Health & Wellness
New Year, Better You: 5 Alternative Ways to Make a Healthy Change
The majority of Americans don’t make New Year’s resolutions for many reasons – in fact, only eight percent of the people who do make resolutions actually fully achieve them. If you’re part of that group, congratulations! If you’re not, there might be a way for you to see the dreaded New Year’s resolution – or at least the underlying healthy habit – in a new light.
The key to making a healthy change is to set yourself up for success. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain muscle, sleep more, disconnect from your devices, or just live a happier life, there are strategies you can use to set a New Year’s resolution that is actually achievable.
Here are five tips for accomplishing healthy goals when New Year’s resolutions seem too intimidating.
- Mix it Up Month by Month—If your goal is to be healthier and live a better, more fulfilling life, consider making a list of beneficial changes and then focusing on one each month. One month, you could focus on reducing your sugar intake. Next month, focus on exercising regularly. The next, eating a healthy breakfast every morning, and so on. Having a set time to really focus on one positive change at a time can make resolutions feel less daunting and more achievable.
- Tap the Power of Positive Peer Pressure—If you’re trying to accomplish a monumental achievement like quitting smoking or losing 50 pounds, you’ll have a better chance of sticking to it if you talk about it. Feeling accountable to others and getting the support of friends and family greatly increases your chance at success.
- Use Milestones to Manage Expectations—If you want to choose one goal and stick to it for the full twelve months, consider breaking the year down into digestible timeframes. Many people miss out on making positive changes because they immediately think, “I can’t hit the gym five days a week for an entire year! What about holidays? What about summer? What about [insert excuse here].” Instead of choosing a resolution that sabotages itself before it even starts, write out a list of attainable achievement points. Exercise five days a week for one month. Then do two more months. If you know you’re coming upon a busy month, reduce your workout schedule to three days a week, or an amount you know you can manage. You can always increase your plan for the next milestone.
- Pile on the Positive—New Year’s resolutions don’t always have to be about cutting out unhealthy behaviors. Try adding something to your life rather than taking something away. Instead of vowing to never eat chocolate again, plan to add more protein to your diet, or eat a vegetable with every meal.
- Think Outside Yourself—Most people see making a resolution as a chance to better themselves. To look better, feel better, save more, earn more, and the list goes on. That’s great, but you could also consider a resolution that focuses on others instead of yourself. Some people find that it’s much easier and more rewarding to keep a promise to someone else rather than themselves.