Almost half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions, yet two years later, only 19 percent have been able to keep them. One significant cause of this loss of resolve lies in the resolutions themselves; unrealistic resolutions are almost impossible to keep.
This year, start by getting your resolutions into shape before doing anything else. Check out these simple ways to make your resolutions more realistic.
Instead of “Lose weight,” try “Eat healthier.”
Year after year, people resolve to go on diets and swear off unhealthy foods. Yet before the summer, they’re back to their old habits. That’s because strict deprivation is almost impossible to maintain over the long term.
Instead of testing your willpower with a destined-to-fail diet, try making small, incremental steps to improve your overall eating habits. Before diving into a cheeseburger, eat a hearty salad first. You may still want the cheeseburger, but you might eat less of it if you’ve satisfied part of your appetite already.
When eating from USConnect’s Bistro To Go!® micro markets, make sure to look for the apple heart logo that indicates The Right Choice … for a Healthier You™ items to help you make better choices.
Instead of “Go to the gym every day,” try “Be more active.”
Every January, gyms across the country are overrun by New Year’s Resolutioners: people who have resolved to go to the gym more in the new year and are getting a good start on their goals. However, by February, the crowds have thinned out, and by summer, half the equipment is empty again.
Going to the gym every day is just not realistic for most people. But walking an extra 10 minutes a day is, along with taking the stairs, doing some yoga every day, or myriad other small changes.
Fitness experts suggest that fitness goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
Instead of “Be less stressed,” try “Work to improve my well-being.”
Stress and exhaustion can derail even the most realistic resolutions. Ordering yourself to be less stressed is counterproductive, but once again, there are many small steps that can help you achieve this goal. Tried-and-true methods include the following:
- Get more sleep by turning off all electronics an hour before bedtime. Studies consistently show that the blue light of short-wavelength-enhanced phone and tablet screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Researchers have found that actively being grateful is strongly correlated with happiness and a sense of well-being. The act of thinking about gratitude can actually affect brain chemicals!
- Try meditation. Meditation, mindfulness, and even just deep breathing exercises can reduce the amount of cortisol—a hormone linked to stress—in your brain.