We’re already halfway through January which means that, statistically, a huge number of us will have made our New Year’s resolutions and already given up on them.
Research has found that 80% of New Year’s resolutions will have failed by February and there’s a simple reason for this startlingly high figure. Because the resolutions that we set are just too difficult and too unrealistic.
Completely overhauling your life takes significant effort, tonnes of willpower, and often a level of determination that many of us simply find impossible to achieve.
Don’t worry though, it’s not to late to use the New Year as an excuse to change your life for the better, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are ten awesome New Year’s resolutions that you can actually keep:
- Try A New AdventureThe infamous pirate Captain Hook once said that death was the only great adventure he had left. But whilst we wait for that adventure to begin, why not resolve to go on the adventure you’ve always wanted to take?
We all have adventurous dreams: To travel more. See the world. Or simply visit your cousins in Florida for a couple of days. So why not stop putting it off and book that trip you always wanted to take.
Travel broadens the horizons and enriches the mind. It is a wonderful way to learn more about different cultures, to educate yourself about world history and international politics, or simply to meet new people and have a hell of a lot of fun!
This might seem like a pretty big resolution, but modern travel is actually much easier than you might think. All you really need is a loose plan, a passport, and the determination to see it through. After all, you’re only young once. What have you got to lose?
2. Have One Alcohol-Free Evening, Every Week
Do you like a drink or two? The number of alcoholic drinks you consume in a week can quickly add up, often without you noticing.
A beer with the guys at the weekend. A bottle of wine with your girl after work. A catch up in the bar with your team from the office. Before you know it, you’re drinking every day and dealing with the consequences.
Hangovers, headaches, dehydration, dry mouth…the list of negative side effects caused by excessive alcohol consumption can seem endless. But let’s not forget that it can also be very enjoyable too.
If you enjoy drinking alcohol and it forms a key part of your social life then resolving to give up the booze simply isn’t realistic. And, let’s be honest, it doesn’t sound like much fun either!
So why not make a more realistic alcohol-related resolution you can actually stick to? Why not resolve to have just one night off the booze every week? This will force you to take some downtime (which is actually beneficial for your mental health) and will give your body the chance to recover, refresh and rejuvenate itself.
It’s an easy resolution to stick to, and one that will do you a lot of good!
3. Get Off the Snack Train
There’s nothing better than a late night snack: particularly if you’ve been out to a bar or party!
But most late night snacks are laden with sugar, fat, and they also tend to be high in stodgy carbohydrates. That’s longhand for their not good for your body and they make you fat!
Resolving to give up all snacking is a resolution that is likely to end in failure. Instead, why not resolve to give up snacking at night? It’s a goal that should be much easier to stick to, and will also eliminate the excess eating that’s worst for your health.
The speed of your metabolism is linked to the time of day and, for most people, your metabolism tends to slow down at night. That means that when you eat after dark you’re more likely to gain weight: not the ideal time for high calorie snacks!
We’re not saying you should give up snacking altogether. But you’ll be amazed at the improvement you’ll see to your waistline if you’re able to give up snacking after 6pm. A realistic goal, and an easy resolution to stick to!
4. Floss Your Teeth
If you’re not flossing your teeth every day, twice a day, then now is the perfect time to make this simple five-minute change your New Year’s resolution. Flossing your teeth is quick and easy to do, and it is something that can make a huge difference to the quality of your smile.
Your smile is one of your biggest assets, and you should never underestimate the importance of a healthy set of pearly white teeth.
People respond to a happy smile and it doesn’t matter how dapper your wardrobe is, or how buff is your body, if you don’t have a killer smile then you’re just not going to get the attention you’re looking for.
You might not think flossing is particularly essential to achieving the perfect smile but your dentist is right: it’s essential to keeping your teeth as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
New York University researchers proved the importance of flossing by examining 51 sets of twins, asking one to floss and one not to. They found that the twin who didn’t floss their teeth had more bacteria present in their mouth.
Bacteria leads to gum disease: the leading cause of tooth loss in the USA. Yuk. Is anyone else reaching for the floss immediately? Keep it up!
5. Take Up a New Hobby
Why are New Year’s Resolutions all about denial? Stop smoking, lose weight, stop eating sugar. Whilst these are all sensible resolutions (and ones worth making if you genuinely have a health problem) they are also all fundamentally boring.
Instead of resolving to do something dull, boring and worthy, why not resolve to do something fun instead? This is where the resolution to take up a new hobby comes in!
Whether you decide to start playing tennis, painting portraits or simply going to a weekly movie quiz night, hobbies are great for your physical and mental well being.
Active hobbies (such as joining sports teams or groups) are a great way to focus on weight loss and improving your fitness levels without putting too much pressure on yourself.
Meanwhile, all hobbies are great for increasing your social engagement, getting you out of the house and mixing with new people, which will benefit your overall levels of happiness, as well as helping to boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Learning something new boosts your brainpower and continuing to learn as you grow older will help to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. And let’s face it, it’s much more fun than staying home and eating broccoli all month!
6. Watch Less TV
We all love a nice lazy evening in front of the Gogglebox. Bingeing on a box set or two is a guilty pleasure that we’ve all enjoyed indulging in every now and again. But did you know that watching too much TV can actually be bad for your health?
We are watching more TV now than ever. The average American spends an astonishing 158 hours a month watching TV: a figure that has increased steadily year-on-year since the device was invented.
This is great for giving us endless water cooler conversation, but it isn’t good for our hearts: the more TV we’re watching the more sedentary we’re being. Research has shown that watching TV can be detrimental to your heart health.
In fact, a study from the American Heart Foundation found that individuals who watched four hours or more each day are 80 percent more likely to die from heart disease than those that are out and about being active instead.
7. Be Nicer
It might sound like a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason: when you smile, people smile back. Happiness is contagious!
Deciding to be nicer to those around you (strangers, as well as friends and family) is a wonderful resolution and one that’s easy to keep. Not only will it improve your life, it will also improve the lives of those around you too. And it requires so little effort!
When you get on the subway to work tomorrow morning, smile at the stranger getting on next to you. That smile could make their day. When you’re ordering your coffee in Starbucks, ask the barista how his day is going: and actually listen to the answer.
Social niceties and happiness can actually make you feel more connected to the world around you and can improve your overall mood and well being. But there are tangible benefits too.
People who are kind and giving to those around them are more likely to gain respect and generosity from their peers: this means that you’re more likely to get that promotion at work, and life will generally be easier and smoother for you if you’re kind. What have you got to lose?
8. Stop Social Smoking
Don’t class yourself as a smoker? Good for you! Cigarette smoking is a terrible habit: it contributes to a huge number of long-term illnesses and is also the cause of 90% of lung cancer deaths worldwide.
Many of us that don’t smoke on a regular basis or consider ourselves to be cigarette smokers do tend to have one bad habit related to nicotine consumption, however. This is a habit known as social smoking.
Not sure what social smoking is? If you’re at a bar or a party with your friends and you join them when they pop outside for a cigarette (and have a cheeky puff or two yourself) then you are a social smoker. And it’s a bad habit that can have a devastating impact on your health.
According to a recent study led by Dr Stella Daskalopoulou at the McGill University Health Centre in Canada, smoking just one cigarette can increase the stiffness of the arteries in 18-to-30-year-olds by 25 percent, leading to potentially catastrophic health issues.
Suddenly that occasional bar-smoked cigarette doesn’t look so appealing, does it? Social smoking is relatively easy to give up because, unlike being a regular smoker, your body isn’t used to the nicotine and its addictive properties, so you shouldn’t struggle to break the habit.
9. Be a Big Tipper
Following on from the resolution to be kinder to people, another easy resolution to adopt (if you have the spare cash) is to start tipping more generously. If you’ve never worked as a waiter before then you might not be aware just how much they rely on their tips.
For some servers, a generous tip can make the difference between their kids getting new shoes when they need them or not eating fresh fruit and vegetables this week. The average wage paid to servers in the USA is just $18,330 annually, and these individuals rely on tips to boost their salary to a figure that they can live on.
Being generous feels good. Leaving a generous tip not only helps out someone else but it also helps you to feel good about yourself and do something that will benefit wider society.
Of course, if you’re working in a low-paying job yourself then we’re not suggesting you start handing over cash you simply don’t have! But if you’re lucky enough to have a great career and a little extra cash left over each month then why not make it your New Year’s Resolution to do something worthwhile with some of it?
10. Take a Social Media Holiday
Do you regularly spend your downtime scrolling through Facebook and comparing your life to the lives of your friends, colleagues, and Colin that you met one night in college and haven’t seen since?
She’s just had a baby, he’s got a new job. They’re married, have a new house, just flew out on an exotic holiday. or simply just bought those shoes you wanted. The list of social media jealousy can seem almost endless!
If comparing your online life to the online lives of others makes you feel severely lacking then maybe it’s time to take a social media holiday.
I’m not talking about deleting your social media profiles completely (how will you keep up to date with the latest fashion trends, after all) but instead about turning your phone off when your enjoying some downtime and relishing the moments and memories that you are creating. Not wondering whether they’re as good as everyone else’s.
Not sure where to start? The key is to do it slowly! Don’t check into Facebook on date night. Turn your phone off when you head to the movies. Leave it in your pocket for the whole night at your next party: the more time you spend living in the moment, the easier you will find it.
Little changes can add up to make a big difference to your health, well-being, and overall levels of happiness. They’re not necessarily difficult to make, and many of them won’t change your life on their own, but making small resolutions such as these, you’re much more likely to stick to them.
The New Year is the perfect time to make a new start. You can be who you want to be, change your life for the better, and completely overhaul your life if you have the dedication and determination.
Or you can simply cut back on the booze once a week, give up the social smoking, focus on living a happier life and still notice the positive improvements that these little tweaks make to the quality of your life. Why not let this January be the time that you make a change?