It’s just about that time of year again—the time of year when we all make resolutions to optimistically declare how we’re going to turn our lives around in some way, shape, or form. However, research shows that only 8% of people follow through on their quest to better themselves. This means that, even though people take the time to make their resolutions, they tend to give up before they even really begin. Below are some of the most common resolutions made across the United States. If you follow through on these habits with the advice provided, you just might be able to transform into a better you in the upcoming year!
I have some bad news for you: America is one of the most overweight nations in the world. We have the most overweight and clinically obese people, with 40% of our population carrying around excess weight. But with a bit of willpower and knowledge, it has never been easier to stay on task and lose those extra pounds.
The key to staying on track with your exercise goals is to start small. If you don’t exercise now, establishing a goal of five times a week may be too difficult a shift to maintain. Remember: you’re trying to make lasting changes, so you have to do so in achievable steps. Instead of making it a goal to run every day, go for a 15-minute walk at least five times a week. Gradually increase the difficulty of your activity to make sure it’s an attainable goal. That said, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself!
Although making sure that goals are attainable is the key to revamping your exercise habits, there are other things that can help you. Finding a gym buddy or a class, for example, can make the process more social and less of a chore. Finding exercise such as rock climbing or yoga can help you hone skills while still exercising. If it’s within your means, starting out with a personal trainer can help you identify the correct ways to exercise. If you want to keep it simple, you can always go for a walk or run around your own neighborhood.
2. Eat Healthier
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t outrun a bad diet”? While it may just sound like another motivational saying, there’s some truth behind this. Up to 80% of your fitness and health goals are dependent on your diet. While this is uplifting for some and ominous for others that want to achieve their fitness goals, it is important to remember that identifying the problem is half the battle.
While exercise is key to maintaining your health and fitness, diet goes a long way. Similar to exercise, it is important not to shift your entire diet in one go. Although you may envision yourself eating kale salads, drinking green smoothies, and eating almonds as a snack, your focus needs to be on your current diet so you can make sustainable changes. If you’re a heavy soda or beer drinker, cut it out. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, downgrade from candy bars to one square of chocolate after dinner. Practice moderation and learn what healthy recipes you do like.
At the beginning of any habit change, particularly diet, it may be a bit time consuming. But as you get used to meal planning, healthy substitutions, and coordinating cheat days, you’ll be building the habits and they will slowly be less cumbersome.
3. Adding Supplements to Your Health Routine
As we’ve already made clear, health is a major priority when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Supplements have always been a convenient way to reach our daily needed allowances of various vitamins and minerals that we may not get otherwise, either due to diet, geographic location, or other factors. However, as the industry expands, supplements are being formulated that can help us improve our energy levels, hair growth time, and overall health.
By researching available supplements, you can find those that target your specific concerns. For example, the supplement Basis by the company Elysium Health (who we’ve talked about here) raises NAD+ levels, which plays a role in many cellular functions. What’s more, unlike most of these resolutions, the only life-change supplements require is remembering to take them every day.
4. Taking Classes
You may not need to go back to school, but the object of learning shouldn’t just be getting a degree. Expanding your knowledge base or learning a new skill is at the top of many New Year’s resolution lists. Many universities in the U.S., particularly public ones, have the option available to audit classes for costs much lower than the cost of attending the institution. The information is readily available online for most of these schools.
In fact, speaking of the internet: there are countless courses available online in subjects ranging from history to math to carpentry to philosophy. If you have a specific thing you want to learn—or just want to keep your mind sharp—these are a great opportunity, as they are often self-paced and cover a wide range of topics.
If you don’t quite want to go so in-depth, there are many apps that allow you to learn on the go. One such app is Duolingo, which offers you a curriculum on a language of your choosing depending on your beginning fluency, though these “learning apps” cover much more than language learning.
5. Expanding and Maintaining Your Social Circles
Believe it or not, one of the most common resolutions is to connect with others, whether that be revamping old friendships or getting out there to meet new people. After all, we can always use more friends in our lives. With the ever-increasing prevalence of social media, we can simultaneously feel closer to and farther from the people in our lives. While social media can be a valuable tool in staying connected, it is hardly enough to build and maintain friendships. So in 2018, get off your phone and get out there!
With existing friendships, all it takes is making plans and following through. Whether you go to movies, out to dinner, on a weekend trip, or just for a walk, all it takes to keep a friendship going is quality time.
It’s meeting people that can be tricky, but don’t let the possible difficulty stop you from trying. You can sign up for social groups or events specifically designed to introduce people to one another, such as speed dating, or join groups that focus around activities you enjoy. Say yes to group plans with friends—since there are surely people they know that you don’t—and, perhaps most importantly, don’t spend every unoccupied moment on your phone. What you’ve been missing may surprise you.
6. Reading All the Books on Your List
Reading lists seem to always get longer. That, coupled with the temptation to check out quick reads on the computer instead, can make it very difficult to tackle your reading list. As with most resolutions, the key to getting through your list to cut it down into reasonable goals.
For starters: it’s better to read anything than nothing at all! You don’t have to start with Ulysses to prove yourself as a reader. Mysteries, dramas, even young adult fiction—all of these are easy-to-read genres that can get you back into the swing of reading. Leave your more difficult books for later, and start small as you get back into the habit of regular reading.
There are also resources that make it easier to read and stay accountable. Public libraries carry hundreds—if not thousands—of titles, meaning that your rekindled love of reading doesn’t need to break the bank. Plus, though reading tends to be a solitary activity, there are websites like Goodreads that allow you to track your progress, log what you’ve read and want to read, categorize your favorites, and see what your friends are reading. By incorporating reading into your daily routine, you’ll be taking time for yourself, enriching yourself with different perspectives, and slowly but surely crossing titles off of your list.
7. Saving Money
Perhaps because of the effects holiday shopping can have on your bank account, saving money is another common New Year’s resolution. After all, it doesn’t matter how much money you make, but how much you spend—right?
While that may or may not be true, it is true that, unless you’re looking for a new job, the money you make is the money you have to work with. The key is budgeting. Make a list of your regular payments—utilities, rent, car payment, etc.—and how much each takes from your monthly earnings. Determine how much monthly “allowance” you’d like to give yourself, and then put the rest in savings. Of course, you can shift this strategy to suit your needs, but let it act as a manageable framework to start from.
Additionally, apps like Acorns allow you to invest your change into stocks, which may result in a little bit of cash down the line without you needing to have strong investing expertise.
8. Actually Going on Vacation
Planning a vacation can be one of the most difficult New Year’s resolutions to complete. It requires taking time off of work, saving, planning where to go, coordinating with loved ones and friends—the list goes on.
However, achieving your goal to travel doesn’t have to be so complicated. While big trips—like going overseas, for example—may not be achievable without substantial funds and planning, weekend trips are a great way to get out without going broke. Going camping or to a city only a few hours away can give you all the benefits of taking some time away. Additionally, services like Scott’s Cheap Flights and Airbnb can further alleviate travel stress with cheap travel and places to stay.
The bottom line is: don’t let your aspirations stand in the way of making real change in 2018. Good luck, and happy New Year!