As the champagne glasses clink at midnight on New Year’s Eve, you may choose to join the 45 percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s resolutions to be thinner, funnier, smarter or happier. Well, try joining the elite club this year: the 8 percent who follow through in achieving their New Year’s goals. If you want to keep your resolutions this time around the sun, the key is to make them measurable, realistic and positive. Here are three great ones you can stick to.
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Expressing thankfulness can be truly difficult when your boss is cranky, your child is sick, the water heater is broken and your fifth cup of coffee is miles away from touching your migraine. But research indicates that practicing gratitude consistently leads to improved physical, emotional and social well-being. Um, hello head start on all of your other goals!
Instead of telling yourself to “be more positive,” give yourself a specific time every day to practice gratitude. Start celebrating the present in all its glorious messiness by dedicating just five or ten minutes each day to write about positive experiences, beautiful sights or relationships you value. Leading expert Robert Emmons, Ph.D., recommends utilizing meditative techniques such as asking yourself “What have I received from _____?” and “What have I given to _____?” By making gratitude a daily habit, you may become the powerhouse of health and happiness you’ve always wanted to be.
2. Join a Fitness Class
Dying to fit into your skinny jeans again? The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends that adults do at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity each week. To achieve your ambitious fitness goals–we’re looking at you, muffin top!–take a specific and measurable step that will force you to invest in your fitness on a regular basis. Instead of stating “I want to exercise more” or “I’ll go to the gym more,” resolve to join a fitness class.
Fitness classes are more advantageous than other fitness plans because they hold you to a consistent scheduled appointment. You will be more likely to achieve your fitness goals due to the rigid structure of the class and the fact that you won’t want to waste the money you’ve already spent. Plus, working out with other people will uplift your spirits and help you feel less isolated in your quest for fitness. Look for a gym nearby like 24 Hour Fitness that has plenty of group fitness classes to choose from, including Zumba, strength training and yoga. This will give you a chance to meet new people and shake up your routine.
3. Eat Healthier Food
Let’s face it: despite our best intentions, we all stopped listening to our mothers when it comes to eating our vegetables. After all, no one wants spinach when they can have pizza. But eating healthy food is easier than you might think. The key to eating healthy food is to buy healthy food, according to Nutrition.gov.
First, start with a list. Replace potato chips with something equally salty, crunchy, and convenient, like Green Beans from Trader Joe’s. Add in other healthy snacks like low-fat string cheese, apples, or carrot sticks and hummus. Whenever possible, opt for pre-cut veggies, since you’ll be more likely to eat them at home if you don’t have to do the prep work. When you arrive home, organize your refrigerator, putting healthy foods front and center.
What are your resolutions for 2017?