With 2014 quickly drawing to a close (4 days left and counting down fast!), it makes us think about what 2015 can bring. There are so many new year’s resolutions that get made at this time of new beginnings. I wanted to talk about the best healthy new year resolutions that you can make, and how to stick with them, to ensure that your 2015 brings you tangibly closer to that better, healthier and more vibrant person that you can (and will!) be.
What’s the big deal behind new year resolutions anyway?
Every year without fail, I get asked what my new year resolutions are. To be honest, I never really set firm resolutions for the upcoming year, other than maybe have a few vague items that I’d like to work on. Why make resolutions? I don’t need a silly ‘rule’ or resolution to make me do something. Is there any value in setting these things that a lot of people end up forgetting about in a few months time anyway?
The thought of new year resolutions and making them just brings to mind a packed gym (I always found it funny how towards the end of the year there is nearly no one in the gym apart from a few die-hard stragglers, then come January, it’s absolutely packed).
But setting resolutions for the new year is something that people do actually do, and research shows that (like any type of goal setting) it is an extremely valuable thing to do.
Some Interesting New Year’s Resolutions Statistics
This data is from a study conducted back in 2002 on a relatively small group of people, but it makes for some interesting data to help quantify what kind of effects setting resolutions can have.
According to the study:
- the most popular resolutions are usually around health, finances or relationships
- around 40-50% of Americans usually make new year’s resolutions
- 8% are successful in achieving their resolutions
- 49% have infrequent success
- 24% fail and never succeed on their resolution for that year
- those who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve them compared to people who don’t make resolutions
Why Do People Fail at their New Year Resolutions?
The answer to this question is simple. People fail because they stop doing the action required for them to achieve their resolution. They forget why they wanted that in the first place, and let their wants in the ‘here and now’ be greater than their overall reason.
Here are some more statistics from the study mentioned previously – how long people stuck with their resolutions:
- For more than the first week: 75% (That’s a whopping 25% of people having dropped out on their resolutions within a week!)
- More than two weeks: 71%
- More than a month: 64%
- More than 6 months: 46%
Back in November, I wrote about finding your reason for sticking with exercise, and the same principles are true for any resolution. If you stuff up, then don’t dwell on it and give up. Start over again and move on like it never happened! That is the secret to success.
You only fail when you give up for good. So don’t give up.
Healthy You, Better You
I would argue that the majority of all new year resolutions are centered around health specifically.
Even those finance and relationship based resolutions are in some way health-related, because events in these areas of your life have a significant impact on your mental and emotional well-being.
Mental and emotional well-being of course then flows on to your physical well-being (ever heard how excessive stress can lead to poor health? A prime example of this).
A healthier you is a better you on all accounts. You’ll feel better, act better, look better, be better!
Health is a Lifestyle
If you want to be healthier (which you absolutely should!), you need to realize that being healthier is a lifestyle. It’s not something you attain with just one single action, or even a few actions.
Health is achieved by constant and never-ending action that together work to improve your lifestyle for a healthier you. The trick is to manage those actions so that they’re not strenuous or painful that you can’t possibly keep up with them for the rest of your life.
In fact, that’s why a lot of diets and exercise programs end up failing. They’re simply too elaborate, too intricate, long and detailed, or too complicated, to sustain for the rest of your life. So when you inevitably give up on them, you also lose any of the benefits you might have seen.
That’s not what you want to do with your new year resolutions!
The Best Healthy New Year Resolutions to Make for 2015
So what are the best healthy new year resolutions to make? I’m all about putting in the least amount of effort to get maximum results – so I put together this list of simple yet effective resolutions that might resonate with you for 2015, or at least give you some ideas.
The key to success is to aim for small and manageable, but still pay attention to actions that will get you the results you want. Remember, health is a lifestyle.
- Plan to Create Healthy Habits – This is essential to success. The road to anywhere is often made up of taking many small steps in the same direction, and your everyday habits and routines are those little steps. Take the create a habit challenge and plan some healthy habits into your life.
- Drink More Water – Easy yet very effective to improve your overall health! Swap out some of those processed drinks like soda or sugary fruit-drinks, and switch to water. Yes, it may seem a bit more boring, but your body will thank you for it. For those who have already cut the processed drinks, then up the volume and increase your water intake! You should ultimately let thirst be your guide, but recommendations show that women should aim for 10 cups a day and men around 13 cups.
- Eat Less Processed Food – Again, a simple substitution can do wonders in increasing your overall health. Switch out processed fried foods, biscuits and snacks for nutritious whole-food natural products. Even just starting to read the nutrition information on food you purchase can help increase your awareness in this arena.
- Quit (or Just Eat Less) Sugar – Refined sugars spike our insulin levels in the body which can encourage weight gain. I know people who have ‘quit’ sugar, instead opting for natural sweeteners like agave nectar, stevia, or dried and fresh fruits to sweeten their food – with great results. You’ll need to watch out for processed foods which often have added sugar!
- Quit Smoking – Smoking is a terrible habit to have that wreaks havoc on your body. It’s not just your lungs that suffer, you also open yourself up to mouth, throat and gum cancers, as well as damaging your skin, nails and respiratory system. If you are a smoker – please consider coming up with a plan to quit this coming year. Your body will thank you for it.
- Exercise Every Day – I can’t promote this one enough, and this is what I’ll be aiming for this year! It doesn’t have to be much, even just 10 bodyweight squats or wall push-ups, but just get into the habit of doing a little bit of exercise for your body each day. I love exercising for the mental and physcial boost and self-confidence it gives you, not to mention the absolutely amazing health benefits!
- Connect with at Least 1 Person Each Day – Don’t forget about your social well-being. A good resolution to try is making a habit of connecting with at least one person every day, in person if possible. If you can’t get out in person, then it might just be a phone call to your mom or an old friend that you haven’t spoken to for ages, but connect on some level with someone. A game I like to play is to see if I can make that other person feel genuinely loved, cared for and appreciated, even if just for that moment.
- Be Grateful and Appreciate Every Day – It’s funny how we tend to take things for granted. If you do nothing else, resolve to be grateful for everything you have in your life at least once every day. When you wake up, set aside even just 30 seconds to pause and reflect. We aren’t really entitled to anything when it comes down to it. All that we experience in our lives truly is a blessing, so be thankful for even the small things, and show that gratitude freely to others.
Sticking With It
Ah, and now here is the most difficult part of it all – actually following through! Remember that 24% failure rate mentioned earlier? That may seem high, but you only really fail when you stop working towards what you want. If you don’t want to fail, the solution is simple – keep your eye on the goal, and just don’t give up!
I’d love to help you out with your healthy new year resolutions, so if you find that you are struggling with any of yours anytime during the year then please feel free to connect with me and I will do my best to keep you motivated!
I hope that you will actually set some resolutions this year that will bring you closer to your ideal self, because it has been shown time and time again that the simple act of just setting a goal already makes you more likely to succeed. How are you going to change your life this coming year?
Wishing you all a prosperous and blessed 2015, and may we all achieve our goals that we’ve set!