It’s resolution time. For some of us, the New Year can mean discouragement, though. We may have tried to set resolutions in the past but failed to achieve them. If you have experienced this pattern, you are in good company. Studies suggest that about 90 percent of resolutions fail. One reason for this is that we set our sights to high. Lofty resolutions can make us feel doomed before we even start.
The most popular resolutions center on improving health. If you’re looking to set goals that affect your physical well-being, consider these modest, achievable resolutions to help you look and feel better in 2017:
- Let something go – It’s often too hard to completely overhaul our diets. Instead, focus on eliminating one or two unhealthy foods this year. Consider giving up soda in favor of water. If that’s too drastic, allow yourself one soda per week or less. If you’re a dessert fiend, consider allowing yourself a sweet ending to a meal in the form of fruit instead of sugary foods. Again, you can allow yourself a small splurge every once in a while, but plan for it and keep it modest.
- Integrate exercise – You need not dress up and go to the gym for exercise. You can integrate exercise into many of the activities you do each day. You can climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator and park farther away from your destination building. Walk the dog or play soccer with your kids instead of watching television.
- No more fad diets – Extreme diets are hard to sustain, so they often set us on a path to failure. Instead, write out modest meal plans and stick to them. Load up on protein and vegetables and cut down on carbs and sweets. Keep a food journal for accountability.
- Use your kitchen – Restaurant meals are often loaded with calories and unhealthy fats. Head back to your kitchen and start cooking your own food, using fresh and healthy ingredients. Your meals don’t have to be fancy. Grilled lean meat coupled with veggies and brown rice or a potato can taste indulgent without sabotaging your diet.
- Take a break from gadgets – Many people have trouble separating from electronic devices—even for short amounts of time. It’s easy to give in to the urge to incessantly check work emails and social media, but this can drive up stress levels unnecessarily. Try designating a couple hours each day to unplug. This can help you be more active, less burdened, and more engaged in relationships.
- De-clutter – You can further reduce stress levels in your life by clearing the clutter from your home and office. Pick two or three rooms to focus on, and discard things you haven’t used in the past year. Without clutter to contend with, you’ll get more done and feel greater peace.
Make simple resolutions—not grandiose ones. By picking just two or three simple things to work on, you can develop habits that are sustainable long term.