In theory, a New Year’s resolution is a great idea. January is as good a time as any to change habits and make changes.
In practice, many ambitious goals made on January 1st dissolve into disappointment. But that doesn’t mean that all New Year’s resolution need to end in frustration and failure.
Instead of trying to simultaneously attempt all nine items on this list, choose one (or two) goals, and try it for a month or longer. Here are nine feasible resolutions to consider for 2017:
1. Walk more. If you spend a lot on cabs, Ubers, or gas, resolve to cut, or at least reduce, short driving trips. If you’re in the habit of driving the mile to the gym, your favorite café, or a friend’s house, walk instead.
2. Cut back on alcohol. A five-ounce glass of wine (red, white, or rosé) has approximately 100 calories per glass; the average 12-ounce serving of beer has 150 calories. If you don’t want to cut out alcohol completely, reduce the amount of drinks you buy out. Try a two-drink maximum whenever you’re out at the bar. The markup on alcohol is astronomical, anyway.
3. Try a takeout-free month. Challenge yourself to not order any takeout or delivery. If you’re eating out more than once a week, you might be adding at least a pound a month. By preparing lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of fresh vegetables at home, you can control the portion size and quality of food.
4. Drink water. Studies show that even mild dehydration can decrease brain function and memory and cause headaches. In contrast, staying hydrated can relieve constipation, kidney stones, hangovers, and can help with weight loss. Resolve to only use a reusable water bottle and, depending on the size, fill it up 3-4 times throughout the day.
5. Take care of your health, including your teeth and eyes. Some people choose to “save money” by not going to the dentist and then pay for it with money spent on cavity fillings. Preventative care can ensure that you aren’t paying for an issue that could have been avoided.
6. Journal. Writing down your aspirations in the morning can keep you laser-focused on your goals throughout the day. Write three answers to the question, “What would make today great?” and write a daily affirmation, such as “I am full of energy and vitality and my mind is calm and peaceful.” In the evening, write down three blessings or answer the question, “What are three good things that happened today?”
7. Choose a Number. Obviously, a common New Year’s resolution is weight loss. Weight is easy to measure, but set a realistic weight loss goal, such as five pounds in a month. Too often people have lofty expectations for how much weight and unreasonable timeframes to accomplish the goal. Create goals you can definitely accomplish, like: ‘Today I will go to the gym for twenty minutes,” or “I’ll attend three Zumba classes this week,” or ‘The next meal I eat will be made up from healthy food choices and the portions will be appropriate.”
8. Hold a Plank. Most people can commit to holding a plank. Try it in the morning as soon as you get out of bed. Planks work your core and your entire body, improving your posture and sculpting your waist. Build up to one minute if you need. Plus, by starting your day with a plank, you remind yourself to stay strong and active all day.
9. Find the Fun. People can get discouraged and give up when they experience a setback. Focus on the joys of exercise and be proud that your body is getting stronger. Think about the boost in energy you get after a workout. Set goals, but make them about making fitness fun: Join a class three days a week or sign up for a 5k race, such as a Color Run. Just find something you consider fun!