Quantcast

5 Ways to Make New Year's Resolutions You'll Keep

Health + Wellness

The new year is trumpeted far and wide as a time for a new start. And for many of us, that means the dreaded New Year’s resolutions. It's almost automatic—the thing everybody does, don't they?

It's great to dream of being a better person, but trying to become someone new overnight is probably doomed to fail.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

But New Year's resolutions are often too predictable—and too predictably broken. By February, most of us have left them by the wayside. Maybe our intentions were good, but we got swept away in a dewy vision of of this whole, new-and-improved person we thought we could become overnight. However, there are some types of resolutions you can make that you actually have a chance at keeping—especially if you think of them primarily as goals, not rules to live by that once broken should be discarded.

1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you aim too big, you could be too overwhelmed to know where to start. If you’re a meat-eater who craves a juicy burger once in a while, don’t vow to go vegan just because it’s healthier and everyone you know is doing it. Instead, resolve to have a couple of meat-free meals a week or increase the amount of veggies you eat. A resolution that tops many people's lists is "lose weight." Instead of that nebulous aspiration—and one of the most frequently frustrated or abandoned—figure out a few smaller steps to take toward that goal that will make you healthier, even if you don't lose a lot of weight.

2. Don’t be too vague and make sweeping resolutions that are hard to get a grip on. "Be nicer to people" is difficult to translate into action because it's so unspecific and hard to quantify if you've been successful. What exactly do you intend to do? Instead, resolve not to argue with your favorite aunt when she comments about the way you dress or to help a friend in a particular way. Avoid setting grandiose goals like "I’m going to work to save the environment.” Instead, vow to join that group that cleans your local beach and promise to go at least once a month.

3. Don’t make it all pain and no pleasure. If you think you should exercise more but gyms make you queasy, don’t make the common mistake of rushing to sign up as soon as the New Year’s Eve confetti is cleaned away. Get a pedometer and walk more, or find something you enjoy, whether it’s ice-skating or Pilates. You’ll more likely to still be doing it a few months from now. In fact, it's great to make a resolution to do something you;d really love to do but haven't set aside time for—like a couple of hours on the weekend lying on the sofa and reading a new book or visiting that museum you haven't been to sin years but always loved.

4. Don’t resolve to do anything because other people think you should and you feel guilty about it. So many of the most common resolutions—all those vows to lose weight and join the gym and save money and party less on weekends and read books on subjects we aren't interested in but think we should know something about—come from what our family, friends and acquaintances expect of us. Think hard about what you feel would make your life more meaningful. You’ll never keep a resolution you don’t make for yourself.

5. Don’t make everything your cause. A lot of us want to do good for the world, but activists get burned out. Don’t say you’re going to fight fracking and protest the Keystone XL pipeline and tutor children and lobby for Native American rights and circulate petitions to end human trafficking and ... what else have you got? You'll get overloaded and very likely let down some of the groups you signed up to help. Find your priority and focus on it, and you’ll do more good for yourself and your chosen cause.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

5 Cleansing Tips to a Healthier You in 2015

6 Ways to Eat, Drink and Still Be Merry

Michael Pollan's New Food Rule: Take Control of Your Plate

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Record flood water levels in Venice hit again on Sunday making this the worst week of flooding in the city in over 50 years.

Read More Show Less

By Brian Barth

Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn't end when cold weather comes, there's surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you'll be ahead of the game in spring.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
(L) 3D graphical representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle that is studded with glycoprotein tubercles.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC

The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Austin Nuñez is Chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, which joined with the Hopi and Pascua Yaqui Tribes to fight a proposed open-pit copper mine on sacred sites in Arizona. Mamta Popat

By Alison Cagle

Rising above the Arizona desert, the Santa Rita Mountains cradle 10,000 years of Indigenous history. The Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Hopi Tribe, among numerous other tribes, have worshipped, foraged, hunted and laid their ancestors to rest in the mountains for generations.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Navajo Nation has suffered from limited freshwater resources as a result of climate, insufficient infrastructure, and contamination. They collaborated with NASA to develop the Drought Severity Evaluation Tool. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.

Read More Show Less
Wild Exmoor ponies graze on a meadow in the Czech Republic. rapier / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Nanticha Ocharoenchai

In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.

Read More Show Less

Despite huge strides in improving the lives of children since 1989, many of the world's poorest are being left behind, the United Nations children's fund UNICEF warned Monday.

Read More Show Less