you are trying to do,
you’re also going to be increasing your odds of being able to carry through. So for instance, if you are saying I want to, I don’t know, go to the gym three times a
week. Every time you go to the gym I’d like you to think about a reward system
that you get immediately after doing that. Is it half an hour to yourself for
once? Is it meeting up with a friend? Is it actually going to be something more
in terms of like oh I’m going to put aside money to get that really big gift
that I want to buy for myself. Thinking about that reward system right away
is going to help support you beyond just will power alone. I’m also going to say
if you can use resources out here on St. George campus or in Toronto in general,
use them if you are say trying to increase your grades over the course of
the year. Well if you need to think about how to actually make that happen, you
need to think about the behaviors that you need to do over the course of each
and every week, and I’d point you toward something like the study hubs, which
offers you like two hours of study time with other people who are going to judge
you if you’re looking on your phone or on the internet, so use that
to your advantage. Plug in the time to actually do the work
that you have to do. And incidentally the schedule for the study hubs is being
posted slowly. We’ve got about 70% of
hubs for the term put up on to CLNx and we’ll have more details in the
next little while. Alright, we are down to Number Two: this is about expecting
immediate change if you are getting disheartened that you haven’t become
some sort of super hero fulfilling all your goals, do not get discouraged. Any
sort of progress, that progress takes a lot of time, so thinking about what
you’ve done in the past versus what you are doing now, even if it’s only
fractionally better it’s going to be actually really worthwhile. I think you
should all acknowledge the successes that you have and you should reward them
if you can, but if you are still making mistakes and falling off the horse,
that’s okay too. If you’ve made a mistake, figure out what
happened, why did it happen and basically build on your experience to basically
work towards your long-term goals. Last but not least. Number One: is doing it alone. If you have a new goal, tell somebody. Your odds of actually doing
this goal are going to go up really quite a lot if you actually share your
plans with somebody else because ultimately, you’ll have to share with
that person well I didn’t do it or I really did it. So actually building that support system outside of yourself to reinforce the
behaviors you’re trying to build. Doing this has an additional benefit that you
have actually, you can actually get some advice on how to do it. If you are trying
to say eat better, somebody else might be able to say, yeah you know what I was
able to really figure that by doing meal prep on Sundays for the whole
week and having a whole bunch of healthy snacks on hand, so I wouldn’t just go
right for the chips, or if it’s like self-care or exercise, they might have
advice that would be really helpful for you as well. Now, if you are thinking
predominantly about getting better at your studies, I’m actually going to give you a
bonus here and recommend the one day conference called Study Smart and the
idea with this is it’s on a Saturday where nobody has classes and regular
commitments in the same way as they might during the week and it’s a one-day
conference to help you, you know, study smart. So we’ll have the website
posted below and you’ll be able to just click to it. Registration is required and
it’s coming up pretty soon on February the 8th, so if you are at all interested,
sign up and tell someone else you’re going to go. Thanks for tuning in. My name
is Jonathan, I’m here from academic success, and hopefully I will see you all
around. Take care.

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