After a recent family supper, I got chatting with my cousin about our new year's resolutions.
To tell you a bit more about us, we're both 19 years of age and have thick blonde hair but the similarities stop there.
She's female, I'm male. She studies History of Art at University of Birmingham, I study Geography with Economics at LSE. She's in a long-term relationship, I'm single.
Yet despite this, we actually shared a lot of mutual ground in terms of what we, as students, wanted to achieve in 2014.
We may have different interests, but we're at the same stage in life and the saying goes that you're 90% more likely to achieve resolutions if you write them down...
1. Work out what the hell it is we want to do in life
In essence, be the one at drinks who can answer the socially unacceptable question of 'So what do you plan on doing after you've spent £27,000 tuition on higher education?'
To do this, you have to think about what you prioritise more - lifestyle happiness or job satisfaction. If it's the former, what professions will allow you to live the lifestyle you want, and which from those, based on your interests, would be the most bearable?
If it's the latter, what extra-curricular activities or ad-hoc work experiences have been enjoyable, and which career paths mirror those?
Either way, you'll end up with a list of a potential career paths to explore further, (I have four). From here, make a plan of action of how you are going to gain more experience in those areas in 2014 so you can finish the year with a view of where you want to end-up in life.
If you haven't started applying for internships, you're a little late to the party, but there are lots still open and you can find all the deadline information on graddiary.com.
2. Stop recklessly spending
One of the worst parts of my 2013 has been comparing the amount of money that leaves my account with a significantly smaller amount of tangible goods.
We're all guilty of burning through our student loan like the end-of-term doesn't exist, and buying *one too many* people drinks on Athletics Union Wednesdays. It's time to take heed and sort it out.
I now have two bank accounts, one for income and one for outgoings. All my income is paid into one account and from that, I'm going to pay a fortnightly allowance to the overdraft-free other.
I recommend leaving a difference of at least 10% between your income and allowance. It's not so much that it will impose harsh lifestyle constraints, and it will come in handy for emergency situations, overdraft repayment and saving-up for high-ticket items.
I have also made note of any tax that I have overpaid, ready to hit the ground running with a HMRC reclaim in January!
My last plan of action is to STOP buying people drinks who won't return the favour. By now, you should have a pretty good idea of who that is, either seek them out the bar or go it alone.
If you haven't seen someone in a while, arrange to meet-up with them soon and do not offer them a drink under circumstances.
And if you've tried and failed to sleep with someone, accept it's not going to happen and move on. There are better ways to spend your money than offering a girl-who's-out-of-your-league, a drink!
3. Be more body confident
and get laid more
My cousin wants to lose half a stone, I want a body like Adonis. I think somewhere in the middle is a good place to aim!
We live in a society where 'big' can be 'beautiful', but there is nothing beautiful about seeing yourself get 'bigger'. There is a difference between being 'happy' in your body, and being 'confident'... So it's time to get shake off the Christmas belly!
The way I'm doing this is with a new year 'health shock' followed-up with a long-term structured meal and exercise plan.
The shock could be anything from the Juice diet (check out Jason Vale's 'Lose 7lbs in 7 Days), the Protein diet (Google it), or a bootcamp before term starts (I can recommend No.1 Bootcamp).
I'm then following this up with a fortnightly healthy meal plan that repeats and a regime of classes at my gym that fit in with term-time commitments.
If you're not a health-freak, like me, you will know (from previous attempts) that you can't become change your lifestyle overnight. That's why I think this will work.
You start the year with the 'health shock' you've been craving and hopefully the buzz from this will keep you following your new meal and exercise regime in the long-run!
4. Finish this academic year with a First Class Honours
and stop choosing bed over lectures
I just don't get it.
I used to be up at 7.30AM for school, dressed and eating breakfast at 8AM, in-class at 9AM and in lessons back-to-back until 6PM. But now, it's lucky if I make it in to my 11AM lecture!
So what's the difference? It's structure. When you're commitments are much shorter, they become easier to miss.
I'm hoping that my new fitness regime and plans to explore different career options will prove sufficient when combined with university commitments, and give me enough to do in the day that I can't miss it.
You also need to make sure you know you're hangover cure. For me, it's drinking 2L of water before bed after a night out, and a Berocca in the morning.
5. Re-connect with old friends
The saying goes you keep in touch with friends with the ones worth it. Wrong.
As I've made transitions from prep school to senior school, senior school to university, halls to independent living, lots of things have made it difficult to keep in touch with people.
I'm sick of looking through old Instagram photos and feeling sad that we've fell out of touch. It's time to do something about it.
I've worked out where I have windows in my current commitments and who, in particular, I want to get back in touch with.
Overall, if I pull this off, I'm hoping it will make for a fulfilled 2014.
Nothing alone in this list is particularly kick-ass, but combined, working out what you want to do in life by seeking out relevant opportunities, being in control of your finances, re-connecting with former buddies, performing well academically and having a rockstar body... I think is pretty awesome.
My advice for anyone making individual resolutions is to work them through. Think ' What, Why and How?'.. What do I want? Why do I want this (in the bigger picture)? And HOW am I going to achieve this in 2014?
Harry is also planning to launch his start-up, a cocktail video recipe website called On The Squeeze in 2014. You can sign-up for preview access at OnTheSqueeze.com.