Thought Catalog
December 31, 2014

9 New Year’s Resolutions For The Recent College Graduate

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Yovany Camacho / (Flickr Creative Commons)
Yovany Camacho / (Flickr Creative Commons)

I love making New Year’s resolutions just as much as the next person. I think it’s a great thing to want to better yourself But, we need to be honest with ourselves about what we can really achieve. Losing weight is such a typical resolution (which doesn’t make it a bad one), but there are so many more things we can do to make the New Year the best one yet. I’ve seen lots of lists of resolution suggestions for the population as a whole, but what about those of us who are just entering the “real world” and learning how to be “adults”? As someone who just graduated college this year, there are a few changes I have realized I need to (or at least should) make. And what better way to get that ball rolling than with a few 2015 resolutions?

1. Stop eating like you did in school.

It is a sad and unfortunate truth that you just can’t eat mac ’n’ cheese at 2AM after drinking copious amounts of alcohol anymore. You shouldn’t eat a whole Domino’s pizza while finishing that project. It’s not the best idea to eat chocolate-chip pancakes with whipped cream for breakfast every day. Your body and metabolism are changing and so is your schedule, so naturally your diet should change a little bit, too. There are foods that give you energy and prepare your body and mind for the day ahead. Give your body the nourishment it needs, not the junk your mind is telling you you’re “craving.” Drink enough water, not too many pints of beer. Don’t deprive yourself of treats, but be mindful of what you’re putting into your body and the consequences it may have.

2. Figure out what you want out of your career.

As students, we had one main goal in mind: graduate and get a job. Any job. If you’re lucky, you had a few options to choose from, but some of us had to go with the one opportunity they were given. And that option, I’d be willing to bet, is probably not your dream job. Take 2015 to sit down and do a little soul-searching to figure out what you truly want to be doing. Where do you actually see yourself in five years (as opposed to the generic answer you always gave in your interviews)? What job would make you happy? What industry do you want to be in? What type of difference do you want to be making? Is passion for your job more important than the money it earns you? And most importantly, what steps can you take to get you where you want to be? The only way to get there is to figure out where “there” actually is.

3. Beef up your wardrobe.

Ladies, leggings and pullovers just don’t cut it anymore. Fellas, T-shirts and basketball shorts are no longer attractive (or acceptable to wear every day). Invest in a few classic pieces that are stylish, classy, and age-appropriate. Purchase two really nice sweaters instead of seven graphic tees. Buy the more expensive pair of jeans that you know will always look good rather than the cheap pair that you can only wear on a good day. Buy (and also wear) a watch. You are in the “real world” now, and your wardrobe should reflect that. (Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t rock a fanny pack and neon shorts every now and then. Just be sure your style is appropriate for your situation.)

4. Pick up a new hobby and stick with it.

Every New Year, we make resolutions to lose weight, be more active, etc. How long do yours usually last? Oftentimes we lose motivation for these goals because they don’t intrigue us, they simply exist because we think they have to. A weight loss goal is so cliché, right? How about making a resolution to go to a kickboxing class once a week? Or to start cooking a homemade meal three times a week instead of grabbing the same food from your favorite takeout place? Join a book club. Join a running club. Join ANY club. Instead of putting pressure on yourself to lose something, give yourself the opportunity to gain something. Find a new passion, or at least a new hobby. Who knows? Maybe that new hobby will lead to a healthier lifestyle. Win-win.

5. Save more money.

It’s very easy to get caught up in spending money to have a good time. It’s even easier to spend money on things that seem necessary, like eating lunch out every single day instead of bringing food from home. That new tablet is super sweet, I know. But you’ll thank yourself for saving that money a few years down the road when you have enough saved up for a down payment on a house, or a wedding ring, or to pay off your student loans.

6. Reconnect.

When you’re in school, it’s easy to maintain friendships with people because you live two doors down from them. When you’re all in different places across the country? Not so much. Be sure to let your friends know you’re still thinking about them. Call them up and ask them how their day was. Staying friends with people takes time and effort. Don’t be lazy with this one. You chose these people to be in your life for a reason. Don’t let yourself forget what those reasons are. More importantly, don’t let your friends forget.

7. Mature your vocabulary and manner of speaking.

“OMG! So, like, did you hear what so-and-so did to so-and so?” Cringeworthy, right? If you didn’t leave this kind of lingo behind when you left high school, please leave it behind now. As we “grow up” (read: get older), we are expected to speak more eloquently. I doubt using abbreviations such as “totes adorbs” is what this means. Buy a word-of-the-day calendar and learn a new word every day. When you’re writing for work or for fun, look up synonyms for words you find yourself using too often. Be mindful of when you are using fillers such as “like” and “um.” People are more likely to pay attention to what you are saying if you are saying it well.

Start talking about topics with a purpose. Don’t have all your conversations be gossip sessions. Brush up on the news and be able to talk about world issues. And be positive—no one likes negativity, and people are less likely to listen to you if they think what you’re going to say will be negative. Let your conversations and vocabulary grow with you.

8. Let go of toxic relationships.

Face it: In addition to the genuine friends mentioned above, you also had a few pals you kept around that you probably shouldn’t have. 2015 is the time to let those people go. Post grad life/your twenties is a time to grow both personally and professionally. You’re supposed to try new things, explore new places, make mistakes, learn from them, and move on to bigger and better things. Getting rid of the people and things that are holding you back can only further enable this process. They say you are the company you keep, so keep good great company.

9. Unplug.

When’s the last time you went a full hour without checking your phone for messages, Facebook notifications, Tinder matches, etc.? Have you ever found yourself having a conversation in person with someone while texting someone else? Can you really be participating in both fully? I’m guilty of it too. It’s great that we can be connected to people all over the world so easily, but be cautious not to be too connected digitally and not enough physically. In 2015, I challenge you to be less attached to your phone. Instead of taking a picture of a moment for Instagram, try to be in that moment fully. Really be there—mentally, physically, emotionally. Don’t do it for the Vine, do it because it makes you happy.

Happy New Year, everyone! Cheers to you, and may 2015 be your best year yet! TC mark

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