With the start of the new year, many people are spending their time thinking about the parts of their lives or themselves that they are hoping to better in 2020. ‘Tis the season for resolutions! Losing 15 pounds, cutting carbs, hitting the gym everyday, and no more procrastinating!
If only it were so simple. Although it’s only mid-January, chances are, some of those goals have not panned out. And if by chance you are in the coveted 19% of people who actually stick to their New Year’s goals long term… congratulations! Know that your willpower is much higher than the average person. On the other hand,if you are in the 23% that gave up their resolutions in about a week, maybe start smaller, or just try something different. An interesting resolution that could be just as difficult as grinding it out at the gym is taking the initiative to change social habits. College puts a lot of pressure on finding yourself socially, and depending on who you are, this could be really easy for you, or on the challenging side.
Returning to second semester, maybe you feel that you spent a little too much time studying in your room or binged too many movies over the weekends instead of hanging out with friends. A resolution for you could be to work on balancing the introvert you generally are with your more extroverted side. Introverted people are generally characterized by being on the quieter side and more ready to spend an evening to focus on themselves rather than out with others. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, it may be useful to try pushing yourself to step out of your comfort zone.
Introverts are not antisocial and are not necessarily shy either. Introverts sometimes just need an extra shove in the direction of socializing. A common tip for people who feel they are too introverted is to plan social-outings ahead of time. If you fit it into your schedule, you have no excuses! Practice saying yes to invites! Challenge yourself to attend what you can, and give yourself a time frame. If you aren’t having a good time within an hour, then give yourself a night off. Whether the answer for you to be getting involved in a club sports team, or an organization on campus you have always had an interest in, join things that will make you want to attend them.
Be open-minded when pursuing a new interest or joining a new group; people tend to draw back into themselves when approaching situations with a negative attitude. Learn from others. If one of your friends is super outgoing and seems to always be making friends, try to implement some of their tactics into your own social behavior. Sometimes coming out of your comfort zone comes down to playing the part.
It won’t be comfortable right away, you might feel like you have to try extra hard to seem confident, but take it day by day, until one day it won’t feel like an act at all but come naturally. Like most things in this world, socializing takes practice! If you are nervous about keeping conversation going with people you don’t know, a good way to prevent this is by staying up-to-date on current events. Remembering names and smiling is also a good way to make yourself seem approachable. Even where you stand in a room can change how you feel in a social setting, if generally you like to stay closer to the wall or corner, challenge yourself to hang out in the middle of a room where there will be more instances for you to talk to and meet people. Alternatively, If you identify as an extrovert and a night in drives you crazy, you might be noticing you could use a few nights for yourself during this semester. It is scientifically proven that alone time for self-reflection or just a mellow evening of relaxing and thinking is helpful for your mental health. New patterns you might want to implement into your time include journaling a couple of times a week. By setting aside t10 minutes or so to write what comes to mind, you will be more in touch and aware with how your inner-self is doing. Similarly, engaging in individually creative practices in good for you. Write a story, read a book, paint or listen to music by yourself.Enjoying solitary tasks refines patience, relieves stress and brings you a sense of satisfaction. Extroverts can sometimes be unaware of how run-down they are because they are constantly moving or accomplishing something. Plan your time accordingly and don’t forget to ask yourself if you actually have enough hours in the day to see three different groups of friends, go to soccer practice, study for your test in two days and still retain a calm mindset. If keeping up with your extroverted tendencies is tiring you out and making you feel out of control, you may need more balance and alone time.
The start of the new year is a perfect time to try to find balance. Strive to better yourself mentally, socially and physically too! Try to push yourself out of your comfort zone and find happiness in new places. Whether it be taking more time for yourself or practicing spreading your social butterfly wings, it all begins with the decision to try something new. Here’s to resolutions that we accomplish!