The statistics are disappointing, albeit unsurprising. Dashed almost as quickly as they started, studies show that nearly 80 percent of people admit to abandoning their New Year’s resolutions after only a month, whether it’s to lose weight, exercise more, or quit smoking.
It’s a cliched scenario: creating a list of habits to start and habits to quit, hitting the gym every day for a week, then every other day, then every few days, then once a week, then once a month — until we end up forgetting we ever had a gym membership in the first place. Many of us can count numerous holiday seasons pledging a promise to start a new diet or get in shape, but petering out on our plans by the time February rolls around, sliding back into our old behavioral patterns.
What prevents us from sticking to our resolutions? Experts say some explanations are setting unrealistic, unclear goals; a lack of accountability and planning; not monitoring one’s progress; or failing to strike the balance between overconfidence and self-doubt.
The good news is that mapping out a plan for a healthy new year in 2023 is achievable with just a little planning. Keep reading for some actionable ways to set some healthy New Year’s resolutions, plus some suggestions you can actually stick with.
How To Keep New Year’s Resolutions With the “SMART” Approach
One surefire way for setting New Year’s resolutions is by setting SMART goals.
- Stay Specific by asking yourself what you want to accomplish in the new year. Why is it important to you? Research it; design it. Doing this exercise helps you start making a commitment to making a change that’s important to you.
- Make sure to set a goal you can quantify and Measure. Rather than resolving to shed a nebulous amount of weight, drill down the number — “My goal is to lose 40 pounds in four months, or 10 pounds per month.”
- Is it Achievable? Determine the steps to make your resolution happen. Don’t be afraid to set a major goal, even if past goals have overextended your reach. You can achieve anything you set your mind and heart to. But if something seems too lofty, don’t worry; you can always modify your goal as you go.
- Consider how Relevant the resolution is to your life. If it plays an important role in your life right now — at this very moment — it becomes easier to double it down as a goal you want to reach.
- Set a Time and target date. Part of why resolutions fail is because, like with Measure, we don’t establish a starting point and a deadline. Set the clock ticking for both, and you have a finite time to put the work into following through on your goal.
Making Healthy New Year’s Resolutions — And Sticking To Them
The point of making New Year’s resolutions is to dig deep and think about the things important to you that you’d like to accomplish. Resolutions should be personal and unique; something you tailor for yourself. With that, however, here are some healthy resolution suggestions as we enter 2023:
Get Back in Shape
Resolve to make a regular exercise routine a lifestyle change going forward, for the rest of your life, not just this year. Fitness is proven to help brain function, cardiovascular health, weight management, strengthen bones and muscles and reduce the risk of diabetes and other diseases. If you’re averse to joining a gym, don’t fret! There are plenty of ways to get fit without forking over money for a monthly membership. Fitness trackers, apps, and YouTube videos are just the tip of the iceberg to track your progress, your calories burned, miles walked/run, learn some new exercises, and stay motivated. Getting a friend to join you on a run helps you stick to the goal.
Eat Out Less — Cook More at Home
Everyone loves to order some pizza or Chinese, but too much takeout (or eating out at restaurants) can expand your waist size and shrink your wallet — bad for your health and your finances. Stocking the fridge and kitchen with fresh vegetables and whole grains, and cooking your meals at home is a cheaper and healthier option than eating out, plus, it gives you time to try out new recipes, hone your cooking skills and spend time sharing the health (pun intended) with family.
Get a Better Night’s Sleep
We’re all guilty of getting caught up browsing the web or binging our favorite show in the evening, and next thing you know, it’s 2:30 a.m. and you should have been in bed three and a half hours ago. Lack of quality sleep is known to increase production of the stress hormone cortisol and may lead to increased risk of depression, weight gain and heart disease. We should aim for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. How to set the resolution? Set an alarm 45 minutes to an hour before your intended bedtime, decrease your screen time, turn out the lights and make sure not to eat or consume any caffeine before you hit the pillow.
Manage Your Stress
Making a resolution to release the stresses of everyday life — especially chronic stress harmful to health — can be liberating to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves, plus reduce anxiety and symptoms of dysthymia and depression. Set aside time to practice mindfulness meditation; there are books, podcasts and apps to lead you in the right direction if you’re new to the practice. Spend quality time doing something stress-reducing you enjoy, like reading, gardening, or engaging with pets or family. Or it could be dedicating 15 minutes each day to break away, disconnect and decompress from work, returning refreshed and refocused. Take your resolution a step further and sign up for a yoga class.
Support Your Healthy New Year’s Resolutions with Richfield Medical Group
Now that the new year is in full swing, tackle your healthy resolution(s) with confidence. You can do this! Richfield Medical Group supports you on your quest for a healthier lifestyle. Looking for inspiration on healthy living? Check out more of our articles.