How to keep your New Year’s resolutions on track after returning to D.C.

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

Take out a cookbook from Gelman Library and go on a grocery shopping trip to Whole Foods to save money this semester.

The start of a new year is the perfect time to overhaul pesky habits, but resolutions aren’t easy to keep after coming back to the District and starting a busy semester.

This year can be different. Whether you want to be healthier or save some extra cash, here are a few tips to help you actually keep the New Year’s resolutions you made over break.

Save money
Keeping on budget can be complicated, especially when buying food in Foggy Bottom. There are some pricey restaurants and fast casual joints on campus, but expanding to new places off campus could help you save cash. And there are also ways to cut costs close to home. Various dining partners provide “meal deals” for students, like $1 off frozen yogurt at South Block, a $10 burger meal at Tonic and $10 meals at TGI Friday’s that will fill you up and keep your wallet full too.

Another way to cut costs is cooking yourself. Choose from thousands of cookbooks available at Gelman Library and cook from the comfort of your dorm. For only the cost of groceries from nearby Whole Foods or Trader Joes, one home cooked meal can last you multiple days and help you avoid breaking the bank on daily meals.

If you order clothes, groceries and other home supplies online, then you know that shipping costs can add up. But there is a solution. Amazon offers a free trial of Amazon Prime for six months, which will grant you free two-day shipping on all purchases from Amazon. After the trial, students can purchase Prime at 50 percent off the regular price.

Stay healthy
If finding a new gym in D.C. is lessening your motivation to work out this year, ClassPass can help push you to lose extra holiday pounds and stay healthy in the new year. For just $35 a month, you can visit up to three different types of fitness classes at various locations around the District. Many of the studios are just a short walk or Metro ride from campus in neighborhoods like Georgetown, Columbia Heights and West End. So whether you want to cycle, try yoga or attempt pilates, there’s no excuse to miss a workout.

Eating healthy can be hard on a student’s budget and time schedule. But in just a few seconds, Fooducate is a free app that can help you measure your daily calorie intake by simply scanning the barcode on the food you buy. If you struggle with finding healthy food, Fooducate will even make suggestions for you based on your dietary goals and health conditions.

Just because elevators are available on campus, doesn’t mean you always have to take them. Taking the stairs can help you add a little physical activity to your day without taking up too much extra time. Instead of waiting for the elevator to go up one floor in Gelman, take the stairs – your body and fellow elevator riders will thank you.

Quit procrastinating
If you find yourself getting easily distracted while studying, form a study group. Working with others can help you stay on track and motivate you to get work done. By gathering with a group, text messages and social media will become less of a distraction and force you to put your work ahead of everything else.

But even then, it isn’t easy. Social media can often be the biggest outlet for procrastination. Freedom is an app that blocks out all mobile distractions for a set amount of time. Simply give yourself an hour or two for studying, and activate the app to temporarily disable any social media and shopping apps from your phone until the time is up.

If Gelman Library and the Science and Engineering Hall seem too routine for a study session, then switch up your location to make your homework less mundane. Try the tables and benches in the basement of the Elliott School of International Affairs if you want something quiet and close to home, or take a trip to a nearby cafe or the Library of Congress to make your study session feel like a field trip.

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