With the New Year here it means that it’s time for people to start thinking about their New Years Resolutions. Every year, most people come up with a way to improve themselves and they typically attempt to make that change after the first of the year. Studies show that most people fail in their resolutions, but they do have an impact, so much so that some people who regularly go to the gym actually avoid gyms until the second or third week of January as the people who signed up as part of their resolutions realize that they’re out of shape for a reason. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the top 15 New Years Resolutions out there, just in time for you to snag one, Tweet it out and break it!
15. Lose Weight
It’s hard to actually track numbers as to how many people pick what for their resolution but in study after study it’s found that about 1/4 of people (around 25%) actually select weight loss as their goal for the new year, and it makes sense. In today’s day and age, most people could lose a few pounds and that’s what makes this one of the most obvious resolutions out there. However, people are overweight for a reason and it often requires the changing of more than one habit to accomplish, which is why it’s a top resolution as if people were able to stick to it in the first place they wouldn’t have to choose it as their resolution every year. Whether it’s changing one’s diet or increasing one’s exercise regimen, there’s a lot that goes into the current status of one’s body (as you’ll see on this list), so, instead of choosing something vague like “Losing weight” perhaps pick something that has a plan behind it. For example, if you were to say that you wanted to only eat X amount of calories a day you’d have a better idea of what you needed to do to actually accomplish that resolution and that’s one step closer to actually holding yourself to it.
As the first entry on this showed, vague resolutions are the ones that are most apt to fail as it may sound great to tell people that you’re attempting to lose weight, or somehow create world peace, but without an actual specific plan behind it becomes next to impossible for someone to accomplish their resolution(s). While exercise can be part of another resolution, it also can be sort of vague in and of itself, so, set goals and actually break down exactly how to plan to exercise and when. The gym industry basically makes most of its money during the final/first few months of the year and that’s because when you’re starting from scratch the entire process can seem extremely overwhelming, especially if you’re in bad shape. So, set goals, in terms of how often you plan on exercising and to what end. The more you can track, the better off you’ll be as it’ll seem less daunting. There are plenty of apps and even hardware that can help you with your resolution and if you want to avoid being a resolution casualty, those might be the key.
13. Quit Smoking
At this point, everyone in the world essentially knows not only that smoking is bad for your health, but exactly just how bad it is for your health as well. Despite that, though, millions of people around the world still light up every day but because of the increased awareness of the damage, it does to your entire body many people attempt to quit around the start of the New Year. Unfortunately, Nicotine is the second most addictive drug in the world (behind opiates/opioids like Heroin or Fentanyl) and because of that, most people do fail on their own, even with the power of a resolution behind them. So, when it comes to quitting any and all addictions support is key, it’s really hard for someone to quit doing something on their own when their bodies become dependent on that thing, so let people know what you’re doing and think about joining a support group (online or otherwise). Because of the savings to one’s own future healthcare a lot of healthcare plans actually offer smoking cessation programs, look into those as well as even a phone call from a stranger every week can help you quit your habit.
12. Quitting Drinking
While less addicting than cigarettes or nicotine, alcohol can still be incredibly addicting in its own right. On top of that, a lot of people rely on a drink or two every night after work to unwind, so while cigarettes can help you blow off steam when you’re angry or nervous it’s nowhere nearly as mentally addicting as alcohol can be. But, because alcohol is a literal poison, there’s really no safe amount of hard alcohol out there (wine has some benefits, studies find). So, like with smoking, if you’re looking to either cut back on the amount your drink or abstain totally, make sure that people around you are aware as it’s something that requires a lot of support from friends and loved ones. If it’s something that’s more severe, to the point where you’ve been drunk for days on end, you may want to check yourself into a rehab facility as alcohol is one of two different substances that can kill you if you attempt to quit cold turkey (when your body is dependent on it). After that, attending support groups helps people remain sober as well, which is just as hard as quitting can be, especially as the problems you were avoiding while drinking start to pile up.
11. Finding a New Job
Most people’s lives revolve around their jobs and because of that, people on average change their jobs every three to four years. Some of that has to do with the fact that in today’s economy, it’s essentially a job seekers market, meaning that there are more openings than people applying and because of that people can hop around every few years and get a pay increase (without looking like someone who hops around to get pay increases every three to four years). Most people in human resources are taught to look for people who switch jobs regularly (typically more than three jobs every five years, or six to seven every ten), so while you may want to limit how often you do look for new work, you may also want to look for work at a different time. Considering that most people do start applying for new jobs in January, you’ll have more competition and less ability to negotiate a higher starting wage, so while the decision may come around New Years perhaps make your resolutions… “I’ll Find a New Job… In June!”.
10. Get Out of Debt
As this list has shown, the more planning you do around your New Years Resolution the better the chance is that you’ll actually succeed with it. Nowhere else is that more true that with this entry, as you really can’t get out of debt without some sort of plan. Now, of course it’s all dependent on how you got into debt in the first place, so if it’s college debt for example you can work with your loan provider(s) to find a way to pay off that debt sooner than otherwise stipulated in your loan. If it’s debt because you’re living outside of your means, though, that’s an entirely different set of circumstances that requires changes to your way of life and life in general. From where you live, to perhaps even where you work, this may be the most comprehensive resolution out there so you may want to hook up with a debt counselor or even a debt relief company, that way you can figure out exactly how much you need to pay each month to get back on the right track and exactly how long it’ll take. While that sounds daunting, it’s better than bankruptcy!
9. Eating Healthier
The other component to the first entry above is eating healthier, something that everyone can do better in today’s world with the amount of terrible food that finds it’s way into most people’s diets. If you learn one thing from today’s list it’s that some things are easier said than done and unfortunately one of the hardest things about changing one’s diet to include healthier food is the fact that it costs a lot more to eat healthy than it does to eat like crap. While it should be the other way around, it’s because of how organic farming works, so really you’ll have to consider the additional money you’ll need to spend each month to maintain this resolution. Beyond that, you should really quantify what eating “healthier” means, is it one more salad a week? two? Again, the more you actually plan the better off you’ll be at the end of the year!
8. Get Organized
For someone who isn’t organized by nature, becoming a more organized person can be one of the more daunting experiences they come across in their adult lives. Some people are just unorganized or slobs, if you will, and unless they end up dating or marrying someone who is the exact opposite of them, chances are that they’ll be unorganized their entire lives. That’s not to say that they’re bad people or that they don’t have a system for finding things like other people, it’s just that their system includes piles. So, often times people who decide to become more organized become discouraged after changing because they become unable to find things around their house or place of work that they otherwise would’ve. Beyond that, it’s just a lot of extra work and considering how busy everyone’s lives are these days, it’s hard to add additional work on top of that. So, again, make a plan, quantify what organized means and start small. That way you won’t give up early!
7. Spending More Time with Family
For most New Years Resolutions there’s a reason why these things aren’t happening in the first place and despite the fact that spending more time with family is always near the top of the list of people’s resolutions, there may be a reason why you’re not in the first place. Those reasons aren’t going to change so if you’ve simply been too busy make sure that you’re both able and willing to remove something else from your schedule before attempting to fill that spot in with family time. If it’s a matter of not really liking your family, that’s not something that’s going to change either, so prepare to realize relatively quickly why you stopped hanging out with your cousins and perhaps keep the number to the volleyball league you quit handy if you change your mind.
6. Learn a New Language
After a certain age there may be nothing more difficult than learning a new language, which is why language immersion schools are so popular and so efficient at what they do. So, outside of completely moving to a new country and immersing oneself in their language, it’s really difficult to actually learn a language as an adult. So, while it can become handy on a resume, especially if you speak Mandarin, when it comes to learning a new language you should really do the research necessary beforehand to find out just how much time it’s going to take for you to learn that language. Beyond that, figuring out exactly what you’re going to do with that new skill set is important, as you’ll be able to perhaps work in new industries you hadn’t before and that could help you identify which language you want to learn. If it’s not a language that’s widely spoken where you live, for example, you’ll end up really forgetting everything you learn, so like with everything else on this list make sure you put a lot of thought into this as it’s a huge time (and money) commitment.
5. Ride Your Bike More!
More and more cities around the world are adding bike lanes in major cities as a way to kill multiple birds with one stone. The birds they’re attempting to kill actually also touch on a couple resolutions, the first being people attempting to get in better shape. By riding your bike to work, regardless of the distance, you’re working a lot of your muscles that you otherwise wouldn’t and it also should give you a decent amount of energy going into your day. Secondly, you’re helping limit your carbon footprint, something that is more and more important in today’s day and age, so if you really want to be a show off and accomplish more than one resolution at a time, perhaps this is the one for you! It also works if your resolution is to show people how dope your BMX bike is!
4. Run a Marathon
A classic example of short-sighted New Years Resolutions, people will randomly state that they want to run a marathon even if they haven’t run a mile since high school. The number one thing that causes resolutions to fail is the fact that people don’t really put any research into their resolution and thus once they start testing out their new life changes in January they quickly realize that they’ve bitten off more than they can chew and so they quickly abandon them. There’s a reason why running a marathon is an analogy for long, difficult things and it’s because marathons are… You guessed it…. Long and difficult. So, if this is something you really do want to do, start small. Run some 5K’s first, see how your body holds up and go from there. There’s no shame in jogging/walking a marathon, either, as it’s all about you and hitting goals that you set out, just make sure that it’s something you can actually do otherwise you’ll get discouraged and that’s no good for anyone.
3. Get More Sleep
If there’s one thing that doctors can agree on that basically applies to everyone right now it’s that people aren’t getting enough sleep (and when they do that they’re not getting enough quality sleep). The science is still out as to how our constant connection to screens (phones/tablets/televisions) impact our sleep cycles and so if you really do want to focus more on getting more/better sleep you should look into what is called “Sleep Hygiene”. Basically, it’s a system of setting up similar habits every night at the same time, work night or weekend night, so your body gets used to going to sleep around the same time every night and basically starts the natural sleep processes naturally every single night. Part of that is limiting the amount of screens you have in your room to essentially zero, think of your bedroom as a place to sleep only and once you do that, you’ll be on your way to getting a better night’s rest. If that sounds like too much, perhaps find another resolution!
2. Work for Charity
Most of the entries on this list have to do with a resolution that’s basically self-involved, so when people do mention that they want to spend more time working for a charity it’s often lauded as a completely selfless and amazing resolution. Don’t do it for those reasons, as charity work is a huge commitment that is really, really important for a lot of people and because it’s charity… You won’t be getting paid (hence the word charity). However, charity can be incredibly rewarding in a number of other ways and a big part fo that is realizing how blessed you and your family is or has been when seeing the plights of other people. So, if this is something you’re into, boil down your options by really thinking about what you’re truly passionate about as you’ll really only make it if it’s something you truly believe in. Care about animals? Volunteer at the Humane Society. Religion? A local church. The homeless? Salvation Army… The more you believe in what you’re doing the longer you’ll stick to it and the more rewarding it’ll be. It’s win-win.
1. Have a Baby
In what could explain all those late fall babies, the top resolution for married couples is to have a baby. If this list has shown anything it’s that people should really put a lot of research into their resolutions and that really this is the best representation of that as a baby is obviously a very large commitment and not something that you can just drop like joining the gym or eating healthy food. So, you’ll have to look into how much money you have, your living situation, your work to private life balance and much, much more before realizing that you can really handle bringing another human into the world. While a lot of people don’t do that, you’d be doing your baby to be a disservice if you didn’t bring them into the best sort of situation possible and while a lot of the planning can be fun, it should also be something you take about as seriously as anything in your life. Again, unlike basically every other entry on this list you can’t just break this resolution, so make sure it’s something both you and your partner want and are ready for.