A Positive Outlook for 2016

Every new year offers a wealth of new opportunities for everyone. It’s a chance for personal reinvention – a chance for self-discovery and exploration. It is during this time of the year where the saying: “Carpe Diem” (Seize the Day) rings loud and true for us all. While we take the time to reflect on the previous year – the highs and the lows, the successes and the failures – we begin to stipulate how we can learn from the previous year and take all that we’ve learned to better ourselves in the new year. Already being a few days in to 2016, some of us are either on the path to self-improvement or still trying to figure out what that path looks like. Whether it’s the first day of the year of the last, there is no right person to be. It’s okay to be the person just figuring things out just as much as it’s okay to be the person who has figured things out already. As long as you’re moving forward and investing in yourself, you’ll be okay.

The new year offers many opportunities to accomplish self-discovery. You can try something new like water-skiing or enrolling in a course or adopting a pet. You can continue to do things you enjoy and are passionate about, like write or take long walks early in the morning or take pictures more often. Perhaps you want to challenge yourself and do something that is completely out of your comfort zone, like learn a new sport or perform on a stage or travel to a new country. Seize the day – seize the new year. Allow yourself to do what you love and what is familiar, while also allowing yourself to try new things that challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone.

While we set these goals for self-betterment in the beginning of the new year, we have the idea in mind that by the end of the year, we’d have already achieved what we set out to do in the beginning of the year. In our heads, by December 31, 2016, we have already become who we set out to be in January 1, 2016. If this was a perfect world, this is what would happen for all of us. Unfortunately, we are all flawed and we live in a flawed world. So it’s okay to not have things completely figured out by the end of the year. It’s even okay to still be figuring things out at the end of the year. There is no set time line to develop a Bette sense of self (and if you want my opinion, 12 months is not enough time). So don’t be so hard on yourself if you didn’t manage to go to the gym 5 times a week like you promised yourself, don’t be so hard on yourself if you still manage to procrastinate a little bit throughout the year – mistakes are a crucial part of this journey to self discovery. As human beings, we are entitled to slip up from time to time and that’s okay. As long as you continue to pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, and move forward, you’ll be okay. You never want to aim for perfection – you want to aim for growth.

Growth is vital when a new year starts. The only thing you don’t want to be doing for the new year is restricting your growth. You don’t want to be exactly where you were in 2015 – making the same exact mistakes and never learning from them, doing the exact same things and never learning anything or doing anything new. All these things limit your growth and as the years go by, neither you nor I get any younger. We owe it to ourselves to nurture our growth each year and make sure that this year, and the many years after, are used to develop yourself in as many ways possible.

Looking ahead into 2016, we have the world at our feet. We are free to do whatever we wish. Just make sure we use this free will and the promise of 2016 to make a positive mark on this world for you and for others.

2015 was a remarkable year for us all. Let’s make 2016 even more remarkable.

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3 New Year’s Resolutions for Ryerson Students

It’s that exciting time of the year… the official last day of 2015! Tomorrow, not only do we welcome a new day, but a new year – the first day of 2016! 2015 has been such a big year for so many of us, and with the near year staring us straight square in the face, we look forward to making 2016 even better than 2015.

During this time of the year is when the infamous “New Year’s Resolutions” begin to be concocted. These New Year’s Resolutions are meant to outline our goals for the upcoming year, with the intent to stick by them no matter what. These resolutions are generally goals towards self-improvement. Some popular ones are include:

“Get healthier.”
“Save more money.”
“Stop procrastinating.”
“Cut down on coffee.”
“Sleep earlier.”

While the above-mentioned resolutions are wonderful resolutions, they are typically difficult to maintain unless you have discipline made of steel. Many of us are mere humans who make mistakes here and there that veer us off-track from our resolutions, and we find ourselves just neglecting and forgetting them altogether. In my opinion, New Year’s Resolutions should be two things: Specific and Realistic. They should be specific enough to fit your personal goals and aspirations, and it helps to really narrow your focus on what you can do to really achieve these goals. They should be realistic enough so that you’re not asking too much of yourself and you won’t be overly-stressed out or feel overly-pressured if unable to achieve them.

Therefore, with these criteria in mind, I have created for you a list of New Year’s Resolutions that hopefully resonate with you more and you are able to hopefully stick to in 2016:

3 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR RYERSON STUDENTS

1. DO NOT BE SO TRUSTING OF THE TTC OR GO TRANSIT
Think you can wake up at 7:00am because it only takes you 15 minutes to get ready, takes you 10 minutes to get to the station, and the train/subway/bus comes at exactly 7:30am every morning? Think again. If you’re a first year student who is still learning the ropes when it comes to commuting, and you currently have this mentality, you’re in for a rude awakening. The TTC or GO TRANSIT, although extremely helpful and necessary, have a knack for being quite unreliable when it comes to being on time. Don’t assume that you will have a smooth commute, free of delays or late arrivals each day. Do yourself a favour and wake up earlier in order to arrive at your station earlier so you don’t miss that 8am exam worth 40% of your grade. It may suck but you know what else sucks? Missing an 8am exam worth 40% of your grade because your subway was experiencing delays.

2. TRY TO AVOID THE TEMPTATION OF THE EATON CENTRE ASKING YOU TO BLOW YOUR MONEY THERE RATHER THAN GO TO CLASS
Going to school in Downtown Toronto is all kinds of fantastic – and also forces you to face all kinds of temptation. That being said, Ryerson University’s prime location gives you access to absolutely everything, including one of Canada’s largest and most popular malls, The Eaton Centre. There’s nothing more tempting than it finally being pay day, but you’ve got a class that day, and walking past Eaton Centre with “SALE” signs on the window. This kind of excitement is enough to get your blood pumping. But if you knew what was good for you, you’d repeat this mantra: “You don’t need another Roots sweater. You do need to pass this class. You don’t need another Roots sweater. You do need to pass this class. You don’t need another Roots sweater. You do need to pass this class.

3. GET OFF YOUR PHONE WHEN YOU’RE WALKING DOWN YONGE ST, YONGE & DUNDAS SQ – OR ANY STREET FOR THAT MATTER
It’s 2016 and communication and human interaction is at it’s highest. Unfortunately, the form of communication that 99.9% of the population resorts to nowadays any form that our cellphones allow us – SMS, iMessage, WhatsApp, etc. It’s hard not to have our phones in our hands, heads down, eyes on the screen, and responding to everyone and everything 24/7. When you’re a Ryerson student, this is especially difficult when you’re trying to get to class and having to weave through the hundreds and thousands of people in Downtown Toronto each day. You’re risk for running into things is already increased by going to school in Canada’s major city alone – you’re only increasing your own risk by texting while walking. Do yourself and others around you a favour – wait until you get to the SLC to reply to that text or check that email. Keep your head up when you’re crossing the Yonge & Dundas Sq intersection. Let’s start a new campaign this 2016: Ryerson Students Against Text-Walking. Let’s make it happen, people.

With that being said, I’m sure you can think of tons more. I sincerely hope you’ll take these three into consideration when coming up with your own New Year’s resolutions. Let us know how you get on throughout the year. If you stick to them and achieve your resolutions – fantastic! You’re on the road to success. If you slip up a little bit and veer off track – it’s never too late to get back on track! You, too, are on the road to success.

Most of all, I hope you have a wonderful 2016 filled with health, happiness, success, and love. Stay safe this New Year’s Eve and enjoy yourselves!

Happy New Year and let’s make 2016 a great one!

Getting SMART with New Year’s Resolutions

Have you rung in the New Year with a resolution? Did you pledge to eat healthier or exercise more? You are definitely not alone. Resolutions to be healthier are very popular, but often don’t last long into the New Year.

A great way to increase your chances of success is by setting SMART goals. The acronym SMART stands for specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic and time framed.  An example of a goal that is not SMART is, “I will exercise more this year.” A SMARTer goal would be, “I will go for a brisk 30 minute walk 3 days per week. With this goal, you can see that it is specific, measurable (you can determined if you have exercised those 3 days for 30 minutes or not), action oriented, realistic (you can pick a goal that is right for you) and time framed. With a little support, motivation and some SMART goals, you might surprise yourself.

Make this year the “year of success!” – freedigitalphotos.net

Another tool that could help increase your chances of success is a visual reminder. There are many apps available that will help you with goal setting. Some apps will let you input your goals and record how many times you have reached those goals. Over time, you can track how well you are doing.

A less technical way to track your goals is by using a calendar or agenda. If we use the goal to walk briskly  for 30 minutes 3 times a week, you can put a little star on your calendar when you went for the walk.  At the end of the week, you can give yourself a little reward. This could be treating yourself to a latte, getting a song on iTunes or whatever treat that will keep you motivated.

If you need even more encouragement and support, help is not far away. eatracker is a free online tool that can help you with your goals. When you sign up, you can choose from a list of readymade SMART goals or create one yourself. The best part is that you can get extra motivation from the dietitians at EatRight Ontario. You can sign up to receive weekly tips and advice (written by the dietitians at EatRight Ontario) to keep you on track with your goals.

If you are stuck, you can even call the EatRight Ontario dietitians at 1-877-510-510-2 and they will support you and give you the help you need.

The New Year is always a great time to reevaluate our priorities and make changes for the better. But before your motivation fizzles out, consider eaTracker and EatRight Ontario as your partners. Make this year the “year of success!”

New Year’s Unique Resolutions

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? If you answered yes, have you broken any yet? According to an article in the Toronto Star, in 2011, 52% of individuals who made resolutions broke them within a month and only 19% kept them for one year.1

Also, were your resolutions different and innovative or had you used them a previous year? Did your list contain some of the same old typical items like lose weight, exercise more, or save more money? The same article revealed that the top 10 New Year’s resolutions were:

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Stop smoking
  3. Stick to a budget
  4. Save more money
  5. Find a better job
  6. Become more organized
  7. Exercise more
  8. Be more patient at work/with others
  9. Eat Better
  10. Become a better person

Now to me this list seems boring. Also, with the high probability of not sticking to your resolutions, why not add more zest and include a few creative ones that only require your efforts occasionally, one or two times, or maybe even once each season. Here at 10 unique ones you can use to complement your list:

  1. Donate blood
  2. Next time you are at a drive thru, pay for the meal of the car behind you and give the cashier a “Pay it Forward” card to pass on to start a chain reaction
  3. Try a new recipe
  4. Turn your cell phone off for one whole day!
  5. Watch a foreign film
  6. Write a short story or poem
  7. Learn all the lyrics to a song you like and sing the whole thing in the shower
  8. Have coffee with one of the many friends that you often tell “we should get together for coffee sometime”
  9. Tell the manager of a restaurant how great your waiter/waitress was to brighten someone else’s day
  10.  Attend a seminar/conference/workshop on a topic that interests you

Try a few of these out. They are all geared toward supporting your personal growth and development. In addition, none of these require a major commitment from you.

Furthermore, some extra advice to help you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions.

Write it down: Put them on paper, and place them somewhere visible like on your fridge or bathroom mirror, which will make them concrete and less likely that you will forget about them.

Keep it small and simple: Make your resolutions realistic and small by not excluding ones that require a big purchase or a complete daily routine overhaul. Smaller simpler changes are much easier to keep.

Plan: Prepare the day before by setting the intention, time, and location of the resolution you are going to do the next day.

Make it public: Tell your resolutions to your friends and family or post them on Facebook, Twitter, or send an email to your close friends. Sometimes telling others gives you an extra push to follow through on your goals and makes you accountable

Keep trying: Lastly, do not quit! If you end up not following through, do not give up and try another attempt.

Make your most unique New Year’s Resolution to be following through and completing your list by the end of the year!! Happy 2013 Everyone!!