2020 New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Raising Student Achievement

Posted on February 03 2020

College student enjoying studying with computer in library stacks.

Each new year is an opportunity for new beginnings. We resolve to make changes in our lives that will bring us closer to reaching our high-level goals: achieving professional success, improving our relationships with family and friends, and realizing our potential.

But when the year ends, will we look back with regret at our failure to keep our New Year’s resolutions? Or will we pat ourselves on the back as we recognize how much progress we made in the past year toward reaching our goals? To make New Year’s resolutions that raise student achievement, students should approach their goals with an understanding that adopting healthy and productive habits is a long-term process that doesn’t have to happen all at once.

Think of the following New Year’s resolution ideas as a starting point on your journey to becoming the best-prepared student you can be. Keep in mind that resolutions are guidelines rather than hard-and-fast rules, so allow yourself to fall short of your goals on occasion — so long as you keep trying your best and recalibrate as situations dictate. If you’re ready to commit to raising your GPA while simultaneously lifting your spirits and improving your health, these tips will get you started in the right direction.

Hone Your Study Skills 

The earlier you begin to prepare for the next semester — whether it’s your first or your last — the better your chances of doing well in your classes. U.S. News & World Report offers tips for incoming freshmen, but many of the ideas will benefit all college students:

    • Read as much as you can: It doesn’t matter what you read, although studying up on the subjects you’ll be focusing on in the coming term will likely be the best preparation. If you’re not sure what to read, ask your academic advisers, or choose the topics that you’re most interested in.
  • Dig deeper into your chosen major: If you haven’t yet decided on a major, take advantage of your school’s academic resources to learn about the core courses and preferred electives for various study areas. Once you’ve selected a major, seek out an adviser or student in the program to help you plan your course schedule.
  • Join a study group: Learning social skills can be as important as sharpening your academic abilities. Study groups offer opportunities for working collaboratively and making important social connections. If you prefer to study alone, look for other student groups and activities you can participate in, such as those involving sports, music, or social issues.
  • Pick Up Skills That Will Boost Your Career

    Just as it’s never too early to prepare for the next college term, you can’t start too soon on getting ready for your post-college career. The student motivation site It’s All You Boo offers New Year’s resolution ideas designed to raise student achievement:

    • Look for internship opportunities related to your chosen career path.
    • Create a LinkedIn profile, and start collecting professional connections.
    • Get ready to apply for summer jobs by preparing a resume tailored to your preferred line of work.
    • Apply for part-time jobs that allow you to gain hands-on experience in your chosen field.
    • Make sure each term’s course schedule includes at least one course that will teach you skills that will make you more employable.

    Another way to prepare for your career is by contacting companies in the field you plan to pursue to learn the skills and experience they look for in new hires. In addition to gaining insight into the abilities that are most in demand in your field, you’ll be able to establish connections with professionals working in your chosen area. Take advantage of any opportunity to set yourself apart from the crowd of job-seekers.

    Strengthen Your Body, Mind, and Spirit

    As with any worthwhile endeavor, success in college begins by having the right attitude. The better you feel, the more you can achieve. Follow these health-focused resolutions to keep yourself motivated, treat your body with respect, and build self-confidence:

    • Drink at least one glass of water for each cup of coffee you consume.
    • Always have some healthy snacks on hand, such as fruit, nuts, yogurt, or cottage cheese.
    • Establish a regular sleep pattern that ensures you get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
    • Enroll in a course that involves physical activity, sign up for an intramural sport, or seek out other sources for regular exercise.
    • Whenever you finish a major assignment or big exam, treat yourself to a favorite food or activity, even if it’s just taking a long nap. 

    To boost your positivity, create a personal mantra or affirmation, and repeat it regularly. Visualize your future successes by creating a vision board filled with motivational quotes, positive images, and lists of your professional, relationship, and health goals. Other resolutions for boosting your well-being include starting a gratitude journal to record the things your thankful for each day and giving yourself regular breaks from your screen by unplugging from social media.

    Prepare Yourself to Modulate the Regular Ups and Downs of College Life

    Nothing will sabotage a New Year’s resolution faster than unreasonable expectations. Its important to cut yourself some slack when things don’t go according to plan. It’s also important to make resolutions that have a reasonable chance of succeeding, such as resolving to exercise at least five hours each week rather than shooting for being named MVP of the intramural Ultimate Frisbee league.

    In the day-to-day routine of classes, study sessions, and social activities, it’s easy to lose sight of the once-in-a-lifetime experience that earning a college degree should be. Lifehack, a website focused on promoting well-being, provides tips for new college students:

    • Take advantage of opportunities to meet new people and discover new areas of interest.
    • Maintain contact with family and friends back home.
    • It’s OK to engage in some craziness, but don’t do anything dangerous.
    • Balance your social activities with your responsibilities as a student by managing your time wisely, including the time you spend on taking care of yourself.
    • Remember that you’re learning about yourself, so always look for ways to expand your world of knowledge to identify new areas of interest — and potential careers.

    New Year’s Resolution Idea #1: Have a Plan 

    The first step to achieving your goals is coming up with a well-thought-out plan. Perhaps the most beneficial resolution a new college student can make is to be ready for success. The American Academy’s College Readiness course shows you how to create daily, weekly, and monthly plans. It also teaches you how to manage your time more effectively.


    Learn more about how The American Academy’s College Readiness course helps prepare students for academic success today.


    Elite Daily, “5 New Year’s Resolutions for 2019 for College Students Who Want to Thrive This Year”

    It’s All You Boo, “50 Motivational New Year’s Resolutions for College Students”

    Lifehack, “13 Tips for New College Students”

    U.S. News & World Report, “10 Ways to Prepare for Your Freshman Year of College”

    Verywell Mind, “6 Tips for College Students With ADHD”