Not happy with the way first semester went? Maybe you pulled one too many all nighters. Or hit "continue watching" on Netflix, when realistically, you probably shouldn't have. Maybe you didn't prioritize exercise and eating healthy. Second semester is right around corner and this is your time to make it count.

As college students we get caught up in our school work and our bad habits become routine. The start of a new semester is a clean slate. It's time to kiss those bad habits goodbye and say hello to some good ones. Here are seven simple things that you could do to not only make this semester more productive, but healthier.

1. Exercise at least three times a week.

I know, the gym can be daunting and after a long day of classes, you really don't feel like going. This semester should be the semester to stop making excuses. Stop telling yourself you have too homework to exercise. Stop telling yourself it's too cold to walk to the gym. If you can find the strength to trek to class, you can trek to the gym. OR make it even easier and workout in your room. Buy a yoga mat and some light hand weights to easily knockout a simple workout without even leaving your room. Your roommate won't care, trust me. Mine has woken up in the morning and seen me doing all types of crazy things on the floor, but who cares? It gives her a funny Snapchat story.


Besides staying healthy, exercise will enhance your performance on schoolwork. Even if you think you don't have the time, make it. As Elle Woods once said, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy." Who doesn't want to be happy? Turn on some tunes and get those endorphins going. I guarantee you will return to your homework with better focus.

2. Write in a Journal

It's easy to get caught up in our own heads when we are stressed out. A great way to relieve this stress is by writing it down. Take a few minutes in the morning or before bed to write down what went well during the day. Use your journal to brag about your accomplishments. Then make a list of what went wrong and how you could make it better next time.

3. Keep Healthy Snacks in Your Dorm

My motto when it comes to junk food is: out of sight, out of mind. If there's a bag of potato chips in front of me, don't underestimate the fact that I will literally inhale that bag like a vacuum cleaner. To fix this problem, I don't keep junk food in my room. Some good snacks to keep on stash are lightly salted nuts, craisins, dark chocolate, whole grain crackers, all-natural nut butter, granola bars (look for bars that contain less than 5g of sugar), and applesauce. When you go to the dining hall, grab as much fresh fruit as you can to keep your room. Snacking on a banana or apple is a much better option than snacking on a donut or cookie.

4. Allow Yourself to Get More Sleep

You may think that studying all night for an exam will help you get the A you so badly want, but I guarantee it will prevent you from that A. One professor told me that it is just as harmful to take an exam after pulling an all-nighter as it taking the exam intoxicated. If you're worried about doing well on the test, budget your time for sleep. Make a plan of attack for your exam studying. Do an hour a night for a week, rather than 7 hours in one night. Overall, 7-9 hours of sleep will help you focus better in class and give you more energy to tackle the day.

5. Don't Sleep with Your Phone Next to Your Pillow

Bouncing off of number 4, increase the hours of sleep and quality by keeping your phone away from your heads distance at night. If it's on your desk, chances are you won't want to get up and check it when you're lying in bed at night. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, having your phone somewhere where you need to get up in order to turn the alarm off will get you out of bed faster.


6. Skip the Bus

It's 40 degrees outside, the bus is right around the corner, and you really want to hop on. DON'T. The only excuse to take the bus this semester should be if it's furiously snowing outside and you run the risk of your face freezing off. Otherwise, if it's just a little chilly, layer up and get walking. Walking will get your blood flowing and get you even more active. After sitting in class, and sitting in a desk doing your homework, your body will thank you for not sitting on a bus.

7. Forgive Yourself

Ok, so you wanted to eat healthier, watch less TV, go to the gym more and get better grades. Just because you want to accomplish these things, doesn't mean you always will. There will be times when you can't make it to the gym, don't beat yourself up over it. There will be times you need to order a pizza and eat it by yourself. It's ok, just make sure you get back on track the next day. There will be times you get a mediocre grade on something you worked really hard on. That's college, it's life. Instead of dwelling on the grade, think of what you learned from the assignment. Anything that could happen during the next semester, take it with a grain of salt.