There’s something about tossing the old calendar and instating a new one that encourages people to finally make some changes for the better. Last year, a huge majority of Americans made the resolution to get healthier by dieting, exercising, or simply losing weight. Other popular resolutions included kicking cigarettes and alcohol to the curb. While these resolutions are made with good intentions, more than half of resolution makers reported failing and quitting their goals before the start of February. It’s a pattern that happens each year but, as a new year is about to start, it seems like the perfect chance to bid farewell to unhealthy habits.
Sticking to resolutions isn’t just for those with an iron will. In fact, keeping resolutions that actually last the full twelve months can be easy if done correctly. One of the biggest barriers between a December 31st resolution and a success story is the phrasing of the goal. Vowing to lose weight is an overwhelming ambition. It doesn’t pave the way with clear measurements or strategies to achieve the goal. For those looking to live a healthier life in the new year, it is important to be clear with oneself about what steps are needed in order to achieve this year’s resolution. To get started with mindfully crafting a resolution that sticks, consider the following health-oriented tips:
Reduce smoking and drinking
Cigarettes and alcohol are knowingly detrimental to health. However, vowing to quit either of them completely typically sets people up for failure. While quitting these vices completely would be of great benefit to one’s health, starting off with a promise to reduce the frequency of use is a strong start and an achievable goal. Starting the year with the resolution to only consume alcohol one night a week or to cut the number of cigarettes a month in half is a realistic, measurable, and achievable goal that will yield great results for one’s health.
Have a fruit and vegetable heavy diet
Desperate to live a healthier life, many resolutions have people starting the year with fad diets. Sometimes fad diets work great for people, but sometimes they fizzle out before any benefits are seen. This leaves room for frustration, making once strong-willed resolution makers quit their healthy habits and resort back to their old eating habits. Instead of jumping on a crash diet craze, making the commitment to adhere to serving sizes and incorporate a rainbow of fruits and vegetables can pave the way to a healthier new year.
Set an exercise goal
Resolving to lose weight over the next year is a dangerous game. Though it may be a well-intentioned goal, seeing the scale go up or stay stagnant can be disconcerting. Many people will aim to lose weight by eating very little early in the year or exercising hard at the start. Slashing calories isn’t sustainable and often results in binging on snack foods and tossing the health goal out the window. On the other hand, starting the year off with some hardcore exercise sessions can result in burnout or even muscle-forming weight gain. Instead of vowing to lose weight, make the promise to exercise 2 or 3 times a week. Create a cross-training schedule and help the body reach its athletic potential. Doing this will build strength and balance while reducing the likelihood of injury – helping determined individuals keep up the training year-round.
Having a healthy new year isn’t just about eating right and exercising. Prioritizing health can also be done by vowing to regularly visit the GP and to keep up-to-date with health screening checks. Even a simple resolution to apply SPF every day can yield great results for one’s health. Whatever the resolution may be, the National Foundation for Cancer Research wishes everyone a healthy and happy new year.
Let us know what goals you’ve set for the new year in the comments!