New Year’s resolutions give everyone an opportunity for a fresh start — including college students. The thought of bettering yourself sounds exciting, but the hard truth is that only 8 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them.

The key is to set realistic goals that will prevent you from falling into a vicious cycle of failed resolutions. Let’s take a look at four practical resolutions you can make in order to avoid feeling like a failure two weeks into the new year.

Stop Being a Perfectionist

You want to earn straight A’s across the board — we get it — but you shouldn’t miss out on your college experience in pursuit of perfection. Learn to find a balance between school responsibilities and making time for yourself. Don’t skip out on birthdays and important social events for a grade; your relationships matter, too. Of course, you should study, turn your work in on time, and strive to do your best, but you don’t need to do those at the expense of having a life. We’re not saying to slack but don’t let the pursuit of the perfect become the enemy of achieving the good.

Limit Social Media Use

Have you paid close attention to how much time you spend on social media? If not, you may be surprised at how much time you actually waste scrolling through your feeds. Seeing what your best friends are up to online is a great way to stay connected, but it’s not good if your academics start to suffer. Try setting an attainable goal of using social media a predetermined number of minutes per day. For instance, “I will use Facebook and Instagram only 30 minutes each day during my lunch break.”

A simple New Year’s resolution to limit social media use will free up more of your time and improve your overall productivity at school, not to mention easing your mental and emotional stress that comes from sifting through current events, fake news, and constant info overload.

Start a Study Group

Speaking of social media . . . can you imagine what it must have been like for students who were in Mark Zuckerberg’s study groups at Harvard? The point is, you never know who you can connect with and learn from if you try. Some of the greatest leaders today met their colleagues and current business partners in college. If leading a study group seems like too much responsibility, consider meeting once a week with a small group of two to three students.

Having accountability partners is an excellent way to stay motivated throughout the year, and you just might make a new friend or two or start the next big thing.

Make Self-Care a Priority

Prioritizing self-care is where most college students who make New Year’s resolutions fail, but you don’t have to follow the crowd. Instead of setting a hard-to-reach goal like losing the Freshman 15 in only one month, start with smaller attainable goals. For instance, getting an extra half-hour of sleep each night is a goal that could help improve your focus, energy levels, and health over time. If you stumble and fall off the wagon, it’s never too late to get back on and get back into the things that help you keep care.

If you give yourself credit for achieving realistic resolutions, you’ll continue to smash your goals for years to come. Which New Year’s resolutions will you make and keep this year?

Returning home for the holidays after a semester at college can be a bittersweet experience. These feelings are intensified if it’s your first time returning home after months away at school. You might feel like everything and everyone in your home environment has changed. And you’re not wrong; but relax, it’s okay!

If you’re feeling less than excited about a pending return home or have found the transition harder than expected, know that this is completely normal and that a little perspective and patience can help you adjust back to family life, whether it’s for a quick weekend or winter break or for an entire summer.

Deferring Views on Independence

You have been away from home for weeks, maybe even months. You have developed your own routine, have had to manage your own money, have been cleaning your dorm and stocking it with essentials, and have made decisions on how to manage your time. Meanwhile, your parents may still see you as the teenager who needs guidance and supervision to make good choices.

If your parents are used to instituting a curfew, they may expect everything to revert back to usual when you return home. Don’t press them more than is necessary but do have an honest conversation and point out your accomplishments over the past semester to help them understand your perspective.

Showing Respect Goes Both Ways

During your time at school, you might have come to appreciate how much your parents do for you and how much you still depend on them, while they have become accustomed to limited demands from you and may not relish suddenly washing an extra batch of clothes and making a home-cooked meal every night.

Show your parents that you truly have matured by helping out around the house rather than expecting them to revert back to their previous roles. This goes for your bedroom too. If mom and dad converted your old bedroom into a study and now have you sleeping in the loft, try to see it as their way of coping with your absence rather than asking them to change things “back to normal.”

Navigating the Friendship Maze

The life-of-the-party bestie who enrolled at a different school may have turned into a serious student overnight, or perhaps he or she stayed in your hometown to pursue a technical career and still has the live-in-the-moment mentality you whittled down through competing deadlines and pressure to perform at college.

When you return home, it’s natural to expect you can step right back into the friendships you left behind or maintained through virtual communication, but both of you will have changed. Moreover, just as you have made new connections at college, your closest hometown friends may have forged new relationships as well.

You can still have a great time together, but it’s important to recognize that what you want and need out of your friendship may have shifted significantly.

Reaching Out for Support While Home

Whether support comes in the form of an impartial family friend, older sibling, former school counselor, or current college advisor, plan to return home armed with one or two potential contacts in case things get out of control or you find yourself growing depressed.

Keep in mind that the sudden transition from high school student to independent young adult can be hard on you, your family, and friends, but with patience and empathy for one another, you can enjoy the journey.

From deadlines to a busy social life to working a part-time (or even full-time) job, college has many built-in stressors that cause students anxiety. In addition to the stress of having many responsibilities and commitments, college students often experience tremendous change in unfamiliar environments. They may live in a new place each year with new people, have classes in new parts of campus, and study under different professors — all of which can feel frightening or destabilizing.

For you as a student, as the pressure builds, you may begin to experience some mental-health issues, such as anxiety. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways you can cope. And with finals right around the corner, now is the perfect time to educate yourself about managing anxiety at college.

How Anxiety Impacts People

Anxiety disorders create a number of symptoms that, when combined, can create feelings of overwhelm, worry, insecurity, and sadness. If you feel irritable much of the time, feel fearful, experience your muscles tense and ache, get tired easily, experience restlessness, have trouble concentrating, and dread certain activities, you may be dealing with anxiety. In addition, anxiety can cause you to worry excessively and prevent you from getting enough sleep. If you’re experiencing several of these symptoms, consult a trained counselor or a medical professional; they can help.

Managing Anxiety

There are several ways you can reduce your anxiety. For starters, it’s important to have a strong, reliable support system. Enlist your parents, a sibling, a roommate, sorority sister or frat brother, or close friend to be on call when you need a dose of positivity or you need to vent your frustrations. You may also want to take advantage of on-campus counseling so that talk therapy and other treatment options can help you deal with your anxiousness.

It’s also important to take care of your body. Though college life doesn’t lend itself to a regular sleep schedule, getting adequate rest is one way to alleviate some of the symptoms of anxiety. Don’t overlook the importance of eating three healthy meals each day. Because exercise helps reduce stress, you need to find time to walk, jog, or bike each week (preferably in the sun so you get some helpful Vitamin-D). Want to give yourself a boost of power and energy? Participate in an on-campus Zumba or aerobics class. When you take good care of your body, your mental health follows suit.

The physical elements of getting active can help relieve anxiety but there’s a social benefit as well. When you participate with people who share your interests, it’s easier to stay active, motivated, positive, and accountable. Check out clubs devoted to causes, hobbies, and the arts to find a group that’s right for you so you can meet your people and support one another. Sometimes just being around other people is enough to take the edge off when you feel anxious.

Don’t Self-Medicate

One of the best reasons to see a counselor is to get an understanding of your anxiety and its causes and some guidance on how to address the issues, whether through therapy or medication. What you don’t want to do is self-medicate. Alcohol may chase away your anxiety for a couple of hours at a party, but it’s actually a depressant. That means you can end up feeling more sad and anxious after consuming alcohol.

If you’re anxious about studying for a big test, avoid energy drinks, tons of coffee or other caffeine, and any performance-enhancing substances. Though they might give you a brief burst of energy, they’ll leave you feeling down when the buzz dissipates. In fact, caffeine contributes to irritability and restlessness, two symptoms of anxiety disorders.

To keep yourself on the right track, engage with your support system, get help from a counselor, and avoid substances that heighten anxiety symptoms. And breathe consciously to settle your heart rate and your blood pressure. You’ll be surprised how just the simple acts of taking time to stop, to look around at your surroundings, and to inhale and exhale fully can bring the chill.