Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Many of us are so caught up in work, activities and socialising at university that it is difficult to gain the perspective needed to assess how we are spending our time. However, the January break presents the perfect opportunity to reflect back on the past semester and re-evaluate our priorities. Indeed, breaking the routine of the Bubble could even make you realise that you want to make some changes, and this is where New Year’s resolutions come in. Although your 2016 resolutions might not have turned out the way that you hoped, now is the time to make some realistic aspirations to improve your 2017. If you are in need of a little inspiration, here are five alternative New Year’s resolution suggestions to get you started:

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

1) Take on a fitness event:

This year, instead of setting goals like going to the gym more or losing a certain amount of weight, make your aim event-focused. Training to complete a sporting event will give you a concrete purpose to work towards and will have the side effect of getting you closer to reaching any weight and fitness-related goals. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to sign up for a marathon, as there are a variety of events nationwide that cater to all fitness levels. The website www.ukfitnessevents.co.uk is helpful for finding suitable events, and has the listings for events in categories ranging from cycling to obstacle and mud runs. Alternatively, if you want to combine fundraising for a good cause with your event, check out the Macmillan Cancer Support Mighty Hike series or sign up to run a race for a charity.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

2) Improve your cooking skills:

Let’s be honest, life is too short to completely cut out the foods you enjoy from your diet. Moreover, many of us are guilty of making radical promises about not eating chocolate or chips that last a couple of days into January and do nothing but leave us feeling guilty. So if you want to make a food-related resolution this year, focus on improving your cooking skills. One way to find inspiration is through the recipes tab on the Spoon University website. This website is designed for university students and has become the hub for a whole host of foodie activity. On the website you can find simple recipes, articles and information about the restaurants at different university campuses around the world. There is even a University of St Andrews page so you can see the contributions that have been put up by fellow students. However, if you want a bit more guidance the Fine Food and Dining Society offers classes that focus on a different type of cuisine each week.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

3) Document your life through writing:

Although Facebook and Instagram are great ways to document and share pictures of what you are doing, there is something special about taking time out to write about your life. One nice way of doing this is by writing a letter to somebody that you haven’t seen for a while, maybe an old school friend or family member who lives far away. You could aim to write someone a letter every month, which will have the added bonus of encouraging you to make the time to stay in touch with your friends and family. Another way to incorporate handwriting into your day is to write a journal. You don’t have to write emotional entries spilling your innermost secrets (but if you, do make sure to buy one with a decent padlock). Instead, write a couple of bullet points every day to help you remember what you did that day and allow you to look back and see what you were doing on this date a couple of years ago.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

4) Make a personal volunteering pledge:

This is a simple as deciding the amount of hours that you would like to spend volunteering for a certain charity, writing it down and sticking to it. The best way to do this is to think about how many hours you could pledge on a monthly basis. This allows you to do less on particularly busy weeks, for example when you have deadlines, and make up your time elsewhere. This is a very rewarding resolution as tallying up the total of hours will give you a sense of purpose and help you to feel like you have really achieved something by the end of the year. There are several different charity shops in St Andrews that you could approach to see if they are in need of volunteers, including ones which fundraise for Cancer Research UK, Oxfam, British Heart Foundation and Barnardo’s. However, if volunteering in a charity shop isn’t for you, there are many other volunteering opportunities in and around St Andrews. Visit the websites of Fife Voluntary Action and SVS for more information.

Photo: Elliot Davies
Photo: Elliot Davies

5) Explore St Andrews:

Travelling is one of those common New Year’s resolutions that is easily broken, usually because of a lack of money or time. However, this need not be the case. Visiting different locations in and around St Andrews is a great way to fulfill your wanderlust, without forking out lots of money or travelling for hours to reach your destination. With regards to exploring St Andrews itself, many students have never visited Balgove Larder Steak Barn, which is a bit of a walk from the restaurants on the main three streets, or climbed up to the top of St Rules’ Tower. Alternatively, if you fancy doing a bit of exploring on foot there is also the beautiful Fife Coastal path, which passes through St Andrews, and stretches for 117 miles from the Firth of Forth in the south, to the Firth of Tay in the north. For more information about the route you can visit the Fife Coastal Path website. And if you really want to escape the Bubble for the day and ‘Explore Scotland’ then Dundee, Anstruther and Edinburgh are perfect locations for a day-trip.

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