The last days of 2021 are here and we are all looking forward to celebrating New Year’s Eve and welcoming in 2022. A new year is a time for reflection and renewal and making healthy New Year’s resolutions is no exception. But what if you’ve tried to quit smoking, lose weight, or save money in the past — only to find yourself back at square one by February? The problem isn’t that you didn’t try hard enough, it’s that your resolutions are too vague. At the end of the day, it’s just not clear what you’re really supposed to do to achieve them. You know you need to change up your daily routine and stick to a healthy diet, yet somehow you keep slipping back into old ways. Here are 6 simple strategies that will help you stick to your resolutions this time around.
Decide What You Really Want
The first thing you need to do for creating a successful New Year’s resolution is to decide what you really want. Maybe you want to achieve a healthy body weight, stop smoking, or quit fast food. Whatever it is, you need to decide what you want before you decide how to get it.
Often there’s no clear-cut path to get there and that’s the problem. No matter what path you follow, many people find implementing a new daily routine much more difficult than they’d anticipated. Decide what it is exactly you want to achieve. Once you’ve decided on your specific goal, use that goal as a guideline for all your future goal setting. Your ability to take action will play a crucial role in determining how well or poorly you’ll do.
Maybe weight loss or improving your health are your primary goals. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to get healthier. It might seem like an impossible task, but there are simple changes you can make in your life that can make a big difference.
Research suggests that some 74% of Americans are determined to make a lifestyle change such as losing weight, quitting fast food, or increasing physical activity. Whatever your body weight is, always consult your primary care physician before embarking on a new health regime. With health conditions such as heart disease and cancer on the rise, there has never been a better time to start eating healthier.
One of the most sustainable ways to improve your overall health is to eat more whole foods. Whole foods, including protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, contain all the nutrients that your body needs to function at an optimal level. Your body will thank you for it. One of the added benefits of eating clean is that when you fill up on the good stuff, you no longer have room to crave the bad. Nutritious foods leave you feeling satiated and fulfilled.
Set Realistic Goals
Research shows that in order to stay on track with New Year’s resolutions we must set ourselves realistic goals. It’s all well and good announcing that this year you are going to run the New York marathon, but do you even own a pair of running shoes? When was the last time you actually ran? There can be a tendency to overestimate what we are really capable of, which ultimately means we unwittingly set ourselves up for failure.
Perhaps you’ve tried quitting smoking many times and failed, but you tell yourself this year will be different. Research suggests that gradually reducing a bad habit and replacing it with something else is proven to be far more effective than going cold turkey. Why not aim to gradually reduce your intake over the coming months rather than jumping in the deep end? New habits take time to build, so allow yourself the grace to gradually incorporate new lifestyle habits that will stand by you for years to come.
New Year’s fitness resolutions are designed to help you make positive changes in your health. Sadly, many people give up after a few weeks or months because life gets busy and they find it hard to keep up with their new routine. Exercise is one of the number one ways to improve overall health. First, choose an activity that you enjoy. If it’s not easy or enjoyable for you, it’ll be hard to make a healthy lifestyle into a long-term habit.
For example, if you hate the gym, but love to swim, then find out if there is a local indoor pool where you can go for a swim after work a few times per week. Many community centers and fitness centers are places where you can go for winter indoor swimming. If you have a busy schedule in the evening, juggling kids and chores and don’t have time to work out, then go for a jog before work instead. If jogging seems like too much of a stretch right now, you could just set a realistic goal of taking a daily brisk walk, which will help you burn calories and lose weight.
Self-Care- Yes, You Are Worth It!
For people with busy schedules, making a resolution to engage in self-care may sound impossible. Believe it or not, it’s worth the investment. Taking time for yourself is not selfish. In fact, it’s imperative for improving your health and well-being.
This is especially true for those with busy schedules and limited time. Creating a daily routine of self-care may take some preparation, but it’s worth the time investment. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or time-consuming.
Start small if needed. Spend 10 minutes each day on something that’s good for you. It could be reading a book with your morning coffee, switching off your phone for half an hour and watching the birds outside while you eat breakfast. Once it becomes routine, add more time or another activity to your day.
Incorporate Calming Practices
Mental health is just as important as physical health. Whether you have a mindfulness practice or not, don’t forget to take time for yourself. It’s good for your work-life balance, it’ll enhance your sleep, and it may help you achieve your overall health goals. Start with some simple breathing exercises, a guided meditation, or use your favorite songs to help you unwind.
Research suggests that meditation is one of the most evidence-based ways to promote mental well-being in an era of high anxiety and depression rates. We all need a little peace. People with anxiety or depression may find meditation especially helpful. This is a perfect New Year’s resolution for those who are looking for a way to incorporate more balance into their everyday lives.
Incorporate practices such as mindful eating at every meal. Turn off the TV, leave the gadgets aside, and focus solely on the delicious meal in front of you. You’ll be surprised at how much more you’ll savor the flavors. Your digestion will thank you too for allowing it to move at its own natural pace.
Though the majority of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned after a few weeks, the healthy resolutions listed above can help you make sustainable changes to your physical and emotional health for life.
A healthier relationship with food, more self-care, and bettering your mental health are all things that are sustainable. This year, why not commit to these resolutions? With time, they can drastically improve your health in various ways.