10 New Year’s resolutions for successful students

Goodbye 2020, hello 2021!

The New Year has begun, and millions of people all over the world are setting their New Year’s resolutions – a list of personal changes or goals to help make 2021 their best year yet.

2020 was a tough year for many people, so it’s more important than ever to start afresh, make positive changes and become the best ‘you’ you can be.

For students, it’s the perfect time to set goals that will help you achieve study success. They’ll also help make your academic year more productive, organised and fun!

Need a bit of inspiration to get started? Here are our top 10 New Year’s resolutions for students:

1. Enjoy the great outdoors


The global pandemic meant many trips away were put on hold in 2020. We’re still not entirely sure when we’ll be able take those trips in 2021, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors in your local area. 

If you’re living on a large university campus, there’s so much to do and see right on your doorstep – from the botanical gardens at the University of Exeter to the sculpture trail at the University of East Anglia. 

If you’re based in a city, there are usually many parks and beautiful city spots to explore (so long as you’re adhering to government guidelines!) 

With the world so uncertain, it’s easy to get trapped in your room away from the outside world. Before long, you’ve been studying in the same place for years without ever truly exploring it. You could be really missing out! 

When restrictions are loosened, travel just a little further afield and you might discover something really special – like the beautiful Alnwick Castle and Gardens, which are only an hour away from Newcastle University. 

2. Do it NOW!

“Procrastination is the thief of time,” English poet Edward Young once said – and he was right!

Imagine how much more productive you could be if you stopped putting things off?

Start small by employing the rule ‘if it can be done in less than 5 minutes, do it now’. Before you know it you’ll be handing in your essay a week before the deadline. Well, maybe…

3. Lend a hand


It’s unlikely that you’ll ever have so much free time in your schedule again once you’ve left university, so fill the space by volunteering – when government guidelines allow. Not only will you meet new people, give back to the community and make a difference – you’ll also develop new skills and build your knowledge. All of this will look great on your CV!

4. Switch off

In a world of likes, followers, tags, TikToks and chat streaks, it’s easy to spend countless hours glued to your phone trying to keep on top of it all. Constant notifications from countless apps are distracting at the least – and damaging to our mental health at the worst!

Try cutting down on your social media use by switching off your phone when you study, read, enjoy a hobby or relax at home. You’ll find it easier to focus and engage, both of which are essential skills for study success.


5. Find balance

Sleep. Study. Socialise. The three ’S’s of university.

It’s often said that you can never do all of them sufficiently, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You just need to find a balance.

Make it your goal to get a certain amount of sleep each night, and combine studying and socialising by organising group sessions with your friends – even if they have to be virtual hangs or just within your bubble for now.

6. Broaden your horizons

Try a new sport, join a society, make a new friend, discover a talent. University is the perfect place to experiment, with access to so many clubs and societies via the Student Union. Whether it’s judo, acting, rowing or knitting, you’re bound to find something you enjoy!

While this resolution may not be easy to complete at the moment, restrictions won’t always be so high, and you will soon be able to broaden your horizons at university. Patience is a virtue, after all! 

7. Move more

This is a pretty popular New Year’s resolution whether you’re a student or not, but students are notorious for slacking when it comes to fitness.

It might seem like a lot to fit in workouts around your studies, but exercise is proven to stimulate the brain, improve mental health and even make you happier!

You don’t have to join an expensive gym – walking or jogging is freeor you could make use of online tutorials and exercises classes.

8. Get cooking


Do you find yourself cooking the same things day in, day out? Or maybe you hardly cook at all?

This New Year, challenge yourself to cook one new dish each week, and before long you’ll have a huge range of new cooking skills up your sleeve.

You could even turn it into something fun to do with flatmates by teaching each other your favourite recipes from home, or take it in turns to host themed dinner parties!

9. Keep in touch

With so many friends living close by, it’s no wonder we often forget to keep in touch with those outside of our university bubble. Getting in touch with friends and family from home – even just a video call once a week or a few messages here and there – will put a smile on your loved ones’ faces.

Don’t forget, university isn’t forever, and you’ll be glad you kept in touch once you’ve graduated!

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10. Study smart

What kind of learner are you? Do you respond best to sound, visuals or movement, or perhaps a mixture of them all?

We’re all individuals, so it’s important to know that not all study methods will work for everyone.

Colour coding is perfect for visual learners, but you might find that recording your notes on your phone and listening back to them is the best way for you to learn.

Make it your goal to experiment with different methods of studying and revising – try teaching what you’ve learnt to someone new, memorising facts by turning them into a song, or asking a friend to test your knowledge!


Are you ready to make your own resolutions now?

Find out how a group of students broadened their horizons by taking part in social enterprise projects. Or, find out how a university society became home away from home for Lorenzo.

If you want to study abroad, head over to our website and find out more information on applying, student life and more!

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Alice Dunbar

Hi, I'm Alice and I'm one of the Senior Content Editors at INTO. I love how studying abroad brings different cultures and nationalities together, helping make the world a more exciting and compassionate place. In my spare time, I enjoy crafts, blogging, cooking, documentaries and singing along to musicals – loudly!

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