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New academic year, new me: how to come up with and keep your study resolutions

Date:30 August 2023
Happy Hylke standing before the Academic Building knowing that she will have a successful academic year due to her study resolutions!
Happy Hylke standing before the Academic Building knowing that she will have a successful academic year due to her study resolutions!

The start of the new academic year is almost here! This is the perfect time to think about what you want to achieve or do differently in the coming year. In order to give you some inspiration, Hylke has listed some of her resolutions of the previous years. She also gives some tips on how to keep them so you can have your best academic year yet!

How to come up with resolutions?

Sometimes, coming up with academic resolutions can be hard because you don’t want them to  be too broad or unattainable, or you don’t have any inspiration. To get started, I would suggest you think about your goals in the long run - what are small things you can do to get a step closer to achieving them? - and things that went wrong last academic year that you’d like to do differently. Based on your answers and thoughts, you can come up with some resolutions.

These are some of the resolutions I have come up with in the previous years that might give you some inspiration:

Hand in all your assignments on time

Once I experienced the satisfaction of handing in assignments on time, or even way before the deadline, I knew I wanted to try to do it more often. Hence this resolution. Over the years, I kept myself accountable and, now, after some trial and error, I hand in all my assignments a few days before the deadline, which has made my life so much easier! 

If you find this resolution too broad, or unattainable still, you could also come up with something like ‘start working on assignments two weeks in advance' (even if that’s just brainstorming about a topic or searching for sources), which will help you finish your assignments on time.

Try to talk during class

This is a good one if you’re shy like me and don’t like answering questions or talking in general in class. To get out of your comfort zone you could try to answer questions voluntarily! Slowly but surely, public speaking might be getting less scary as well.

Keep track of your class preparations

This is a nice resolution to keep in mind if you’re chaotic or just always behind on class preparations and would like not to be. Preparing everything beforehand will help you to know what will be discussed in class, understand the given information better and will have you prepared for potential unexpected questions.

Find a balance between work, life and study

Sometimes you can get so lost in your academic work that you work, work, and work and don’t see your friends or do fun things for some time, which is quite unhealthy and draining. At least, in my experience. That’s why it’s useful to create a healthy balance between study, work and (social) life so that you’re happy and have the energy to strive for (academic) success!

And how to keep them?

Now that you’ve thought of some resolutions, here are some tips on how to keep them because that’s the hardest part! ;)

#1 Be realistic

I already briefly touched upon this, but coming up with realistic resolutions is key in keeping them. If they're too broad, you’re more likely to fail in fulfilling them. For instance, if you want to attend all lectures of the block but you’ve never really done that, then this might be too big of a step. Rather, come up with a resolution like: ‘I will attend at least 4 lectures’. This is more specific and therefore you’re more tempted to keep it.

#2 Limit your resolutions

Another useful thing that will help you keep your resolutions is to limit the amount of resolutions you want to keep. One or two resolutions is perfect, maybe three. Otherwise it will become too much and you can’t keep up.

#3 Create an action plan

Creating an action plan is always a good idea, especially if you have a resolution like wanting to get a certain grade for a specific course. In order to keep your resolution it’s handy to write down the steps you have to take in order to get there and to follow these steps. Other resolutions also require some planning, such as the one about wanting to attend 4 lectures. Actually plan out in which weeks you’ll attend the lectures so that you’re more likely to succeed. 

#4 Talk about it

Talking about your resolutions also helps because your family and friends can hold you accountable if you’re slacking. They can also support you when things get hard. You might even find that you’ve the same resolution as someone else and you can motivate each other!

#5 Reward yourself

In order to keep yourself motivated, you can reward yourself throughout the year. For example, after each assignment you handed in on time, you could treat yourself to a nice coffee at your favourite café. Or, after having attended at least 4 lectures, you could buy yourself that jumper you’ve been eyeing up. Of course you are deserving of all these things regardless of having completed your resolutions, but having something to look forward to might help you to stay motivated and to keep your resolutions throughout the days and months. 

#6 Don’t beat yourself up

Last but not least, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t keep your resolutions all the time! It’s completely normal to, for instance, fail to hand in an assignment on time or to be too anxious to volunteer to answer a question. These things can happen. The most important thing is to forgive yourself and to try again!

Hopefully this blog has inspired you to make some academic resolutions this year. Let us know if you did and what they are in the comments below. Good luck with your studies!

About the author


Hiya! I’m Hylke, a Dutch MA English Literature student. People often ask me if I’m Frisian, but sadly I’m not; I just have a Frisian name. I love reading, writing, meeting with friends, and the colour yellow, so much so that I take pictures of every yellow wall I can find!


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