Making this year count: Lifestyle resolutions for a happy and healthy new year

Let’s face it: You’ve already broken the same, noble New Year’s resolutions that you make for yourself each year. You’ve spent money instead of saving it, gained weight instead of losing it, and spent more time binge-watching Scandal than volunteering (though, who could blame you?).

It’s just three weeks into 2017, and many of us have already broken our resolutions, are out of ideas for new ones, or are looking for a fresh one to begin. Though many Barnumbians are setting academic goals for themselves in the new semester, we here at Spectrum believe that setting small, daily social life goals for this coming semester can also yield great results.

We’ve thought of some easier alternatives to some of the most commonly made (and broken) Columbia New Year’s resolutions to ensure that this year is the best one yet (no promises about your grades, though).

Reduce your JJ’s consumption to three times a week

Though JJ’s has some healthy(ish) choices, the majority of options are cholesterol-raising comfort foods. While this is great for late-night studying fuel (or after a visit to 1020), for peak fitness ’n’ health, aim to consume JJ’s under three times a week. If you find this to be too difficult, you can sneak out some JJ’s snacks to munch on. We can’t all be perfect.


Get off campus more often

While the walk from Hamilton to Lerner may seem excessive to you, it’ll be good to try to make it below 110th street and above 125th street at least once a week (even if you really want to just hibernate through this winter’s cold).

It’s so easy to get caught in the MoHi bubble, but a little exploration helps put your stressors into perspective. Try Spectrum’s “Escape MoHi” series for movie-related fun all over Manhattan.


Do laundry at least every two weeks

Prove that you’re a functioning adult by doing your laundry before running out of underwear. Alternatively, Barnard women can make the resolution to use a CC or SEAS friend’s free laundry privileges. It’s the little victories in life.


If you’re feeling adventurous, actually wash your sheets

Ah, the true mark of adulthood. If you have successfully accomplished washing your clothes and towels, level up to washing your sheets. Though most doctors recommend washing your sheets once a week, we’re no M.D.s here at Spectrum—your superior immune system can probably last you double or triple that.


Make a friend who isn’t your age

This one may sound simple, but it’s so easy to get caught up in interacting just with people your own age. Try and branch out to those older and younger than you. Strike a conversation with the GS-er sitting next to you in statistics. Getting to know more people and expanding your social groups can make you happier in the cold and dark days of winter (and beyond).


Actually use your Fitbear/Group Fitness Pass

If you spent $50 or $175 of your already limited budget for access to these group fitness classes, resolve to attend a class or two every week. Print out the schedule, and highlight the different classes, then hang it somewhere in your room. This can either serve as a reminder of all the workouts that you’ve enjoyed or of all the workouts you’ve been avoiding.


Try to eat a piece of fresh produce every day

No, the green apple-flavored Jolly Ranchers your RA leaves outside their door don’t count. It’s easy to find yourself eating only processed foods on any given day (though who could blame you on John Jay’s Italian Night?). Despite the risk of me sounding like your mother: Try and sneak in some fresh produce every day. If anything, do it so you can put #healthguru in your Insta bio.

Pro tip: Don’t spend $8 on a bag of grapes at Westside. Food can just as easily be stolen borrowed from the dining halls.


Try to attend classes that don’t factor in attendance

When you are tempted to hit the snooze button again, think of how much in-person learning contributes to your knowledge (or how attractive your crush across the room is). If that doesn’t work, try thinking about how much tuition is. If that doesn’t get you out of bed, nothing will. If you do end up missing class (tsk tsk for shame), resolve to always get the notes from somebody who attended. What are friends for?


Join a new club

Even if it’s just for the free food that many club interest meetings offer, branch out of your comfort zone, and find new pals by joining a new club. Because Columbia and Barnard together offer hundreds of club options, do some research to find specific clubs you’re interested in. Browse your Facebook events, and reach out to different clubs to find out when the first meeting times may be.

If reporting, business, design, ~service journalism~, data analysis, product and web development, and much, much more strike your fancy (or if you want to join generations of incredible journalists, mentors, and community activists), Spectator is recruiting! Check out our event on Facebook and on our website.

Even if your first trial of New Year’s resolutions ended up in the trash, it’s not too late to begin again. Remember that you have the power to make 2017 a wonderful year, both on campus and beyond. Set goals to start this semester off on the right foot.

Tried one of our New Year’s resolutions? Have your own? Tell us about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum.

Mariella Evangelista is a Spectrum staff writer and a Barnard first-year. She has always kept her resolutions and believes she deserves some kind of award for that. Praise her at

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