A s 2015 is coming to an end, many of us will sit down and think about our experiences and the types of changes we would like to make for the upcoming new year. We think to ourselves 2016 is the year that we will do better, act better, and perform better. How do we make sure to keep our new year resolutions?

Pick a couple of resolutions

When you walk into your local gym for the first time in the new year, you will look around and see a lot more people than you are used to. Everyone, yes everyone is headed to the gym during the new year. Studies have shown that the number of people that visit a gym or purchase a gym membership in January is the highest in comparison to any other month of the year. But when you visit in February or March you notice the number of people coming to the gym is starting to decrease and the crowds are limited just to the people who regularly come in. This is the typical new year resolution predicament. Everyone commits to a healthier lifestyle in the new year but not everyone is able to continue with their resolution. The reason for this is that most people will come up with a long list of resolutions and it will be difficult to stay on top of all of the resolutions. A good way to avoid getting sucked into trying to keep up with too many resolutions is to pick a couple (2-3) and stick to those. Hold yourself accountable for those resolutions and ask someone around you to help you stay accountable.

Freshman

For a first year premed student now that the first semester is over, this is a great time to look back at your first semester grades and think about how you could have done better. Its possible that studying more, going to office hours, or more time with homework were reasons that held you back from doing well so improvement in one of these is a great resolution for the new year. I remember making the resolution of studying for my classes in the library right after I got done with a lecture because that would help me remember the information better.

If you did well during your first semester then congratulations! Something that would make an excellent resolution for you is to motivate yourself to think about getting more involved in extracurricular activities, research, or summer activities. This is the best time to start thinking about getting involved in even one activity but it is important to start getting involved. The earlier you start to get involved, the more time you will have to build on those activities.

Sophomore

Sophomore year is a weird year because it feels like you just started college and yet the phrase that must not be named (the MCAT) has started coming up here and there. A great new years resolution for you sophomores is to plan to start thinking about making sure you have enough extracurricular activities and if you do not then make a resolution to participate in more activities. If you have not started research yet and would like to this is a great time to start and can be part of your new years resolution. You could propose to look through available projects or topics that you may be interested in. There is always space for a premed student because the premed student will do the work that no one else wants to. But if you keep running out of options the best thing to do is tell a research group how interested you are specifically in their research and what you would bring to the table. This type of commitment and motivation will prove to your research group that you will be good on their team.

Junior

This is one of the hardest years during your undergraduate career. This is the time that you will most likely be taking a bunch of science courses and also have to think about when you are planning to take the MCAT. I decided to take the MCAT at the end of my third year so the second half of junior year was a difficult time. I was taking 3 science classes which all had labs included and then also doing research and studying for the MCAT. So for me, before the new year started, I decided to make a resolution of making sure to give myself some time each day. In order to hold myself accountable of letting myself take a break here and then, I had my roommate help me with making sure I did not overwork myself. I did not want to get burned out even before I took the MCAT.

Senior

You are at the point where you have interviewed and have either heard back from med schools or still have some interviews in the new year. For those of you who have heard back positive news, a great resolution for the new year is to try and enjoy your last semester in college as much as you can. Also if it is possible, enjoy your summer before you start med school. If there is something you really wanted to do that is time consuming then this summer is the best time to do it. You will have time during med school to take breaks (contrary to common belief) to do fun things here and there but you just won’t have time exactly when you want it or as long as you want it. So this is a good time to make a new year’s resolution to cross off some of those more difficult things on your bucket list.