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How to Make Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

“To be happier, to lose weight, to make more money…”

Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions start off like that. But just a few weeks into January and it’s easy to fall off the wagon.

One statistics showed that after 6 months, less than 50% of the people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them (1).

Why is it so hard to stick to resolutions, especially when they’re made with the best of intentions?

There’s a saying that goes, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”.  Instead of focusing so much on reaching certain milestones, what if you considered the bigger picture in life?

Like growth. Growth can happen slowly or quickly, but it’s beneficial either way. All things in life suffer if there is no growth.

Another way to look at it is like a river, movement is mandatory in order to survive. Stagnation leads to sickness, and eventually death. The same idea can be applied to making New Year’s resolutions. As long as you’re moving forward, you’re making progress.

If you’re tired of not reaching future goals, maybe it’s time to redefine and reevaluate them. In this article, we’ve compiled a few ideas that are positive, easy to manage and help move you toward your well-being goals.

Practice Mindfulness

The art of being mindful is something that doesn’t come easily. It takes intentionality and practice. Taking moments throughout the day to simply be aware of your surroundings – what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch – can help you be fully in the moment.

Studies have been done to see how practicing mindfulness can be good for you. According to the American Psychological Association, consistently practicing mindfulness can help you (2):

  • Regulate your emotions
  • Decrease your reactivity and increase your response flexibility
  • Grow in areas of empathy and compassion
  • Decrease stress and anxieties
  • Strengthen relationships
  • While you can’t control everything in life, you can control how you respond to it. Practicing mindfulness can be a resolution that grows with you.

    Get More Quality Sleep

    Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”? More than likely, whoever first said this did not see the importance of a good night’s sleep.

    But sleep is not just wasted time. A lot happens to your body and mind when you’re sleeping. Cell and tissue repair, memory sorting and storage, and hormone regulation are some small examples of what happens when you’re asleep (3).

    Besides that, getting good sleep can also help you:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Remember things
  • Focus on important tasks
  • Be alert and responsive to your surroundings
  • Make better food choices
  • Decrease your risk for conditions such as heart disease
  • Research supports that you need good sleep in order to thrive. While everyone is different, getting between 7-8 hours every night should be your goal (4).

    Sit Less, Move More

    You’ve heard it once and you’ll hear it again: staying active is crucial for a well-lived life. You don’t have to be in Spartan races, but moving your body every day can be a realistic goal you can achieve.

    According to the National Institute of Health, sedentary lifestyles tend to result in more hospital trips, more medication for illnesses, and more doctor visits (5).

    Getting your body moving can benefit you in many ways, like:

  • Increase your energy levels
  • Keep your blood pressure in a good range
  • Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Improve your balance, reducing falls
  • Help you sleep better
  • Reduce the complications of disease like diabetes, stroke, and arthritis
  • Starting small helps you not feel overwhelmed. Exercising with friends or in a group can also make it more doable.

    Practice Self-Care

    Hard work is something that is prized in many societies. Many of today’s archeological, industrial and technological accomplishments wouldn’t be here without the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors.

    Even so, the concept of self-care if becoming more prevalent. It’s important to find balance. Taking care of your physical, mental and spiritual state is just as important as reaching goals and

    Taking some time for yourself can help reduce stress, increase feelings of happiness, improve your focus and lessen frustration (6).

    Some practical ways you can practice self-care are:

  • Prioritize rest
  • Take time to reflect
  • Have fun
  • Consider the spiritual realm and don’t be afraid to ask questions
  • Explore the world around you
  • Stay in touch with loved ones
  • Challenge yourself mentally with games, books or puzzles
  •  

    Setting small goals for the day, or even the week, can make this aspect of health seem less daunting.

    Go Outside

    Maybe the tree huggers were on to something, because science is now agreeing that spending time outdoors is quite good for you.

    A study was done involving multiple countries around the world. Some of the major cities within these countries have what’s called “greenspace” – specific sections of the city where vegetation grows. They analyzed the health conditions of the people living in these areas, and their conclusions were astounding.

    ”We found that spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces is associated with diverse and significant health benefits. It reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration.” (7).

    Some ways you can successfully add more outdoor time into the new year is:

  • Walk a nature trail
  • Go hiking
  • Sit by the lake
  • Go to a park and walk around the trees
  • Visit tree nurseries or orchards
  • Some of these options might take some planning, but the results will be well worth it.

    Cook at Home

    While we all enjoy sitting down and enjoying a meal at a nice restaurant, there are some significant perks to making more of your meals at home.

    Finding new recipes, shopping for ingredients, and whipping up that delicious concoction can help you meet your goals by:

    • Saving money: Restaurants are a business. That’s why a salmon meal can cost 3x what it would if you made it yourself. Cooking at home can allow you to spend your money elsewhere.
    • Giving you more control: Fast food and sit-downs often need to order large quantities of food at a time in order to meet the demands of their customers. And many times, preservatives, additives and other ingredients are simply part of the package. Making your own meals gives you more control over what you’re actually eating.
    • Creating new experiences: For better or worse, you’ll have a new memory to share with friends and family. You’ll learn from the bad and showcase the good.
    • Reducing calorie intake: Oftentimes, that special sauce or side dish is loaded with extra calories. When you decide to cook your own food, you can eliminate the excess calories while still enjoying flavors and textures.
    • Contributing to a healthier diet: Let’s face it, modern convenience foods tend to be packed with trans fats, empty carbs, and artificial ingredients – all of which contribute to inflammation and an unhealthy lifestyle. You can take your health back by cooking meals that include colorful, nutrient-dense foods.

    Wrap Up

    Goals in and of themselves are good things. Without them, there would be no progress. At the same time, it can be discouraging when you see hope for the New Year, make big goals, but fail to achieve them (again).

    This year, why not take a different approach. Be a little kinder to yourself, and focus on growth instead of meeting specific milestones. Being more mindful, moving your body more, cooking more food at home, and spending more time in nature are all practical goals you can easily achieve going into the new year.

    Have you given up on the whole New Year’s resolution idea? Don’t give up just yet. Instead, reevaluate your goals to encompass a wider approach to life, health, and overall well being.

    Do you know someone who could benefit from this? Share with a friend or family member today!

    References & Disclaimers

    (1) https://discoverhappyhabits.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

    (2) https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/pst-48-2-198.pdf

    (3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6281147/

    (4) https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

    (5) https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/real-life-benefits-exercise-and-physical-activity

    (6) https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/health/what-is-self-care

    (7) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180706102842.htm

    (8) https://www.aetna.com/health-guide/health-benefits-of-home-cooking.html

    ✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author 

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