Advice: Ask Natalie on keeping your New Year’s resolutions

"Happy New Year! Any advice on keeping New Year's resolutions?"

Like most things in life, New Year's resolutions differ for everyone, as do the methods to stay on track. Whether it's going to the gym, drinking less, studying more (or at all) or finding your passion, New Year's resolutions are hard to keep.

Personally, I like a stern poster on my door. Every time I walk out of my room I'm reminded about eating healthy or not adopting all the cats I can.

I also like reward stickers for agendas or calendars. I like visual representations of my goals.

Other methods include matching a positive resolution with a more negative one. Match your "study more" resolution with your "bake more cookies" resolution. Pairing your goals together can keep you on track for both.

Look into groups around campus that can keep you on track. Different fun-run groups meet regularly if getting in shape is your resolution. If becoming more social is your goal for the new year, look into clubs on campus again. Some have lower membership fees for the second term.

You should also make sure your resolutions are actually within reach. You're not going to be able to do 100 push ups in under a minute when you start going to the gym, but maybe you can do 10. Maybe in a month you can do 30.

Make sure you don't get discouraged if you don't always remember or reach your goal. Thats why most people give up on their resolutions. You won't always keep your resolutions but that doesn't make your ability to reach it is lessened.

Of course I am always here to encourage you because you are the best and you can do that thing you want to do this year. YOU CAN DO IT! Happy New Year's -- and you got this!

"Dear Natalie,

I hope your winter break was better than mine. I got dumped, drunk and cried after the ball dropped. How do I make this year less terrible than 2014?


Sad and Lonely"

Dear Sad and Lonely,

I'm sorry your year ended on such a bad note. Just remember that the New Year is a time to put a new foot forward. And that new foot is a step out of the pain and unhappiness that was 2014 and taking you into the new and undiscovered territory of 2015.

While it may sound corny and unhelpful, remember that you make your own happiness.

Use this new year to decide how your year is going to be. Surround yourself with happy friends and understanding gal-pals. Surround yourself with positive feelings. Tell yourself everyday that you are worth the best.

Take some time to focus on you. Revamp your studies, interests, look, anything! But remember who you are.

Use this time to explore things you wanted to before. Look into exciting things like hiking, painting or (in honour of winter) skiing. Lynn Canyon on the North Shore offers beautiful, free, easy hiking. It has enough really big trees to make nature-lovers swoon.

Whatever you do, don't just lay in your bed thinking about how much 2014 was the worst. Get out there and think about how great 2015 will be.

Also know that depression is a serious issue and you should seek help if you need it. There is no shame getting help. Look into UBC Counselling Services which offers free, confidential counselling for UBC students.