4 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

At 12:00 am on January first, people all over the world celebrate the new year.  Many people celebrate the beginning of another year by making a promise to better themselves or the world in some way.  While New Year’s resolutions are a great idea, all too often, they fall by the wayside after only a few weeks or months. The key to making a successful New Year’s resolution is to find something that is feasible for you to accomplish.  Maybe instead of making one, huge resolution, you’ll be more successful making a few smaller resolutions.  This way it’s not all or nothing–there’s more opportunities to succeed.

1. Weight Loss

Without fail, each year tons of people vow to drop the extra weight they’ve gained over the years. These resolutions are easy to make, but hard to follow through on.  So how do you go about making a weight loss resolution you can keep? It’s important not to make unwieldy goals such as losing twenty pounds in two weeks.  Be realistic in your expectations.  Losing one to two pounds a week is normal; however, if you don’t have much weight to lose, it may take longer.

Don’t set time limits.  If you’re goal is to lose ten pounds, don’t force a time constraint on yourself.  Give yourself plenty of time to accomplish your goal.  If you set a time and fail to meet the deadline, it’s easy to give up on yourself.  Instead, come up with a plan. Saying the words, “I am going to lose weight this year,” isn’t enough.  You have to consider all the nitty-gritty details that go into losing weight and decide how to best approach them. Part of this means rethinking your eating habits and level of physical activity.

2. Exercise

While making a resolution to exercise regularly may align closely with the weight loss resolution, it certainly doesn’t have to. There are many people who start to realize that another year has gone by in their life, and maybe this is the year to start paying attention to their bodies.  Whether you want to start exercising regularly to lose weight or get healthy, set achievable goals for yourself.

If you work full-time or take care of a family, it may be unrealistic to work out for an hour and a half five to six days a week.  Start small and work your way up.  Start by setting 3 days a week as a goal, or more, if you’re confident you have the time. Avoid burning out or injuring yourself by doing too much too fast.  If you want to strength train, start with lighter weights for the first few weeks and then steadily increase the weight by small increments. With cardio exercises, you may find that you don’t have the endurance to work out for an hour.  Set 40-45 minutes as a goal time.  If you fall short at first, don’t quit–you’ll get there with a little work!

3. Quit Smoking

This is also another one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions.  Unfortunately, this is probably one of the toughest because it involves overcoming a powerful addiction to nicotine. While some people have been successful quitting smoking cold turkey, many more people are not.  Ideally, the cold turkey method seems like the easiest way to quit because all you might need to do is to buy nicotine replacement products, but as smoker can tell you, it’s an extremely hard urge to overcome.  Above everything, don’t consider yourself a failure if you have a cigarette.  As with anything that’s difficult, you’ll have moments of weakness, but that doesn’t mean you’ve lost all your hard-earned progress.  Put your mistakes behind you, and think about how you can find a better way to deal with nicotine cravings.

Nowadays, there are so many more options to help people quit.  Visiting your doctor should be your first step.  This way you can be informed about all the potential options for quitting up front. After getting advice from your doctor, include your family and friends in on your resolution so that they can help support and motivate you through a difficult journey.

4. Spend More Time with Family and Friends

Family and friends probably rank at the top of most peoples’ lists for what’s most important to them in life.  But too often life gets in the way and prevents us from spending as much quality time as we can with them.  With work and other life events, friends and even family members can disappear from our lives.  Every week, schedule a family/friend time. Maybe this is a family dinner or maybe you and your best friends hang out.  It doesn’t have to be a formal gathering, just an excuse to keep in touch.  If your schedule is jam packed, a phone call is another great option.  You don’t have to make it a two hour call, just a call to check in and get the latest news.

Prioritize your life.  If family and friends are as important as you believe they are, you may need to rearrange your life a bit. Make a list of all the major things you do in a single week.  Where is most of your time spent?  How much free time do you have? Look for the gaps in your week, and find a way to make that time count.  If you don’t see gaps, then figure out what you can afford to reduce or cut back on in order to spend more time with family and friends. With a little rearranging and prioritizing, you’ll find enough time to stay close with the people you care most about.