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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Experts on campus give tips on how to stick to New Year’s resolutions

By Jessica Vangel

It’s 2018 and students are ready to keep the New Year’s tradition of making resolutions. Sticking to goals can be hard, but experts on campus have tips on how to help.

Many students said their resolutions have to do with working out, getting in shape and improving their  mental health.

Ron Arnold, a fitness coordinator at Wade King Student Recreation Center, has seen firsthand the effects of New Year’s resolutions on gym activity.

“Generally with any quarter, we have a big pickup of people when the first day comes around, but the new year will definitely bring in even more people,” Arnold said. “Of course, it will start to die down by late January and mid February, that happens every year.”

Students said repetition, support systems in friend groups and willpower would keep them afloat in their endeavors for the new year.

“I want to make sure I’m eating well each day, I want to start working out at the rec center and I’m also trying to quit smoking cigarettes,” freshman Graham Wallwork said.

Alec Grey, rec center personal trainer and fitness attendant, said setting realistic and small goals is the biggest thing in terms of healthy eating and exercise.

“Maybe make it so one month you cut out some sugar from your diet, the next month add something else,” Grey said. “A lot of people fail because they set such big goals and they expect huge results by the end of January.”

Arnold said making success out of goals has everything to do with enjoying whatever the goal is oriented around. He said for many people, working out and fitness is a chore.

“If you’re doing this simply for the weight loss, you are probably going to fail. Most people who succeed in keeping up with their goals keep them because they like dancing, or playing basketball, or being on the elliptical and watching a sitcom or whatever it may be for you,” Arnold said. 

Arnold and Grey both agreed that one of the best ways to keep fitness resolutions, or any resolutions, is to do them with someone.

“Making the goal to work out with a buddy holds you accountable, so you have to come even if you might not want to,” Grey said.

Arnold said he thinks saying any resolution out loud to your friends makes it more real because someone close to you is now aware and holding your goal accountable to you.

“I think a lot of people who maybe try to keep it a secret don’t tell people because they’re afraid of it falling through,” Arnold said. “Telling someone and having a buddy to work out with will definitely help you keep your fitness goals in place.”

The rec center is already prepaid for in student fees and students can also buy a $45 X-pass for unlimited fitness classes.

When asked about their New Year’s goals, many students listed fitness and physical health, but also included other resolutions.

Wallwork said his resolutions include budgeting his money, making healthier choices and focusing on getting his music out. 

He said he has a great support system with friends who are aware of his goals and are willing to keep him on track, when asked about how he plans to keep his resolutions.

Mental health is also a part of sophomore Charlotte Berkman’s resolution for the new year.

“My No. 1 New Year’s resolution is to find a hobby and invest a lot of time into it,” Berkman said. “I struggle with anxiety, and having a hobby helps you stay distracted and less stressed out. I’m taking up the Ukulele and started a YouTube channel.”

Berkman has fitness and academic goals as well.

“I also just want to focus really hard on studying and getting good grades, and going to the gym more as well as doing the classes offered at the rec center,” Berkman said.    

Sophomore Michael Kennedy said he would like to get better in shape, pet more dogs, and explore Bellingham more.

“I kinda learned last quarter that almost anything is possible with enough willpower,” Kennedy said.

Freshman Ben Peltier said his one and only resolution is to be more outgoing.

“Throughout my life I have had a lot of anxiety with meeting and talking to people, and I want to be able to get out there and make new friends,” Peltier said. 

Peltier said he would try to join clubs and get himself out of his room by doing something social everyday.

The Counseling Center is one resource for students who hope to improve their mental health.

Anne Marie Theiler, the assistant director of clinical operations at the Counseling Center, had some advice for students aiming for a mentally healthy 2018.

“I think something a lot of students don’t think about is moderation. Generally, when we think of that word, diets are what come to mind, but an important thing to moderate is actually screen time,” Theiler said. “Many students spend too much time in front of screens and have to because of being a student. But it’s very important to take some time to be present and spend time with people face to face.”

She said, similarly to Grey, that students will be more successful keeping small goals rather than diving straight into a larger than life resolution.

Theiler also emphasized the importance of sleep.

“There are many studies that say that sleep is vital to mental health. I know a lot of students might struggle with this, and it’s something to keep in mind for your mental health,” Theiler said.

Theiler said one of the biggest pieces of advice she has for students in relation to mental health is creating healthy coping mechanisms for stress.

“We offer coping classes regularly here in the Counseling Center that any student can find on our website, and I think that’s a really valuable skill to have as a student,” Theiler said.

The Counseling Center is located in Old Main 540 and is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Their phone number is 360-650-3164 and their website is https://counseling.wwu.edu 

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