The new year is fast approaching, and with it, an opportunity for growth and personal improvement. Setting a New Year’s Resolution is a tradition that focuses on the importance of bettering ourselves, one year at a time. Unfortunately, lackluster resolutions and wavering motivations make it so that only 8% of people who set New Year’s Resolutions actually follow through on them. If you’re passionate about self-improvement, however, it’s possible to set a New Year’s Resolution that sticks. The key is to set a resolution that is enjoyable to you in some way, and then to ensure that your goal is specific and attainable. Here are some common New Year’s Resolutions and our suggested upgrades to help you make a resolution in 2019 that you don’t need to repeat in 2020.
Traditional Resolution: Read More Books
Reading more books is a great resolution because it focuses both on improving your mind and on self-care. Many people don’t take enough time for themselves, leading to increased levels of stress and anxiety. But because the goal of reading more books isn’t specific, it’s easy to continue postponing your personal goals in lieu of other pursuits, which can allow this goal to fall by the wayside. Instead, consider one of these resolution upgrades.
Read 12 Books in 2019: Setting small, attainable goals can allow you to make progress and feel fueled by the momentum. Setting the goal of reading 12 books in 2019 asks you to read one book each month. You can even record the books you read in a journal, perhaps with some comments for yourself to help you remember what you read. This can not only help the books sink in, but also leave you with a tangible reminder of the progress you make.
Read for 20 Minutes Before Bed Each Night: Studies show that screen time before bed can ruin your sleep. This resolution is not only easy and attainable, but it also replaces a bad habit, like watching TV or checking your phone before bed, with a habit that’s more likely to lead to a good night’s sleep. And by reading a little bit every day, you will naturally read more books throughout the year.
Traditional Resolution: Get More Exercise
Working out on a regular basis is a healthy habit that our bodies need. Unfortunately, it’s also a hard habit to start. Not only does it take motivation, but it also cuts into free time that many of us already feel we have too little of. Couple that with a less-than-specific goal, and you’re all but doomed to fail. Instead, try one of these resolution upgrades to actually get more exercise into your life.
Attend a Weekly Exercise Class: We’re more dedicated to our workout when there are people to hold us accountable to them, and we hate wasting money. Signing up for a workout class that meets once a week can be a great way to purchase accountability. It can also be a great way to meet like-minded individuals. Be sure to sign up for a class that you’ll enjoy so that going to the class every week doesn’t become a chore.
Walk for 20 Minutes Each Day: Walking is a low-impact exercise that almost anyone can do. It doesn’t cost money, and it doesn’t require specialized exercise equipment. Despite that, getting in the habit of walking every day can improve cardiovascular health while also helping you get in the mindset of working out. Once you master walking every day, you can add in workouts or replace some of your walks with other types of workouts, but getting used to walking first can give you the oomph you need to get there.
Traditional Resolution: Eat Healthier
Eating healthier is another resolution many of us make and few of us keep. January is marked by many people picking up a fad diet, sticking to it for a few weeks, and then dropping it again. But science shows that real weight loss comes not from starting a fad diet but from making small, tangible dietary changes that you can stick to. So instead of making a blanket decision to eat healthier, cutting carbs or sugars from your life, or starting a fad diet, try implementing one of these measurable changes instead.
Eat 5 Servings of Vegetables Every Day: If you’re the type of person who has a hard time eating vegetables, challenge yourself to eat 5 real servings of vegetables every day. Set yourself up for success by buying vegetables that you actually enjoy eating and keeping your house stocked not only with ones to eat with meals but with ones you can have as snacks. This is also a great way to limit your junk food intake without banning junk food, because when you eat more of the good stuff, you’re less hungry for the bad stuff.
Make Your Own Coffee: Switching from ordering coffee at a fast food restaurant on your way to work to making your own coffee may not seem like a big difference, but it is. When you make your own coffee, you’re likely to use less sugar than if you order while you’re out. You’re also less likely to order extra treats, like donuts or croissants, that increase your Calorie intake.
There’s nothing wrong with traditional New Year’s resolutions, but by giving this year’s resolution a small upgrade to ensure that it’s specific and attainable, you give yourself a better chance of actually being able to stick to your guns this year and make the changes you want to make in your life. By this time next year, you should be able to build on the success from 2019, keep the momentum going, and make ever more lasting changes in your life—and that’s what we all want.