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My New Year Resolution Essay Contest

The New Year is a great time to reflect on the changes we want to or need to make. If you’re a student looking at ways to improve yourself and make the transition to college easier, International College Counselors offers a few more resolutions you might want to add to your list.

1. Stop procrastinating. How often have you underestimated how much time it will take to get something done? Then, how sad are you when you don’t have the time to do your best. At some point, the procrastinator has to write four college essays in one night – on top of completing schoolwork. Usually, this doesn’t turn out so well. If you finish a project earlier than you thought you would, then consider yourself ahead.

2. Commit yourself to getting good grades. Good grades are entirely necessary to get into a good school unless you’re a top notch athlete. The best case scenario is that you have good grades from the beginning. However, if you start off badly and improve your grades, colleges will give you points for this. Many admissions officers won’t look at your application if your grades are too low or show a steady decline. Spending a night studying while your friends play Wii may not excite you, but you need to look at this long-term. Think of it this way, grades are a bridge. They will serve you to get into a college where you will have more freedom. In college, grades may not be as important as in high school.

3. Don’t do it all. It’s better to concentrate on a few things and excel in them than if you join every sport, activity and club that you can cram into your schedule. Anyone can join 10 clubs and be marginally involved in them all. Schools are looking for commitment that shows you’re willing to stick with something and make the most of it.

4. Keep a calendar. Deadlines creep up quickly. And the closer the date, the more you’ll feel the pressure. Most students don’t do their best under pressure. And colleges, scholarships, federal aid, and standardized testing services are not going to be sympathetic to any excuses you have about missing a deadline. If you miss a deadline, you miss an opportunity.

5. Take standardized tests early. You won’t know how high you can score until you take the test. Wait too long and you won’t have enough time to retake it. And many things can affect your test score on any given day, including the state of your health, and you can’t plan not to get the flu or food poisoning. Taking the test early will also allow time to take a test prep course if necessary.

6. Do your research. Know what the choices are when it comes to colleges. This way you can avoid any coulda, shoulda, woulda regrets later in life. Research could be as simple as visiting a school’s website.

7. Try something new. High school is a great time to spread your wings. It’s about new experiences and self-discovery. Want a certain internship, there’s no harm in calling up and asking if they have any room for an eager high school student to work there. Want to try a new sport or activity, go ahead and try it. You’re not expected to leave high school knowing exactly what you want to do, but this is a chance to start narrowing down your interests. You’ll never know what you like – or how good you are at something – until you try something.

8. Be excited about going to college. Wherever you go to college, you’re going to meet new people, learn new things, and have a great time. That’s reason enough to be excited whether you end up attending a first choice school or a safety.

9. Do what your college counselor tells you. Students: We at International College Counselors are here to get you what you want out of life.

10. Banish the self-doubt. Doubting your own abilities only holds you back from achieving what you want to achieve. Just say no to these thoughts and others like them:

“I can’t do this.”
“I’m not as smart as my classmates.”
“I’ll never get better than a 2.7 grade-point average.”
“I’ll only get into a community college anyway”
“There’s no point in thinking I’ll get into my first choice college.”

HAPPY 2011!

A New Year is the perfect chance for a fresh start; a new beginning. It’s an opportunity to refocus on aspects within life that need may need a little extra attention.

However, what started as a tradition to improve one’s happiness, health and well-being seems to have taken a turn into the shallow pool.

In this modern day, resolutions seem to focus more around weight loss diets and related goals than goals related to happier and healthier living, both inside and out. Sure, everyone knows that true happiness comes from within – but taking certain measures leading to a happier life can help you become a happier person.

It does not happen overnight – that’s a fact that many people often like to ignore or forget – which is why the majority of New Year’s resolutions fail. But, they don’t have to!

Take on resolutions that are realistically attainable. What does that mean? Truthfully, only you are the judge of whether goals are or are not realistic for yourself – you just have to be honest. If you are honest with yourself (really, truly and, sometimes, necessarily brutally honest) you can and will achieve the goals you set out to accomplish.

Once you begin to achieve your goals and you will – because you’re setting yourself up for success, rather than failure, from the start.

This year, instead of feeling badly that you failed at achieving your resolutions yet again – look at this year as the opportunity to improve your life, clear out the cobwebs and rid your life of any negativity holding you back.

Resolutions following these guidelines will actually start to make you feel happier, healthier and, unbelievably, life will seem sunnier even on the gloomiest of days.

Still skeptical? If your current resolution strategies haven’t been successful in the past, perhaps a new strategy is worth a shot. Why not peek at some of the suggestions below to see if any strike your fancy?

Check out the following five New Year’s resolution suggestions to help you have a happier year:

Resolution 1. Perform one random act of kindness a day.
Let’s just say it: random acts of kindness happen less frequently than they should. When it comes to regular common courtesy, it’s no longer regular nor common in our society. People’s eyes are constantly glued to their phones and their wrapped up within their own lives and, truthfully, we are all to blame.

Here’s where the resolution comes in. Whether it’s offering a compliment to someone you’ve never met before or offering the person behind you in line at the grocery store with two items to go ahead of you because you have a full cart – these are all simple acts that can turn a person’s day around in an instant.

How it will improve your life (a.k.a. What’s in it for me?): The surprised-grateful look on the kindness recipient’s face (and, often, the observers of the act of kindness) are well worth the mere moments it takes to make their day. Plus, you’re putting positivity back into the world. Those people are more willing to go out and put forth kindness to others, too.

Resolution 2. Take stock of your current friendships.
Friends serve different purposes and it’s important to know which friends bring value and positivity into your life. Those are friends you can trust, confide in and count on when times are tough – the friends you should value for years to come.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t have all different types of friends, however, recognizing the different types is important. The friends that you can count on should be especially valued and, most importantly, treated with the same kindness, respect and love as they give you. Otherwise, they’re not going to stick around very long and those friends are tough to come by.

How it will improve your life (a.k.a. What’s in it for me?): Once you recognize which friendships bring positivity into your life, you can start to build deeper friendships with those people. You can also begin to recognize what it is about those friendships that improves your life and look for similar qualities when making new friendships.

Resolution 3. Do something you enjoy every day.
All too often, life becomes a daily routine of school, work and over-scheduled tasks. It’s important to take time out for tasks you enjoy so that you remember to actually have some pleasure in your days, too.

How it will improve your life (a.k.a. What’s in it for me?): It goes without saying that you’ll be a much happier person if you make time to do things that make you happier. That’s just pure logic.

Resolution 4. Drink more water.
Water has countless health benefits. Seriously, can you think of anything else so basic that has as many internal and external health benefits to your body? Your body is made of 60 percent water, so it will function much better if it’s hydrated properly. So, naturally, you’ll feel better if your body is functioning as it should. Drinking the proper amount of water also helps energize your muscles, can help to promote weight loss, hydrates skin and removes the toxins from the body.

How Much Water Should You Drink Daily? According to U.S. News & World Report, “the basic equation for determining this is by dividing your body weight in half. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, you would need 100 ounces of water per day if you’re not doing anything strenuous. If you’re working out, hiking, at a high altitude or outdoors a great deal, you’re going to need to add to those 100 ounces.”

How it will improve your life (a.k.a. What’s in it for me?): Consuming more water helps you feel better and look better – why wouldn’t you want either of those things? Oh, and your restaurant bills will be a litter be less expensive because water is free!

Resolution 5. Become a better listener.
Phone addicts, wandering eyes, interrupters, unite: we’re talking to you.

Divert your eyes from that app, from social media, from whatever it is that’s not-so-important but has your eye, over the person speaking to you. The harsh trust is that it’s making the person you’re with feel like they do not deserve your undivided attention. Because, even though you might not realize or intend it, that is the message you’re sending.

This year, try to make an effort to improve this habit – especially because it’s a habit you probably didn’t even know you had.

How it will improve your life (a.k.a. What’s in it for me?): The people in your life will value the steps you’ve taken to be there for them and, in turn, will be there for you as well. Your relationships will strengthen when you take these steps towards better communication and respect, which all parties will find beneficial. Try one – or all – of these suggestions for a happier year in 2015. Let us know how it works out!



Do you have any New Year’s Resolution suggestions for a happier 2015?

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