The holidays have come and gone by faster than ever this year! Time spent getting ready for Christmas, finding the right presents, preparing meals, and of course a million other things going on is finally coming to an end. Now that Christmas is over, it’s time for the new year. Believe it or not, January 1st is right around the corner. The first of the year means something different for everyone. For some it means more downtime since the holidays just ended, and for others it means a new year with new goals. The new year is the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. Before the first, take this time to reflect on the new year and what you want to get out of it. Ask yourself a couple life questions when thinking about your New Year’s resolution. Are you happy with your health? Where are you spending most of your time? Who are you spending the most time with? Do you enjoy what you’re doing? In 2022, invest in yourself and your wellbeing as this will reflect on others. According to recent research, while 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% are actually successful in achieving their goals. It can be easy to come up with New Year’s resolutions, but hard to follow through with them. To help motivate yourself, come up with a New Year’s resolution that you’re passionate about.
Deciding on a New Year’s resolution
When first deciding what you want to do for your New Year’s resolution, you have to create a goal that is manageable. Look at your daily schedule and patterns. Does the goal that you want to accomplish fit in your schedule? Instead of changing something drastic, focus on smaller goals. Smaller goals can lead to a big success if done right. If you’re shooting for a larger goal, make sure that you have a manageable plan in place. Most people have a goal of weight loss in the new year, especially after the holidays. Instead of focusing on a specific number, try to portray your goal differently. Instead, try “I will walk for a minimum of 30 minutes a day” or even add healthier food into my diet. To ensure that your New Year’s resolution is manageable, it has to be specific.
Tracking your progress is almost as important as setting your goal. You’re more likely to stay motivated to hit your goals if you can see progress towards them. Teresa Amabile (Harvard Professor) states, “Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work”. Tracking your progress can help you stay on track and stay committed to your goals. This gives you something to celebrate each day and helps you visualize you making your way towards your goal. Write your goal down on your calendar to ensure that you’ll see it and have that constant reminder. Writing this down on something forces you to use the “don’t break the chain” method. This means you have to “X” off each day that you accomplish your goal. If you have a hard time self motivating, try creating an accountability group. This way, you have others that check in with you to make sure that you’re still on track. Another idea is having someone to do the activity with you. This is a fun way to hold each other accountable and spend time together as well.
To help motivate yourself to accomplish your New Year’s resolution, you need to find something that’s meaningful to you. The more you care about accomplishing this goal the more effort you’ll put towards it. You’re more likely to hit your goals if you create a habit around them. The Healthline states, “ It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic”. In addition to creating habits, find something that aligns with your core values. This way, you’re already invested into making a difference since it means something personally to you.
The Scientific Method states,
In other words, you’re working towards something you care about for the right reasons.
We want to switch jobs to make more money.
We want to lose weight to be more attractive.
While these results might seem like powerful motivators, they’re actually not. Researchers have found that the most powerful motivation comes from intrinsic motivation—the values and purpose that you already have.
How to create a successful New Year’s resolution
- Create a clear plan
- Build off of your healthy habits that you already have
- Allow the right amount of space and time to dedicate to your resolution
- Put aside specific time for your resolution
- Set up a reward system
- Write a list of all the reasons why you want to achieve this goal
- Ask your loved ones to check in on you and hold you accountable
- Learn from your mistakes
- Have the “fresh start” mindset
- Work on positive self talk
Why some New Year’s resolutions fail
- You focus on results rather than the process
- Create a sense of false hope
- Your resolution doesn’t align with your values
- Your goal wasn’t attainable
- Trying to do too much at once
- You don’t have a clear plan in place
- No rewards for hitting milestones
New Year resolutions ideas
Incorporate exercise into your daily routine
Staying physically fit can help you both mentally and physically. Look at your daily schedule and decide where you could dedicate time to exercising. Evaluate what type of exercise you want to incorporate into your schedule. Some may want to go to the gym 3-4 times a week and for others, going out for a walk just to move their body is the perfect New Year ’s resolution. Make sure to make your exercise goal attainable to you and your lifestyle. If you’re just getting started, the Harvard Health Publications recommend committing a minimum of 10 minutes of your day to move your body. The more you add exercise into your schedule, the quicker your body will get used to making it a habit. As you continue to exercise, you can gradually increase the amount of time you dedicate to your daily workouts.
Explore new volunteer opportunities
Create a list of what you dedicate your time to. By doing this, you can see how much time you’re putting towards certain things. Volunteering is the perfect way to give back to your community. Volunteering benefits others as well as your own health. Volunteering connects you with like-minded individuals, provides you with a sense of accomplishment, and brings fulfillment to your life.
Reconnect with friends & family
As you get older, it becomes harder to stay connected to friends and family. With technology, it allows you to connect with those who aren’t right across the street. Take this time to make a phone call, send an email, text, or write to those that you haven’t connected with for awhile. If you can find time, set up annual dinners or get-togethers with those you want to spend more time with. This way, you make it a part of your schedule which helps you keep a healthy life balance. Make it a priority to put specific days aside to spend with your loved ones. Staying connected helps to strengthen the bond between you and your loved ones.
Make healthier dessert decisions
During the holidays, it can be hard to make smart dessert decisions when there’s Christmas cookies everywhere! But in reality, having a “couple” of desserts leads to unwanted weight gain during the holiday season. Not only does weight gain lead to gaining unwanted weight, but can also lead to high blood pressure and other chronic issues as well. If you’re craving something sweet, try to switch to natural alternatives such as fruit or dark chocolate. You can have a sweet treat, but the best phrase to keep in mind is “everything in moderation!”
Think about hobbies that you used to have back in the day. When was the last time that you spent time enjoying those hobbies? Throughout the new year, try to pick back up some of the hobbies you used to enjoy. Consider teaching your loved ones your hobby so that they can pass this hobby onto future generations.
Challenge your brain
When was the last time you used your brain to its full potential? If you can’t come up with something right away, it’s time to challenge your brain! Although physical activity is important, challenging your brain is just as crucial. Challenging your brain daily helps you keep your cognitive skills sharp. By doing this, it forces your brain to exercise which can reduce memory loss. There are many different brain games online that you can find or even print off. As you continue to do these, make sure that you are increasing the level of difficulty.
Look after your finances
Try to form a plan that helps you create a healthy relationship with money. Creating your own budget and net worth statement can help you build your own personal road map to success. If you have debt, try to create a plan that can help you pay it off this year. For most people, some level of debt is a practical necessity. This can be a necessity especially if you’re trying to purchase something that’s expensive. On the other hand, problems can arise when debt turns into a burden rather than a tool. Try to live below your means, this can help you save your money faster. Take a look at your saving and spending habits this year.
Find ways to improve your mental health
Your mental health is crucial to accomplish daily tasks. It’s important to take care of yourself to get the most out of your life. There are simple changes that you can make to your life to improve your mental health. The MentalHealth gives practical ways to look after your mental health…
- Talk about how you’re feeling
- Stay active and move your body
- Fill your body with healthy, nutritious food
- Drink water
- Keep in touch with your loved ones
- Ask for help when you need it
- Know when you need to take a break
- Change up your scenery
- Do something that you’re good at
- Accept who you are
- Care for others
Find ways to disconnect
Although life can be fun running around having things to do, it can also become overwhelming very quickly. Be sure to take time for yourself during these busy seasons. Breathing is one of the easiest things to do but something that we often forget to take time for. Create time during the day to take slow deep breaths. By doing this it reduces blood pressure and relieves stress. Along with breathing, be sure to meditate. Meditating helps you relax and be present in the current state of mind that you’re in. Get yourself outside and surround yourself with nature. This can help you relax and change your scenery to help you take in everything around you. One of the biggest ways that you can disconnect is to unplug. Step away from all the different screens that you have in your house or at work. Some other ways to disconnect is to turn off all electronics, get a massage, go on a vacation, sleep well, exercise, practice yoga, and be with those who make you truly happy.
Remember, every year brings surprises, memories, good times, bad times, and most of all new experiences. Set yourself up for success this year. Put in the extra work and time this year to create a plan that helps you mold into the person you want to be. Strive to be your best self and help as many people as you can. Use these tools to help you find an attainable goal that will help you benefit yourself and others. Happy New Year to you all!