Psychologically proven tips to starting the year off right

Assumption College Undergraduate

As the fall semester approaches – and thousands of undergraduate students migrate their way back to campus – at Assumption College we have made it our mission to build tools needed for success into the design of freshman year.

When it comes to tangibles and checking off the packing list, the Office of Residential Life offers a “What to Bring” list to help you arrive fully stocked. Assumption’s three-day New Student Orientation will help with navigating around campus and meeting new friends. And when it comes to study preparations, our award-winning Academic Support Center will show you how to adjust to college-level work and embrace the value of independent learning.

There is, however, one intangible that every student needs and must cultivate on his or her own: The art of developing and maintaining a mindset of motivation. Although the start of college is filled with excitement and ambition, we know that the mental preparation that goes into staying motivated can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve put together a few psychologically proven tips to help you kick-off this academic year with some serious motivation, whether you’re a bachelor’s in psychology student or not.

1. Snack right

One study found that those who work hard and are particularly motivated tend to have higher levels of dopamine, while those who feel lazy or may be classified as “slackers” have low levels of dopamine.

Here are a few foods you can eat that will increase your dopamine levels:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Blueberries
  • Raw carrots

2. StickK to commitments

Another way to keep motivated toward your goals is to use a commitment device. Commitment devices are tools that help give incentive to complete your goal or raise the stakes in order to increase motivation. A great example of this is stickK.com. Created by a professor at Yale University, this website is simple and effective for keeping commitments. Type in your goal, set the stakes (a monetary amount of your choosing) and choose the charity, organization, friend or foe that your money will go to if you do not complete your goal. Do you find yourself continuously setting goals and never holding yourself to them? — give this tool a try.

3. Go green

Color psychology research demonstrates the color green has been proven to positively affect mood and motivate people resulting in increased productivity and creativity. So how do you apply that to college life? Wear more green? Wander aimlessly around town to find the coffee shop containing the most green in their decor? Though I suppose those options could work, the simplest solution is to step outside. Go for a walk around campus and stop by the Duck Pond to feed the ducks. Try studying outside for a bit or eat your lunch on one of the many open spaces on campus.

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