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The Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions And How To Successfully Complete Them

The Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions And How To Successfully Complete Them

At the dawn of each New Year, about forty-five percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions most frequently include resolving to lose weight, get more sleep, exercise, stop smoking, and stop drinking. Since only an estimated 8% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions are successful in keeping them, it is important to develop motivational methods for achieving these extremely common resolutions.[1] Below are the top 5 resolutions that make their way on most people’s New Year’s resolutions list, why they fail, and how to make those resolutions a success in the new year.

The Resolution to Lose Weight

Losing weight is one of the top New Year’s resolutions for the majority of people, and it is seemingly one of the most difficult to achieve. The trick to attaining this goal is to set a target weight loss number for yourself and have it be realistic. You should also plan out how you are going to lose the weight by establishing a weekly diet and exercise routine and have a deadline for meeting your weight loss goal. As nutritional expert Kristin Kirkpatrick states, “Having additional motivators like a workout buddy and being mindful of how and what you eat are important factors in reaching your weight loss goal.”

There have been numerous fads and ideas on how to lose weight, but the honest and real approach to weight loss is a diet rich in vegetables and fruits in combination with lots of exercise. It’s been proven medically that carbs will keep weight on. Eliminating all the bad carbs will cause rapid weight loss.[2] Bad carbs are considered “white” foods, like sugar, starch, milk, and potatoes. Good carbs come from whole wheat and grain products, which are permitted and recommended in limited intake.

The Resolution to Sleep More

Getting more sleep comes in at the number two spot. In a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it has been found that 1 in 3 adults do not get sufficient sleep. Many people lose sleep due to life distractions and worries. Those who are resolved to get more sleep can try natural methods, such as relaxation yoga or listening to soothing instrumental music, in order to increase their body’s urge to rest. Having a consistent sleep schedule, even on days off from work or school, can also help individuals get sufficient amounts of sleep.

The Resolution to Get More Exercise

Exercise more comes in at number three. About two-thirds of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions make fitness resolutions.[3] However, the majority of these people do not succeed with their goals due to lack of motivation and time. Establishing a reasonable workout routine and having a workout buddy can help keep people motivated to succeed. Also, using cell phone apps that track daily physical activity can be helpful in staying inspired.

The Resolution to Quit Smoking

For those who smoke, your New Year’s resolution comes in at the number four spot in the top five resolutions. Every year, many people resolve to stop smoking, yet some fall back on this habit. The best approach to stopping is to develop a plan for quitting. Having a set date for quitting and making loved ones aware of this plan are crucial steps toward success, as is spending time figuring out what triggers the drive to smoke.

Various medications for fighting nicotine addiction are also available with a written doctor’s prescription. Quitting cold turkey often proves ineffective, so having insight from a doctor, support from friends and family, and knowing what other free resources are out there can help with sticking to this resolution.

The Resolution to Stop Drinking

Knocking a drinking habit lands at number five.[4] As with smoking, many people make their New Year’s resolution to stop drinking, yet struggle to uphold this resolution throughout the year. One of the first steps in resolving to quit should be learning about the health benefits of quitting and what damage excessive drinking can do to the body and mind.

Establishing a solid support system and reaching out to different community-based resources are extremely important steps in maintaining sobriety. There are also a number of apps and online support available to help individuals track their sobriety goals and give them insights and group meeting availability.

Reference

[1] TN Nursery: Don’t Make A New Year’s Resolution You Can’t Keep
[2] WebMD: Carbohydrates: Natural Carbohydrate Foods vs Refined Carbs
[3] Psychology Today: Study Identifies No. 1 Source of Motivation to Exercise More
[4] Help Guide: Alcohol Abuse Treatment and Self-Help

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Last Updated on January 5, 2021

15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

Starting a journey with fitness goals is never easy, and you must remember this is not a crash diet; it is a lifestyle. Don’t panic and think you have to do it all at once, as this will most likely overwhelm you. You may also find yourself giving up because crash diets are not sustainable.

The best approach is to make simple changes to your daily habits, and over time, you will notice all your bad habits have turned into good ones.

Accordingly to a study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.[1] And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.

Here are 15 fitness goals to help you on your journey:

1. Drink More Water

W.H. Auden said it best when he said,

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”

With any diet, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking water will support your body with digestion, transporting nutrients to your bones and muscles, and even improving cognitive function.

Ideally, you want to drink about half your body weight in ounces per day, i.e. if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day.

2. Add Some Lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Water

It is recommended we sleep for about 8 hours a day, but this means we spend about 8 hours per day dehydrated. Therefore, hydrating your body first thing in the morning is absolutely necessary.

The best way to achieve hydration is by starting your day with a glass or even two of water. For that extra boost, add lemon juice and ½ teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. The lemon and apple cider vinegar will help your body with detoxifying, cleansing, and digestion.

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3. Stop Drinking Your Calories

Yes, keeping hydrated is important, but try to avoid high-calorie drinks, such as soft drinks, specialty coffee, and juices as they are full of fast-acting sugar.

Really push yourself to stop drinking such drinks, and before you know it, you will notice the benefits.

4. Start Stretching More Often

The benefits are vast and the repercussions of failing to stretch can be dramatic.

Do yourself a favor and always stretch before and after a workout. This will promote a healthy cool down, improve flexibility, and reduce next day aches. Failure to stretch can lead to injures and muscle damage.

Here’re some simple stretching exercises to get you started: 15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

5. Add in Some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

You may have heard about HIIT training because it is the big thing right now, and believe me when I say that it works and should absolutely be included in your fitness goals.

The benefits include lower body fat, increased stamina, leaner muscles, and fantastic hormonal benefits.

HIIT is where you perform an intense exercise for a very short time frame (about 30 seconds), followed by a slower exercise for about 90 seconds.

Performing a HIIT routine for 1-3 times a week will lead to great results.

6. Focus on Your Breathing When You Work Out

For the most part, breathing is second nature, but when exercising, you may find yourself holding your breath, and this can have negative consequences.

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It is important to consciously take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, as this will fill your lungs with oxygen and give you the necessary energy to continue your workout.

7. Build More Lean Muscle

We all want to have lean muscles. Not only does it look good, but it also has great health benefits, including:

  • Improved posture
  • Reduced body fat
  • Improved metabolism
  • Strong bones
  • Protects and improves joint health
  • Improved stamina

You can build lean muscle by lifting weights or through other specific exercises. Learn more about building muscle in this guide: How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

8. Decrease Body Fat

This may seem like an obvious one, but it is one of the most important steps to a healthier you. Reducing your body fat has a lot of benefits such as:

  • Improved joints and tendons
  • Lowered risk of diabetes
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Better performance and endurance
  • Improved appearance and confidence
  • Better hormonal profiles in your body

Remember, it is not a race to see how quickly you can decrease your body fat. Healthy weight loss is around 1-2 pounds a week for your fitness goals.[2]

Crash dieting or pushing yourself too much in the gym can lead to you achieving an unrealistic target, and you may find yourself gaining all the weight you have lost.

Think of it as a lifestyle, and take it slow and steady.

9. Eat More Greens

What you eat is the most important factor in a healthier living plan. It is important to ensure you are getting as many nutrients and vitamins from the food you are eating as possible.

Focus on dark, leafy greens, as they will provide you with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants—all of which you body needs!

Don’t forget to avoid processed and manufactured food. They are usually high in fat and have minimal vitamins.

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10. Start Eliminating Sugar

Another top goal you can start immediately is reducing the amount of sugar you consume. It also won’t cost you anything, and will save you money and improve your health in the long run.

There’s no surprise we eat too much sugar, and this should be one of your top fitness goals moving forward. Cutting out liquid calories is a great way to start. If you’re looking for something sweet, turn to fruits or even dark chocolate.

Be careful to eliminate sugar from your diet slowly. Cutting it out all at once can cause symptoms of sugar withdrawal, which can drive you back to sugary snacks[3].

Common symptoms of sugar withdrawal

    11. Allow Yourself to Rest and Recover

    The workout is where you go to break down muscle tissue, and it builds back through proper nutrition, rest, and recovery[4]. It might be tempting to go to the gym for two hours every day as hard as you can to achieve your goals, but that’s not the most effective approach.

    If you don’t allow for proper rest and recovery, it can set you back a few steps. Your body is more prone to injury and even illness as you can weaken your immune system from all the progressive intensity the body is facing.

    12. Get More Sleep

    When you are deprived of sleep, you make it next to impossible to achieve your health and fitness goals. Lack of sleep can increase stress hormones in your body, and over time these can lead to inflammation and chronic diseases.[5]

    Make sleep a priority to let your body heal and rejuvenate. A good approach is 7 to 8 hours. Also, allow yourself some wind-down time and a pre-bed routine to help get more consistent sleep every night.

    13. Focus on the Habit, Not the Result

    It’s easy to get caught up in trying to achieve a certain look or shed time off of your mile, but the more important focus is on the habit that will bring you closer to those fitness goals.

    Don’t look at the scale, the tape measurer, or the body fat percentage. Focus on the habits that will lead to those achievements.

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    Don’t compare yourself to where others are; you’re right where you need to be.

    14. Take Your Fitness Outside

    This may be hard depending on the weather you experience, but the more you can be outside exposed to fresh air and sunlight, the better.

    Being stuck in the gym doing cardio while staring at a wall won’t do much for your mental stimulation.

    Try to challenge your body more by getting outside. Hiking is great and also just running and walking. Give yourself more access to nature and a constantly changing environment. It also beats breathing in that recycled gym air.

    15. Do at Least One Pull Up

    This is a great last goal to focus on because it’s a great test of strength and to see how you are progressing with your fitness.

    If you haven’t been able to do one, you know what a challenge it can be. Having the goal of doing at least one pull up will not only show you how far you’ve progressed, but it is a great way to become dedicated and motivated.

    The Bottom Line

    These fitness goals will become more attainable through the year if you’re consistent with your fitness. Set yourself a concrete timeline for when you want to accomplish some or all of these in order to create realistic goals in the short term. In fact, start making one of these goals happen this month!

    More on Setting Fitness Goals

    Featured photo credit: Ivan Torres via unsplash.com

    Reference

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