Individuals who make New Year’s resolutions often face an uphill battle, but your chances of success improve dramatically once you understand why resolutions so often fail. If you’re committed to making serious life changes in 2019, you need to be aware of proven strategies that will keep you on track.
Here is a list of the most common New Year’s Resolutions and why they fail. The more you know, the more likely you are to succeed!
Setting Too Many Goals
Most of us are creatures of habit. We want to learn French, stop spending so much on takeout, and go to the gym at least four times a week, but trying to change so many things at once can become overwhelming quickly. If you start losing ground on one resolution, it’s common to lose sight of the other goals you want to achieve. Instead, focus on changing just one of your habits (no matter how small it may feel), and celebrate your success accordingly.
Being Overly Ambitious
People often resolve to do things like “run a marathon” or “become debt-free” because they seem like good, positive changes to make. But if your idea of exercise is walking to the mailbox once a day or if you’ve maxed out several credit cards, it will become obvious quickly that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Instead, be honest with yourself, and try to make attainable resolutions. Once you can comfortably run a 5k or have paid off one credit card, the next step will feel more within your reach.
According to research conducted by scholars at the University College London, it takes about 66 days to break a habit completely. Mastering something new takes much longer. A New Year’s resolution isn’t about a quick fix; it should be something that you are committing to for the long haul.
Being Overly Vague
Common resolutions include “be a better friend” or “get in better shape,” but what does that mean? Without a clear idea of what you want to accomplish or how you’ll make it happen, it’s easy to ignore or forget your resolution. So if “better friend” means you want to spend more time with your pals, change your resolution to “host a friend for dinner once each month.” If “better shape” means you just want to spend less time on the couch, resolve to take the dog for a 15-minute walk at least five times every week.
Tips for a Successful New Year’s Resolution
Now that you have a better idea of why so many resolutions fail and how you can prevent your efforts from going stale, it’s time to make a commitment for the coming year. Keep reading to learn the five most common New Year’s resolutions, our tips for success, and how Canopy Health could play a role in helping you achieve your goals.
1. Eat Healthier
A healthy diet can lower your risk of stroke or heart disease and may also have the added benefit of slimming your waistline. But you don’t have to give up all the foods you enjoy to reap the benefits of a healthier diet. The American Heart Association offers several simple tips to help you make smarter food choices. You can also download smartphone apps (such as Yummly or Shopwell) that will help you plan your meals and track nutrition.
John Muir Health offers several free or low-cost classes related to healthy eating habits — including Healthy Pantry Makeover, Being Mindful of Mindless Eating, Brain Boosting Nutrition, and Lifestyle Changes for a Healthier You.
2. Lose Weight
Consuming a healthier diet, increasing your exercise, and burning more calories than you consume are all proven methods for losing weight. Unfortunately, there aren’t any shortcuts; shedding pounds takes serious effort and serious commitment. You may want to consult with a nutritionist or a personal trainer as you embark on your weight-loss journey. Group fitness classes can also help keep you motivated.
Marin General Hospital offers the Health Weight for Wellness class that is personal, professional, and proven. If you’re ready to lose weight and make serious life changes, this could be the class for you. Learn more on Marin General Hospital’s website.
3. Spend Less and Save More
The consumer mentality of the holidays can leave your bank account looking a little sparse when January rolls around. If you’re looking to clean up your finances, start by itemizing your household budget and then looking for places where you can cut back. Maybe you don’t need all those streaming platforms or perhaps it’s time to sell some clothing at a consignment store.
Set up an automatic fund transfer into a savings account on every payday so you won’t be tempted to use the money later in the month. Wait 24 hours after adding a nonessential item to your online cart before clicking “buy” to make sure you really want it. Plan out nights you and your partner want to order takeout, and stick to the schedule. You can do it!
4. Be More Active
After just one workout, your mood brightens, your body image improves, your stress rate is reduced, and your brain is more capable of creative thinking. What are you waiting for? Enroll in a spin class, download a yoga app, and get moving.
Washington Hospital Healthcare System offers fee-based wellness classes including Pilates, active aging programs, and Tai Chi. Learn more about fee-based wellness classes on Washington Hospital Healthcare System’s website.
5. Improve Your Self-Care
Chronic or sustained levels of high stress can negatively affect our physical health and wellness. When we don’t take the time to do things we enjoy, or neglect basic self-care needs like getting enough sleep, we often experience mental or physical pain and fatigue. Self-care is about finding what reduces stress in your life and then doing more of it.
Some of the most common stress relievers include meditation, journaling, breathing exercises, massage, and yoga. Music therapy, playing with animals, or even improving your work-life balance can also make a big difference.
UCSF Health offer mindfulness-based stress reduction classes that are designed to help participants stay in the moment and get the most out of their lives through meditation, body awareness, and mindful movement.
Lally, P; Van Jaarsveld, C. H. M.; Potts, H.W.W.; and Wardle, Jane. (2009, July 16). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology. Retrieved from http://repositorio.ispa.pt/bitstream/10400.12/3364/1/IJSP_998-1009.pdf