As time runs out this year, lots of people are thinking about food, family, and new beginnings. Almost everyone makes New Year’s resolutions or sets some sort of goal at the beginning of the new year to make themselves better in some way or another. It’s a fresh start that you can revisit as the months go by.
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It can be tough to stick with a resolution and unfortunately, for most people, the resolve to keep those resolutions usually dies off after a few weeks. In fact, 41% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, but only 9.2% achieve those resolutions by the end of the year.
The good news is, if you understand why people find it hard to keep those resolutions, you’ll know what works and doesn’t work for you.
Why Is It So Hard To Keep New Year’s Resolutions?
- Discontinuity effect. According to research by professor of social psychology at the University of Bath, Bas Verplanken, “habits can be changed when you change the factors around the habit,” such as location or context. They call this the “discontinuity effect.” New Year’s Eve is not an actual change in circumstances, which means it isn’t motivation enough to change any habits.
- Distraction created by past rewards. Research by Johns Hopkins University neuroscientists shows our brains get a surge of dopamine just by seeing things associated with past rewards. In other words, your brain is wired to pay more attention to things that have given you pleasure in the past hoping to get that same pleasure again. That’s why you might find it hard to stop thinking about pizza while trying to eat steamed veggies.
- Vague or unrealistic resolutions. Let’s face it – the easier your resolutions are, the more likely you’ll be to keep them for a whole year. For example, if you hate running, don’t make it a resolution to go out for a run every day just because you think it’s healthy.
8 Personal Development New Year’s Resolutions That Are Easy To Keep
Luckily, making easy-to-keep New Year’s Resolutions is easier than you think. If you need some inspiration, look at these 10 easy, healthy resolutions to kick start 2022 on the right foot.
1. Drink More Water
Drinking enough water keeps your digestive system and skin healthy.
However, how much water should you drink? It depends on the climate you live in, your physical activity, and other health-related conditions. Studies suggest 3.7 liters of fluid per day for men and 2.7 liters per day for women. However, remember that 20% of your fluid intake comes from foods.
If you find it hard to remember to drink more water, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to take a sip of water every other hour. Alternatively, you can use one of the many water tracking journals and apps on the market.
While the healthiest option is to drink plain water, you can increase your intake of fluids by drinking tea or infused water.
2. Improve Your Eating Habits
This is an easy enough resolution, as long as you define what eating better means to you. To do this, keep a food journal for a couple of weeks and pay attention to any patterns in your eating habits. For example, you might notice you eat healthy foods during the day but indulge at dinner time, or that you prefer takeout to homemade meals on weekends.
A good, healthy diet is varied and balanced and the best way to achieve this is to cook more meals at home. Cooking your own meals gives you more control of what you eat and helps you enjoy food more. Start by cooking for your own lunch or dinner twice per week and increase the frequency as time allows.
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3. Workout For 10 Minutes A Day
The best way to keep this resolution is by finding a workout you enjoy. Physical activity is not just going to the gym, after all. Many people think that in order for workouts to be effective you have to exercise for an hour or more a day. Make it easy and start small, commit to 10 minutes a day, even if it’s just a walk around the block, and build up from there.
You can take up dancing, spinning, skating, running, yoga, rock climbing, pole dancing, or even walking your dog around the block. If you enjoy the workout, you’ll be more likely to commit to it all year.
Remember to start slow, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Building your strength and endurance progressively will help you prevent injuries and will make the experience more enjoyable. Working out too much, exhausting yourself, or choosing advanced workouts will only make you feel frustrated, which, in turn, will make it more likely for you to quit.
Aim to make the workout experience fun. Sign up for a new class, buy workout clothes you like, and ask a friend to join you.
4. Learn Something New
As human beings, it is important to express our creativity to improve ourselves.
Learning a new skill keeps your brain sharp and healthy. Moreover, nowadays learning new things is easier than ever. Websites like Coursera and Udemy have a wealth of free and low-cost courses by professors from renowned universities and top professionals in their fields.
Language learning is also easier with technology. Duolingo offers language courses, and YouTube has free language learning resources.
Use the New Year as motivation to give your brain some well-deserved workout by learning a new skill.
5. Reconnect With Friends And Family
Your emotional health should be just as important as your physical health. So, in 2022, make your friendships and personal relationships a priority.
Sometimes, the stress of daily life makes us forget about the importance of personal relationships in our lives. As social creatures, it’s very important for human beings to have a strong social network that offers support and comfort during difficult times.
A 2010 study confirms these results. Despite the possible negative effects of some relationships, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. Literature review has found consistent positive results of strong social relationships. For example, adults with coronary artery disease were at 2.4 times greater risk of cardiac death if they were socially isolated.
6. Eat Less Sugar
You probably know that sugar is bad for you. It affects your teeth and puts you at risk of obesity and all the health issues it brings, such as type II diabetes and heart disease.
Make a resolution to swap out refined carbs and sugary drinks for healthier options. Sweeten your tea and coffee with Stevia instead of sugar and ditch the toast and cereals at breakfast.
Start small and notice the changes that these bring as they will motivate you to keep going. Try these tips to kick things off:
- Find hidden sugars. Many processed foods have sugar, even though they may not look like it. For example, most commercial tomato sauces have added sugars to stabilize the rather acidic tomato flavor. Make sure to read the labels and look for added sugars.
- Choose healthier snacks. Muffins are delicious, but you can satisfy a sweet tooth with naturally occurring sugars from fruits. Their high fiber content helps make you feel full faster.
7. Cut Down On Social Media
Researchers are only starting to understand social media’s effects with prolonged use and the results so far are not optimistic – for some users, problematic use of social media works just like drug addiction in the brain, which negatively impacts school and work performance and real-life personal relationships.
But for many people, cutting the cord from social media is just not possible. From keeping in touch with friends and family to business networking, social media is a tool many people can’t go without in their personal and professional lives.
So, what to do?
- Put a cap on the time you spend on social media. Use browser extensions and apps to put a limit on how much time you go through your Facebook wall and Twitter timeline.
- Get rid of some accounts. If you have way too many accounts, keep just one or two.
- Give yourself a social media free day. Choose one day of the week to go without social media.
Start the New Year with more time spent outside, cultivate your personal relationships face to face, and do more activities that increase your well-being.
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8. Make Regular Appointments With Your Doctor
For some people, going to the doctor is a hassle. It opens the possibility of something going wrong with your body, which many people prefer not to think about. In addition, healthy individuals are finding fewer reasons to visit their doctor.
However, there are still reasons to schedule that annual check-up with your doctor, no matter how healthy you are.
Needless to say, an annual check-up may help your doctor discover any health concerns before they become problems. Early detections of cancer or chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes may greatly increase your chances of recovering or better managing the disease.
Checking in with your primary care doctor may also help them become more familiar with your needs and offers you more personalized care.
There’s so much you can do for your health and wellbeing. Start with these easy, healthy New Year’s Resolutions to improve the quality of your life and your interpersonal relationships to achieve growth throughout the years.
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