24 New Year’s Resolutions for Students

4 Jan, 2024 | University Preparation

The New Year is often considered a time to start afresh – setting new goals, forming new habits, and focusing on personal development. 

New Year’s resolutions are a powerful tool for personal and academic growth, encouraging careful introspection and motivation for positive change.

Students face a range of unique challenges, including social and academic pressures. Taking some time to reflect and form purposeful goals can help students find practical solutions and new ways to overcome these challenges.

What Are New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s common to use the New Year as an opportunity to reflect on the past twelve months, and to think about your goals for the upcoming year. New Year’s resolutions are promises you make to yourself to do something differently in the upcoming year. They’re usually focused on improving certain areas of your life. 

Of course, you can set new goals at any time, but the New Year is a unique opportunity to start with a blank slate. 

It’s also comforting to know that you’re joined by hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have also made New Year’s resolutions! 

How Do I Set New Year’s Resolutions?

It can seem quite intimidating to set a goal or make a change for the entire year, so it’s important to make sure you’re setting achievable and measurable resolutions. 

It’s common for people to start too big, setting an unrealistic or particularly challenging long-term goal, which makes it difficult to see much progress along the way. This makes it difficult to maintain resolutions, as it can seem like you’re doing an immense amount of work for little to no result. 

It’s important to approach New Year’s resolutions with the right outlook – make sure you’re setting yourself up for success, rather than making the upcoming year seem intimidating! 

We’ve put together some tips to help you set achievable resolutions.

Tips for successful resolutions

1. Avoid setting just one big goal you hope to achieve. While it can be really helpful to think about where you want to be by the end of the year, try to break that down into smaller, more manageable goals. This ensures you have a realistic path to achieving your big goal, and allows you to see all the progress you make throughout the year.

2. Prioritise your resolutions based on personal values and aspirations. It’s likely you’re going to have multiple goals for the upcoming year, but making too many New Year’s resolutions at once can be overwhelming. Putting these in priority order ensures you’ll be able to focus on the ones most important to you first.

3. Set SMART goals. This stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Make sure you know exactly what your New Year’s resolution involves, and you have a way of measuring your progress. Your resolution should also be realistic, with a clear end-point.

4. Create a visual representation of your goals to boost motivation. Some people find it helpful to make vision boards to visually display everything they want for the upcoming year.

5. Establish a support system of people close to you who you can share your progress with. This is a great way to keep you accountable!

A notebook open to a page logging habits

Building habits for sustainable change

New Year’s resolutions often include forming a new habit to support your new goals. 

Forming new habits can be quite intimidating, so it’s best to start with small, purposeful and consistent actions. It’s also worth considering how your resolutions fit with your existing habits to help you integrate the two successfully. 

As always, it’s important to make sure you can see your progress. Find a way to track how you’re doing regularly, such as with a habit tracker, to help you stay motivated, and make sure you’re celebrating all the small victories along the way.

24 New Year’s Resolutions for Students

Coming up with a New Year’s resolution can be just as hard as enforcing it in our everyday lives, so here are some of our favourite suggestions tailored to high school students:

1. Focus on your studies

Naturally, one area of focus for many students is their academic studies. If you’re looking to set a New Year’s resolution in this area, make sure you’re setting specific goals to improve your grades or expand your subject knowledge. 

Try to form a new habit to support these improvements, such as developing a structured study routine. Remember you’re not in it alone, so be sure to seek assistance if you face any academic challenges!

Three students working on laptops and in notebooks

2. Practise time management

This is a New Year’s resolution that has both personal and academic value. You can make this actionable by creating a weekly schedule for your studies, extracurricular activities and leisure time. 

Take some time to learn how to prioritise tasks based on importance and deadlines, so that you can incorporate this in your day-to-day planning. It can be difficult to stay organised and keep on top of everything going on in our lives, but there are some really helpful digital apps to help you stay organised.

3. Embrace a healthy lifestyle

There are a few different aspects to maintaining a healthy lifestyle: exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and ensuring you get adequate sleep. Making exercise a part of your daily routine, planning meals and tracking sleep are all great habits that support a healthy lifestyle. 

While these habits focus on physical health, they’ll also improve your mental well-being, which in turn will have positive effects in your personal and academic lives. 

4. Read, read, read

Reading is an incredibly enriching activity, regardless of the genre you choose. 

Try setting a goal to read a certain number of books this year, or consider exploring different genres or authors to your usual go-tos. This will help you consider a range of perspectives, and expand your literary skills. 

You could also consider joining a book club or reading community! 

If you’re struggling to find something to read, you could start by finding reading relevant to your subject, which can be used to enhance your university applications.

5. Improve your communication

Being able to communicate effectively is an important skill for all areas of life. This New Year, commit to practising public speaking, or joining an online Debate course, to improve your verbal communication skills. 

You could also enhance your written communication skills through journalling or blogging. If you have someone who can provide feedback, this can be especially helpful in measuring your progress and in keeping you accountable. 

Why not enter our Essay Competition to show off the skills you develop!

6. Get creative

There’s more to life than academics, and taking time to focus on hobbies outside of academia can help ensure you maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

Consider making it a New Year’s resolution to engage in more artistic pursuits like drawing, creative writing or music – any new hobby that stimulates your creativity! Joining a group creative project, or starting your own, can be a great way to de-stress and have some fun outside of school.

7. Build new relationships

This year, you might like to make an effort to meet new people and expand your social circles. This will expose you to more perspectives and experiences, and help you gain a global understanding on a range of topics. 

Try being an active participant in any group activities or events to get the most out of them, and to cultivate empathy and understanding in your interpersonal relationships. 

Two students hugging

8. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, while also fostering a sense of personal fulfilment and providing an opportunity to meet new people. 

This could involve volunteering for a local community project or charity – just make sure you’re working for a cause that aligns with your personal values! 

It doesn’t have to be a time-consuming commitment either. You can choose a certain number of hours each week or month to dedicate to community service – as many or as few as you’d like – and then incorporate it into your routine.

9. Improve digital wellness

We all struggle with limiting our technology usage every now and then, especially as more and more tasks start to move online. Making it your New Year’s resolution to improve your digital habits can help you stay grounded and utilise technology in a healthy and productive way. 

This could involve establishing healthy screen time boundaries, learning about online safety and digital citizenship, and taking regular breaks from screens to engage in offline activities.

10. Learn financial literacy

Taking some time to learn the basics of budgeting and saving at an early age can help you handle your finances effectively in the future. 

Perhaps your New Year’s resolution could be to develop an understanding of the value of money and how to spend responsibly. There’s plenty of educational resources on financial literacy, so make sure to check these out!

11. Set personal development goals

Personal growth is a frequent New Year’s resolution, but remember it’s important to make sure your goals are SMART. Identify areas for personal growth and development that are relevant to you. 

For example, you might want to build resilience and develop a positive mindset. This could be enforced in your day-to-day life by embracing challenges as opportunities for learning, and documenting the results. 

12. Explore career interests

As a student, there can be some pressure to identify your future career early on. A helpful New Year’s resolution could be to research and explore a range of possible career paths and interests, to help you make informed decisions about your future. 

OxBright’s Career Test is a great place to start, and you might also find it helpful to seek out informational interviews or job-shadowing opportunities to learn more about different careers. 

Online internships are also a great option as you’ll not only get to explore a subject in depth, but also develop skills relevant to future careers.

13. Be environmentally responsible

With the intensifying climate crisis, this New Year’s resolution is more important than ever before. 

Committing to being environmentally responsible could involve reducing your personal carbon footprint, engaging in eco-friendly practices both at home and school, and participating in environmental conservation initiatives. 

14. Practise mindfulness and stress management

Stress is an incredibly common experience among students, so taking the time at the start of the year to consider how to better manage this stress can help make the upcoming year your most successful yet. 

Try incorporating mindfulness exercises or meditation into your daily routine, make your mental well-being a priority, and seek support if you need it.

Student reading by a peaceful canal

15. Develop your critical thinking skills

Critical thinking is a vital skill for improving your academic work and boosting future university and job applications. 

Try engaging in debates or critical thinking exercises, actively challenging your own assumptions, and purposefully exploring different perspectives and opinions. Consider how you can apply your newfound critical thinking skills in academic and real-world scenarios.

16. Learn a new skill or hobby

Taking on a new skill or hobby in the New Year can help enrich your life and make it feel more balanced. 

Identify a skill or hobby that you’re interested in and commit to learning it. Make use of online tutorials, classes or local workshops, and remember to track your progress and celebrate any milestones!

17. Nurture your emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is key to understanding your emotions as well as those of others, and making this your New Year’s resolution can improve your mental well-being and interpersonal relationships. 

This could involve reflecting on your emotions and practising self-awareness, developing empathy and understanding towards others, and learning to effectively communicate your emotions in personal relationships.

18. Set technology boundaries

As our world becomes more technologically-focused, it’s easy to spend more and more time online. Try establishing limits to social media usage, designating tech-free times during the day, and forming a balance between online and offline activities.

19. Set SMART goals

Just as setting SMART goals can help make your New Year’s resolution more effective, setting SMART goals throughout the year can also make it easier to reach new targets that come up. 

Reflect on your short-term and long-term goals, break down the tasks into manageable steps, and review and adjust your plans regularly. Making it a resolution to approach new targets with SMART goals can make every challenge seem more achievable throughout the year. 

20. Practise responsible social media use

Being responsible on social media is an important part of using technology. Perhaps you’d like to form a new habit where you evaluate your online interactions on a daily or weekly basis, or be extra mindful of your digital footprint before you post or comment online.

21. Cultivate global awareness

Make it your New Year’s resolution to stay informed about global issues and current events to cultivate your global awareness. Try engaging in discussions about cultural diversity, or participating in an international summer school or exchange programme, to learn more about different cultures and perspectives.

22. Build resilience

Resilience is all about being able to bounce back from challenges! This New Year, focus on developing strong coping strategies for adversity, practise seeking support from friends, family or professionals when needed, and learn from setbacks, using them as valuable opportunities for growth.

23. Cultivate a growth mindset

A growth mindset can help you face any challenge that comes your way. Try to embrace challenges as opportunities to learn, view failures as stepping stones to success, and focus on continuous improvement and development.

24. Foster a positive self-image

The way you view yourself is a key factor in how you’ll view the upcoming year and the progress you make, so having a positive self-image is vital for self-esteem and mental well-being. 

Make it a New Year’s resolution to practise self-compassion and positive self-talk, and celebrate all of your personal achievements and successes. Try to surround yourself with positive influences and role models to help you stay motivated! 

Student smiling confidently at the camera

Overall, choosing a New Year’s resolution that’s relevant to you, and forming actionable and measurable goals and habits, are key to making your resolutions effective. Take some time to reflect on your personal aspirations, and choose New Year’s resolutions that align with your goals. 

No matter what you choose to work on for your New Year’s resolution, remember to be kind to yourself and celebrate all the little successes throughout the year. 

All of us at OxBright wish you a wonderful New Year, filled with achievement, joy and self-discovery!


By Kylie Li

Kylie is reading Experimental Psychology student at Queen’s College, Oxford. She is most interested in developmental and cognitive psychology, and how these can be applied to the education system.

Ready to get a head start on your future?

Recommended articles

Which Career Is the Best Fit for Me?

Which Career Is the Best Fit for Me?

Choosing your career path is one of the first big steps you’ll take as a young adult, so it can often be a daunting prospect. However, the possibilities are endless, and as long as you base your choices on your personal preferences, passions and interests, your...

read more
How to Make a Study Schedule That Actually Works

How to Make a Study Schedule That Actually Works

Studying can sometimes feel like a daunting task, no matter how old you are or what level you’re studying at. You might be left thinking: How can I balance academics with my other commitments?  How do I stay consistent with a study schedule?  Is there a “good” or...

read more