15 Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions and How to Keep Them
A new year is upon us and with it, a chance to renew our resolve to live well, be healthy and strive for deeper, more meaningful connections. Here’s a look at some popular New Year’s resolutions, with tips for making them stick.
Get in shape
Good choice! According to a 2015 Nielsen survey, the most common New Year’s resolutions have to do with getting in shape. If you’re resolving to hit the gym to improve your health or just your physique, you can avoid falling off the fitness cliff come February by enlisting a friend to exercise with you, or joining a regular class where you’ll be missed if you skip a session or two. Need additional motivation? Fitness technology can help you stay on track. Today’s trackers can monitor aspects of your health from sleep to steps. All of the information can help you be more aware and strive closer to your fitness goals.
Spend any amount of time on Instagram and you won’t be able to avoid the avalanche of products and schemes promising quick weight loss. And while the thought of shrinking a dress size or five by Christmas morning is a gift in itself, there really aren’t any shortcuts when it comes to dropping pounds. While we’ve long heard the message that the key to weight loss lies in diet and exercise, a study published in Obesity Reviews suggests that, while exercise is important for overall health and keeping weight off, it isn’t actually that useful for weight loss. The bottom line: If you want to lose weight, focus on cutting calories. This is how doctors keep their New Year’s resolutions.
Enjoy life to the fullest
A 2018 survey conducted by GoBankingRates.com found that the top New Year’s resolution among respondents was “enjoy life to the fullest.” The key to enjoying life may lie not in making major life changes, but in actively enjoying your life as it is.
Spend less, save more
If your bank account is looking a little anemic after the holiday gifts have all been purchased, you may be one of the many people who resolve to get their financial house in order in 2018. Consider setting a budget and then looking for ways to cut costs or make some extra dough. Buy and sell clothes at consignment stores, consider refurbished electronics, buy produce when it’s on sale, and bundle your car, home, and life insurance. Here are 15 financial resolutions that will make you more money in 2019.
Spend more time with family and friends
Spending time with loved ones is great for your health and well-being, according to Harvard mental health experts, so it’s not surprising that many people resolve to put more effort into nurturing their connections with family and friends. Set aside time each week to either call or meet up with a friend or family member. Take turns hosting dinner, or just get together for a walk. Friends far away? Set up a weekly Skype chat instead.
Getting organized is a noble goal. But in order to make this resolution stick, you’re going to need some concrete strategies. Nicole Anzia, founder of Neatnik.org, recommends avoiding impulse purchases so you don’t end up with more clutter, setting aside 10 minutes each day to filed and delete old emails, and setting up files to keep track of paperwork, such as medical bills, taxes, and home maintenance documents.
Learn something new
This is one of the most commonly broken resolutions, and the reason should be clear to anyone who’s ever tried to take up Mandarin or become a concert pianist in their spare time. Learning new things can be frustrating, hard, and a drain on one’s time. Avoid becoming a continuing education dropout by starting small. Instead of signing up for a language class, start out with a language-learning app such as Duolingo. And instead of resolving to master the art of French cooking, start by mastering a single French recipe, then build on your skills later on. These are the 56 secrets life coaches won’t tell you for free.
Many of the most successful resolutions require planning and finding ways to stick to your goals. So if you want to travel more in 2019, be specific about where you want to go, when you want to go there, and what you’d like to do when you get there. Then start researching to find out what it’s going to cost, what you’ll need to bring, and how much time you’ll want to spend. From there, you can create a budget, start a travel fund, and let your friends and family know that you’re planning a fabulous trip. Letting others in on your plans will help keep you accountable.
Break your smartphone addiction
Don’t believe it’s possible? Cell phone addiction is real. The average person checks their phone a whopping 50 times a day, according to research from the Journal of Accountancy. If you’re ready to reclaim some of your time and break your digital addiction, you could go cold turkey and go back to using a bare-bones phone. If you’re more interested in moderating your usage, try turning off all non-essential notifications, and keeping your phone as far from you as possible, especially when you’ve come home from work. You can even give yourself set periods of time—as in established and timed—to check email, Facebook, etc.. This way, you don’t end up mindlessly playing on your phone for an hour (or more) when you only meant to give your feed a quick glance. Lastly, consider replacing your phone entirely. Grab a magazine or book instead. You can even try finger knitting.
Eat at home more
If you’re hooked on takeout, it’s probably taking a toll on your bank account and your health. Cooking at home is cheaper and better for your waistline than ordering in or eating out, since you’re in charge of the ingredients. Then stock your kitchen with the right tools and have some go-to weeknight recipes; that way you can take a lot of the time and frustration out of meal planning. Apps such as Yummly and Mealboard simplify the process by generating shopping lists and letting you filter recipes by prep time, nutrition, seasonality, and more. These are the 45 foods you’ve been buying that you could cook at home.
If you’d like to cut back on your alcohol consumption in the New Year, John C. Norcross, PhD, and author of Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions, recommends avoiding situations—like Bunco parties or happy hours with friends—that may tempt you into drinking too much. Instead, invite guests to your home for dinner so you can control how much alcohol is served, and how much you drink. Here are 17 more tips for cutting back on booze.
Stop smokingMarc Bruxelle/Shutterstock
According to the American Cancer Society, only 7 percent of smokers manage to quit in any given attempt, but those odds improve dramatically when people combine counseling with anti-smoking medication. “People can mix and match and find a combination that works best for them,” said Yvonne Hunt, a program director at the National Cancer Institute’s tobacco control research branch.
If you’re resolving to reduce your stress in the New Year, you might try this resolution: Make meditation a habit. By setting aside ten minutes a day to meditate, you can make real progress toward your stress-reduction goal, recommend the experts at the Mayo Clinic. This is the best health resolution for every month of the year.
Get more sleep
Good sleep is essential to overall health, so resolving to sleep better is smart. The sleep wizards at Sleep.org say that in order to improve your sleep, you need to think about your habits and environment. First, try to go to bed at the same time every night, so your body will get used to the routine and naturally start to wind down. Avoid caffeine after midday, and have your last alcoholic beverage at least two to three hours before your bedtime. Make your bedroom a sleep haven, with comfortable bedding, a soothing color scheme, and limited distractions, such as pets.
Most of us can remember to brush our teeth at least twice a day, but it’s a different story when it comes to flossing. After each dentist appointment (and a stern lecture from the dentist), it’s common to go through a brief period of regular flossing followed by a return to old habits. But flossing is important for preventing tooth decay, keeping your smile looking young, and avoiding expensive dental bills and mouth pain. To make your flossing resolution stick, Mark Burhenne, DDS, of askthedentist.com, recommends starting out slow, aiming to floss once a week. He advises keeping floss around so you’ll think of it when you’re watching tv or sitting in traffic. Next, check out these 50 ways to make a resolution stick.
- American Cancer Society: “Quit for Life.”
- CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians: “The American Cancer Society Public Health Statement on Eliminating Combustible Tobacco Use in the United States.”
- GOBankingRates: “’Enjoy Life to the Fullest’ Is 2018’s Top New Year’s Resolution.”
- Nicole Anzia, founder of Neatnik.org
- Journal of Accountancy: “Guess How Often You Use Your Phone Every Day?”
- Mayo Clinic: “Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress.”
- Obesity Reviews: “Why Do Individuals Not Lose More Weight From an Exercise Intervention at a Defined Dose? An Energy Balance Analysis.”
- Havard Women’s Health Watch: “The health benefits of strong relationships.”
- Mark Burhenne, DDS, of askthedentist.com
- UC San Diego Health: “12 Common (and Commonly Broken) New Year’s Resolutions.”