Christmas time is quickly approaching. Accompanying it are the usual festivities including copious amounts of hefty meals, nights out, and general laziness. This time of year seems to leave us reeling once it is over. So much so that we turn to resolutions when approaching the new year. On a psychological level, resolutions give us the boost we need to get over the often grim reality of January. However, the truth is most of us don’t stick to these resolutions, myself included.
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who make New Year’s resolutions were successful at keeping them. Over half failed to keep them. The same study also included “non-resolvers”. These were people who did not make resolutions, rather, they set goals, only 4% of this group were successful at maintaining their goals. We are going to look at the most common resolutions, and tips for seeing them through.
- Exercise More
I think the most talked about resolution, year in and year out, is people vowing to get themselves into great shape. Developing the body of a god is such an appealing goal! However, the reality is people want to ‘drink the juice without squeezing the orange’, so to speak.
Working out and getting your body into shape is hard work, particularly at the beginning. Hence, you may have noticed gyms are packed for the month of January, but from February onwards, the numbers begin to dwindle. You need to start off small. Don’t enter the gym and try to compete with other gym-goers (whom you don’t even know). Listen to your body. The same goes with any exercise, start small and build slowly. Who knows, you may begin to enjoy it, transforming it into a hobby rather than a chore.
- Eat Healthily
Eating healthily and exercising more go hand in hand when you are looking to transform your body. You cannot exercise excessively whilst eating rubbish food and expect results. Nutrition is arguably more important than exercise. You need to provide your body with premium fuel so that it can operate to the extent of its ability.
Perhaps you aren’t looking to get in shape, but want to improve your diet nonetheless for a number of health reasons. Eating vegetables and fruit can help improve cognitive function, meaning you can be on the top of your game in whatever professional setting you are in. Everything you need to know about a healthy diet can be found online. For those of you that are not the self motivated type (and have money to spare), contact a trainer or nutritionist.
- Spend Less Time on Social Media.
Everybody should give this resolution a try. Social media is taking over our lives. And yes, I understand that you are probably reading this article through a link from social media, which I posted. It is not that you have to cut social media out of your life completely, just lessen your active screen time. According to a 2019 survey, the average person looks at their phone 50 times a day.
When you are idle, sitting around with nothing to do, rather than scrolling mindlessly through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc, try to educate yourself on a topic, or read a book. If you wanted to go all out, you could revert back to using an old style phone, just the basics – talk and text. If you are not ready to give up your smart phone completely, try turning off all non-essential notifications and setting yourself time slots for using certain apps.
- Pursue a Career ambition
What have you always wanted to do? And I don’t mean to be an astronaut, or cowboy, unless of course you are a genius, or own a ranch. I mean, what career do you think your skills are best suited for? You would be surprised how achievable many jobs are as long as you have perseverance and a degree of courage. Really, it comes down to how badly you want it.
Take everything one small step at a time, it all adds up in the long run. If you have been thinking of pursuing a certain career, but your lack of qualification is holding you back, find out how to obtain that qualification. For example, you may need to do a college course. First thing’s first, fill out the application for the college, and go from there.
- Give Up Smoking
For all you smokers out there, I can imagine this resolution is a yearly occurrence. Putting all the health risks aside, the sheer price of a box of cigarettes these days is ridiculous. Having to fork out the €15 for twenty smokes is reason enough to stick to this resolution!
However, we don’t live in an ideal world whereby people can just stop whenever they want. Unfortunately, these little sticks are quite addictive. Vapes seem to work for a lot of people, but the health risks attached to them are also questionable. Really, there is no substitute for good ol’ fashioned will power. If you are a competitive person, treat it as a competition against yourself.
If you are not the competitive type and have no interest in vaping, you still have options. Only 7% of smokers manage to quit in any given attempt. However, this percentage improves dramatically when coupled with counselling and anti-smoking medication. So, perhaps giving your doctor a call may be the best step for you.
- Save Money
Christmas is typically a period where we tend to go all out. Whether you are young and carefree and are just enjoying the “silly season”, or you have a family and Santa is visiting your home, the outcome is the same: you have a considerably large hole in your pocket come January. Committing to saving money as a New Year’s resolution is a popular one.
Firstly, you can consider making a budget for the year ahead. It is next to impossible to adequately save money without some kind of plan. Subsequently, you can look for ways to cut costs, or make extra money i.e., part-time work. Try selling some of your old clothes and electronic products you have lying around the house. Also, if you are in the ‘smoker’ category I previously mentioned, or drink excessively, try cutting back.
- Learn a new hobby
Learning something new is the most commonly broken New Year’s resolution. This is because it can be frustrating, difficult, and ultimately time consuming. Not to worry, advancements in technology are helping to combat these hurdles.
Learning a new language is a good example. In the past, you would have to sign up for a language class and physically take an hour or more out of your day to attend, possibly more than once a week. Now you can download an app on your phone and work from there. The app is Duolingo. I’ve used it myself and it really does work. All you need to do is give 5-15 minutes of your day to do a quick lesson.
Of course, you may not want to learn a new language at all. Generally speaking, whatever hobby sparks your interest, the odds are you will be able to find a “how to” tutorial on the internet and take it from there. Similar to the other resolutions on this list, take it one step at a time. Whether you are good or bad at your chosen hobby is irrelevant, it is all about how consistently you are at doing it.
- Adopt a new personality trait
People wanting to improve their personality is extremely common. Shy people wish they were more outgoing and talkative. Individuals with anger problems may want to ‘keep their head’ more often. Others may just want to become more generous, kind, or patient. There are small things you can do to improve your personality.
For example, one objective that you can set for yourself could be to give one compliment a day, or display some other random act of kindness. It could really change someone’s day for the better, and in return it could change the way people look at you.
Other personality traits to consider adopting for your New Year’s resolution could be becoming more conscientious, or improving your self-discipline. If you can work on adopting some of these traits, just a bit at a time, in return they could help you keep any of the other New Year’s resolutions on this list.
New Year’s Resolutions can seem daunting, difficult, and time consuming when you view them as a whole. Rather than viewing them as one big task, break it up into many little goals that are simple to keep. If anything, this makes the resolution more approachable. So, enjoy your Christmas, then afterwards make a plan on how you can keep your resolutions step by step until it adds up to the overall goal.