15 Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions and How to Keep Them
A new year is upon us and with it, a chance to renew our
resolve to live well, be healthy and strive for deeper, more meaningful
connections. Here's a look at some popular New Year's resolutions, with tips
for making them stick.
1. Get in shape
Good choice! Here are 10 positive things that happen to your
body after just one workout. According to a 2015 Nielsen survey, the most
common New Year's resolutions have to do with getting in shape. If you're
resolving to hit the gym to improve your health or just your physique, you can
avoid falling off the fitness cliff come February by enlisting a friend to
exercise with you, or joining a regular class where you'll be missed if you
skip a session or two. Need additional motivation? Personal trainer Larysa
DiDio recommends using fitness technology to stay on track. "Fitbits will
tell you when you've been sitting too long and you need to move. Food apps will
tell you when you've eaten too much and you need to stop. Exercise apps will
tell you how many calories you've burned. All this information will keep you
aware and working toward your goals," said DiDio in an interview with
2. Lose weight
Spend any amount of time on Instagram and you won't be able
to avoid the avalanche of products and schemes promising quick weight loss. And
while the thought of shrinking a dress size or five by Christmas morning is a
gift in itself, there really aren't any shortcuts when it comes to dropping
pounds. (If you're over 40, try this diet plan to lose weight, feel great, and
be healthy.) While we've long heard the message that the key to weight loss
lies in diet and exercise, the latest research suggests that, while exercise is
important for overall health and keeping weight off, it isn't actually that
useful for weight loss. The bottom line: If you want to lose weight, focus on
3. Enjoy life to the fullest
If you need inspiration to put this resolution on the list,
check out these 15 stories that prove it's never too late to change your life.
A 2016 survey conducted by GoBankingRates.com found that the top New Year's
resolution among respondents was "enjoy life to the fullest."
According to psychologist Jonathan Fader, PhD, the key to enjoying life to the
fullest lies not in making major life changes, but in actively practicing
enjoyment of life as it currently is.
"Have a daily ritual around enjoyment: Upon waking, ask
yourself, "What do I look forward to most today." At the end of your
day, ask yourself, "What was the most enjoyable part of my day and
why?" wrote Fader in Psychology Today.
4. Spend less, save more
If your bank account is looking a little anemic after the
holiday gifts have all been purchased, you may be one of the many people who
resolve to get their financial house in order in 2018. To get you started, here
are 12 ways to reduce waste and save money every month. Ginger Dean, blogger at
Girls Just Wanna Have Funds, recommends setting a budget and then looking for
ways to cut costs. Buy and sell clothes at consignment stores, consider
refurbished electronics, buy produce when it's on sale, and bundle your car,
home, and life insurance. "Paying separately for auto, life, and home
insurance can get expensive. Ask your insurance agent if you will receive a
discount for bundling policies. Before renewing an insurance policy, shop
around and see if you can find the cheapest car insurance rate quotes out
there," wrote Dean in Forbes.
5. Spend more time with family and friends
Spending time with loved ones is great for your health and
well-being, so it's not surprising that many people resolve to put more effort
into nurturing their connections with family and friends. Set aside time each
week to either call or meet up with a friend or family member. Take turns
hosting dinner, or just get together for a walk. Friends far away? Set up a
weekly Skype chat instead.
6. Get organized
Getting organized is a noble goal—here are more great tips
for getting—and staying—organized. But in order to make this resolution stick,
you're going to need some concrete strategies. Nicole Anzia, founder of
Neatnik.org, recommends avoiding impulse purchases so you don't end up with
more clutter, setting aside 10 minutes each day to filed and delete old emails,
and setting up files to keep track of paperwork, such as medical bills, taxes
and home maintenance documents. "Even if you do almost everything
electronically, you will still have important papers that need a home. Creating
files for those papers will make it a breeze to put things away properly,"
wrote Anzia in an article in The Washington Post.
7. Learn something new
This is one of the most commonly broken resolutions, and the
reason should be clear to anyone who's ever tried to take up Mandarin or become
a concert pianist in their spare time. Learning new things can be frustrating,
hard, and a drain on one's time. Avoid becoming a continuing education dropout
by starting small. Instead of signing up for a language class, start out with a
language-learning app such as Duolingo. And instead of resolving to master the
art of French cooking, start by mastering a single French recipe, then build on
your skills later on.
8. Travel more
According to Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the
University of Hertfordshire, most people don't succeed at their New Year's
resolutions, but there are strategies you can use to improve your odds of
success. "Many of the most successful techniques involve making a plan and
helping yourself stick to it," said Wiseman in an interview with The Guardian.
If you want to travel more in 2018, be specific about where
you want to go, when you want to go there, and what you'd like to do when you
get there. Then start researching to find out what it's going to cost, what
you'll need to bring, and how much time you'll want to spend. From there, you
can create a budget, start a travel fund, and let your friends and family know
that you're planning a fabulous trip. Letting others in on your plans will help
keep you accountable.
9. Break your smartphone addiction
Don't believe it's possible? Cell phone addiction is
real—check this out. The average person checks their phone a whopping 100 times
a day, according to The Daily Mail. If you're ready to reclaim some of your
time and break your digital addiction, you could go cold turkey and go back to
using a bare-bones phone. If you're more interested in moderating your usage,
try these tips that Adam Alter, a professor of marketing at NYU and author of
Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us
Hooked, shared with The Week. 1) Turn off all non-essential notifications, and
keep your phone as far from you as possible. 2) Give yourself set periods of
time to check email, Facebook, etc., so you don't end up mindlessly fooling
around on your phone for an hour when you only meant to give your newsfeed a
quick glance. 3) Replace the habit. Instead of reaching for your phone, grab a
magazine or book instead.
10. Eat at home more
If you're hooked on takeout, it's probably taking a toll on
your bank account and your health. Cooking at home is cheaper and better for
your waistline than ordering in or eating out, since you're in charge of the
ingredients. Start by learning these eight cook-at-home tips. Then stock your
kitchen with the right tools and have some go-to weeknight recipes; that way
you can take a lot of the time and frustration out of meal planning. Apps such
as Yummly and Mealboard simplify the process by generating shopping lists and
letting you filter recipes by prep time, nutrition, seasonality, and more.
11. Drink less
If you'd like to cut back on your alcohol consumption in the
New Year, John C. Norcross, PhD, and author of Changeology: 5 Steps to
Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions, recommends avoiding situations—like Bunco
parties or happy hours with friends—that may tempt you into drinking too much.
Instead, invite guests to your home for dinner so you can control how much
alcohol is served, and how much you drink. Here are 17 more tips for cutting
back on booze.
12. Stop smoking
According to the American Cancer Society, only 4 to 7
percent of smokers manage to quit in any given attempt, but those odds improve
dramatically—up to 25 percent—when people combine counseling with anti-smoking
medication. "People can mix and match and find a combination that works
best for them," said Yvonne Hunt, a program director at the National
Cancer Institute's tobacco control research branch.
13. Reduce stress
You know it's bad for you—so here are 37 stress management
tips. If you're resolving to reduce your stress in the New Year, you might try
this resolution: Make meditation a habit. By setting aside ten minutes a day to
meditate, you can make real progress toward your stress-reduction goal.
"Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain's neural
pathways, making you more resilient to stress," said psychologist Robbie
Maller Hartman, PhD, in an interview with WebMD.
14. Get more sleep
Good sleep is essential to overall health, so resolving to
sleep better is smart. If you struggle to fall asleep, try these 11 tricks that
really work. The sleep wizards at Sleep.org say that in order to improve your
sleep, you need to think about your habits and environment. First, try to go to
bed at the same time every night, so your body will get used to the routine and
naturally start to wind down. Avoid caffeine after midday, and have your last
alcoholic beverage at least two to three hours before your bedtime. Make your
bedroom a sleep haven, with comfortable bedding, a soothing color scheme, and
limited distractions, such as pets.
15. Floss regularly
Most of us can remember to brush our teeth at least twice a
day, but it's a different story when it comes to flossing. (If you're not
convinced you need to floss, read this.) After each dentist appointment (and
stern lecture from the dentist), it's common to go through a brief period of
regular flossing followed by a return to old habits. But flossing is important
for preventing tooth decay, keeping your smile looking young, and avoiding
expensive dental bills and mouth pain. To make your flossing resolution stick,
Mark Burhenne, DDS, of askthedentist.com, recommends starting out slow, aiming
to floss once a week. He advises keeping floss around so you'll think of it
when you're watching tv or sitting in traffic. He also suggests creating a
visual cue to remind yourself. "I tell my patients to take a blank Post-It
and stick it on your mirror. That's a cue. Don't write things like 'floss' on
it—that sounds too authoritarian and disciplinary. Every time you see that note,
you'll know deep down, that means to floss. I did this to get into the habit
myself," wrote Dr. Burhenne.