The month of January is a real enigma, it’s still constantly freezing and dark, but without the warm Christmassy glow. It is a month of bleakness and new beginnings, throughout which you’ll be asked a million times ‘make any good resolutions?’ ‘Have you caved yet?’ The incessant posts of ‘new year, new me’ and pictures of new gym wear and healthy eating are likewise plastered across social media.


 

I reflected over my 2017 to see if I could establish what I wanted to change in 2018. To sum up, my year comprised of, to quote the queens of my childhood, Girls Aloud, ‘Deadlines, Diets and Devious Men’. It involved a lot of coursework, most of which I submitted on time, exams which made me question my existence, 15 million gallons of coffee, enough chicken nuggets to outsource MacDonald’s and about three hours’ sleep overall.

And yet, although I made many mistakes last year, should I really start the new year by casting the old one off? Most would agree clean slates are helpful. Indeed, dwelling on the past is not healthy and doesn’t achieve anything other than regret. However, if we don’t embrace our failings, how can we hope to progress?

Yes, you probably got too drunk one too many times, believe me I have gone to many a seminar with yesterday’s makeup on. And okay, that diet went south pretty swiftly. I told myself I’d cook everyday — I’m now on first-name terms with my local PFC shop. And no, you didn’t join all the societies/clubs/programmes you said you would when you went back to university in September. But really, does it matter that much?

I’m being serious, when you look at what you’ve achieved this year, is it the end of the world if you haven’t ticked everything off your list?

Of course, set yourself manageable goals for the new year, but there is no need to declare that you’ll become fluent in Greek, get 55 internship placements over summer and fly to the moon through the power of your farts.

We’re students, we are already having to deal with studying a degree, living independently for the first time, working arduous zero-hour contracts, staying on top of extracurricular activities and, somehow, attempting to have a social life. There is no point setting ridiculously high goals, particularly as once the new year really gets underway we all know where we’re heading, next stop, exam season.

So instead of making a list of grand gestures, which realistically no one keeps — I’ve been saying for the last four years that I’m going to start running, however, the only running I’m doing is from my problems — I’m going to pick some micro goals.

By setting yourself manageable achievements, you’ll get little victories. And by sticking to them you might be able to handle the delightful situation, aka our lives, much better.

1. Get your priorities straight

Making your assignments to the best of your ability, and on time, is far more important than getting all of the weekly reading done or working five days a week at a bar. That extra £50 a week won’t matter if you end up burning out or not having time to get your coursework done.

2. Save where possible

I’m not saying live like a nun and never go out or treat yourself, but you’ll go from Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference to Slovakian Dairylea very quickly. Make a weekly meal plan so you can buy ingredients which work for a variety of meals. Plus, bulk shopping will work out cheaper and when you’re going out, take out cash and leave your card at home — contactless will be the end of you.

3. Remember your OGs

Maybe last term you found yourself feeling a bit homesick. No, it doesn’t mean you’re pathetic, we all miss it from time to time. Calling your parents and friends from home regularly will break up your days. A bit of chit-chat may seem tedious, but knowing they’re just a phone call away will be a comfort.

4. Your life isn’t a soap

House gossip still keeping you down? I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t get sucked in. Try to not even talk about it. The person creating the problem wants the attention, so if you don’t give it, then it goes away.

2017 was a write-off from start to finish, I think we can all agree there. But overall, I doubt you’ve done that badly, so yes, make 2018 your year, but don’t overstretch yourself or try and forget the bumps you’ve hit along the way.