The spring semester has begun. Rested students returning with hopes of high GPAs and thriving social lives fill the campus. Whether you are the type of person who makes resolutions and goals for the new year or not, everyone has a general hope for the outcome of 2018.

Maybe this is the year you finally keep organized with a detailed planner or reach your fitness goals. Maybe all you want to do is get more than four hours of sleep at night.

Whatever your resolution may be, as the frenzy of new classes sets in it is easy to lose sight of what you want to achieve. Don’t let university life force you to give up being the best version of you that you can be. This is News You Can Use with a guide to keeping New Year’s Resolutions.

HAVE A PLAN

The first step to successfully maintaining a New Year’s resolution is making sure your goal is not only possible but that you have a general, realistic plan for achieving it. Business students will be familiar with the SMART acronym, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Keeping your New-Year’s resolutions smart will help you establish a realistic plan of action. Having long-term stretch goals is good, but to see real results making small, attainable goals is necessary. “Focus on these small wins so you can make gradual progress,” said Charles Duhigg, the author of “The Power of Habit”.

It is also important to realize, people aren’t perfect and your journey to your resolution won’t be either. Plan for slip-ups, and allow yourself to make mistakes.

HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM

Individuals can make the mistake of thinking because they are the only one who can control their actions and reach personal goals, they don’t need help. When the school year starts to pick up the pace, however, we can be a little too forgiving on ourselves.

Finding an individual or even a community that is committed to achieving similar goals to you is a great way to stay motivated, receive positive reinforcement, and even create life-long friendships. Even if you don’t know anyone with the same New Year’s goals as you, tell someone you trust what you’re trying to accomplish and ask them to help keep you accountable. You’re more likely to succeed and be honest when someone you care about is checking up on your progress.

KEEP TRACK

Similar to having a trustworthy support system to keep you accountable through the year, documenting your own progress can help you keep your resolutions strong. Keeping a journal or log is a simple and inexpensive way to track your progress.

If you prefer a digital platform with more guidance, there are countless apps that are free and easy to use. Stride is one of the more well-known mobile apps, allowing you to either pick from a template or set up your own goal based, habit tracking log. Goals On Track is another web-based app that is founded on the idea of SMART goals and helps you break up a big goal into a smaller, less overwhelming plan of action.

Above all, make sure the goals you set are for yourself. If your resolution is based on what someone else, or society, is telling you are more likely to be unsuccessful. “Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time,” said psychologist Lynn Bufka to the American Psychological Association.

Emily Fisher can be reached at efisher@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.