The New Year brings with it a clean slate and the perfect time to start working to change your life for the better.
Every time one year is nearing completion and January 1 is just around the corner, people start making New Year’s resolutions. A New Year’s resolution is usually about bettering yourself and comes in the form of a personal promise. This can involve getting rid of a bad habit like smoking, or it can even involve developing a positive habit, such as exercising more or making a commitment to enjoy life.
However, most resolutions quickly end in failure. One study showed that while more than half the people who make New Year’s resolutions are confident of succeeding, more than 85 percent who make them will fail to see them through. While men in this study increased their chances of success by setting goals, women increased their possibility of success by telling others about their goals and seeking support from friends.
The 21 Most Popular New Year's Resolutions
In no particular order, here are what we've uncovered are the 21 most popular resolutions people make on New Year's Day:
- Save money
- Minimise debt
- Lose weight
- Increase stamina
- Quit smoking
- Drink in moderation
- Eat healthy
- Enjoy life
- Spend more time with family & friends
- Change job
- Stop eating chocolate
- Shift to a new home
- Get organised
- Enrol in a course
- Learn a new skill
- Fall in love
- Help others
- Travel more
- Watch less TV
- Read more
- Play a sport
Smokers are becoming more and more aware of the perils of smoking, so it comes as no surprise that an increasing number of smokers want to quit the habit. One study showed that around 25 per cent of Australia’s three million smokers make New Year’s resolutions to quit, although the success rate is as low as ten percent.
Quitting smoking is definitely good for your health, given that cigarettes affect your lungs, heart, brain, digestive system, teeth and skin. If you are a regular smoker, seeking quitting advice from a healthcare professional can put you on the right track. This way, you’ll know all your options; from going cold turkey to turning to nicotine replacement therapy in the form of chewing gums, lozenges, patches and sprays.
In addition to benefits like feeling healthier and looking better, also consider the money you can save from quitting. Besides, while the effects of smoking are none too pleasing, passive smoking is harmful as well and when you quit smoking you stop subjecting those around you to the perils of passive smoke.
Luckily, effective help is easy to find when it comes to quitting smoking. Here are some products to get you on your way.
Regularly drinking more than the recommended guidelines has an adverse effect on one’s health and problems like heartburn, headaches, sleep deprivation, upset stomachs and indigestion are all too common in such scenarios. Long-term alcohol abuse can cause liver damage and can also lead to different kinds of cancer. Sustained heavy drinking also increases the risk of strokes, neuropathy, dementia, cardiovascular problems, anxiety and depression.
Drinking excessively can also cause problems at your workplace, result in relationship trouble and can cost money to sustain.
If you are someone who abuses alcohol, as opposed to someone who is an alcoholic, you can benefit significantly by minimising your alcohol intake. Chronic heavy drinkers should not attempt to quit drinking cold turkey without any supervision because alcohol withdrawal can be lethal.
In addition to minimising your overall intake you should consider cleaner options. For example: instead of regular beer you can opt for sulphur-free organic wine.
Below are some items that can help you get on the path to moderate drinking:
Shed some weight
Data shows that you stand a higher probability of succeeding in a weight-loss program if a professional sets your goals. If you intend to set your own goals, it's important you set realistic ones. What can help is aiming for mini goals in the form of losing half to one kilogram per week. A longer goal can be losing two kilograms in a month and when you achieve this, you can reward your accomplishment.
If you intend to lose weight as part of your New Year’s resolution, ensure your workouts are efficient. Also, eat nutritiously at least 80 percent of the time, schedule your workouts every week and, most importantly, remember that weight loss is not only about what the scales say, but about how you look and feel.
In addition to making you look and feel better, weight loss also decreases the possibility of suffering from urinary incontinence. Data shows that losing as little as five to 10 percent body fat minimises urinary incontinence incidences by 70 percent and weight loss actually works in treating many cases of this condition. The Continence Foundation of Australia lists five easy-to-follow measures to promote bowel and bladder health. These include:
- Eating a well balanced diet with at least 30 grams of fibre every day
- Drinking 1.5 to 2 litres of fluid every day, while limiting intake of fizzy drinks and caffeine
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a toned pelvic floor
- Practising good toilet habits
The following products can help you shed some weight:
Eating healthy features amongst the most popular New Year’s resolutions. What’s important, however, is that you do it right and do not fall for fad diets that offer quick fixes. Keep in mind that a healthy diet constitutes food from all food groups and eliminating any food group from your diet can have drastic effects.
A lot of the processed food sold in today’s world is rich in sodium, so much so that an average American consumes around twice the recommended daily intake. Excessive intake of sodium leads to water retention and this contributes to bloating. Sodium can also raise blood pressure. Low-sodium diets can minimise the risk of heart disease and lower hypertension, as well as being able to assist with weight management.
As part of your efforts to eat healthy, increase your intake of antioxidants. Antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and beta-carotene defend the body against disease-causing free radicals. You can find antioxidants in most fruits and veggies as well as tea, coffee and chocolate.
Here are a few diet-related products that might interest you:
You only live once, so why not enjoy every opportunity life puts in front of you while you still can? If you need to make a New Year’s resolution to ensure you get the most out of every day, so be it.
Taking time off work to take a walk, meet friends, read, take a class or do anything else you enjoy can invigorate you easily. When at home, stay away from the TV as far as possible and listen to your favourite music instead. Pampering your body from time to time by receiving massages or skin and body treatments can make you feel special.
Taking off on vacations is also highly recommended, as long as you always travel in accordance with your budget.
Reconnect with family and friends
While technology aims to simplify lives and staying in touch is much simpler than it was not that long ago, there are still plenty of instances when we do not make time to meet our friends and relatives. Besides, even families that live together don’t always eat together and this can have a telling effect in the long run.
Staying in touch with people you care about and with people who care about you has a positive effect on health, with studies suggesting that people who have strong social ties tend to live longer than people who don’t. In fact, lack of social contact can harm you more than alcohol abuse, lack of exercise and obesity.
Keep in mind that you have time to spare; you just have to make the most of it and get your friends and family members to feature high up in your list of priorities.
How to develop and stick to your New Year’s resolutions
Taking a good look at how you lead your life is often a good way to help you arrive at suitable New Year’s resolutions. What you have to bear in mind, though, is that a majority of all New Year’s resolutions fail, so it pays to have realistic goals. This is because unrealistic goals often lead to failure and disappointment.
Start by settings realistic, specific, time-bound and measurable goals. If achieving a goal requires changing your schedule, do it. Planning ahead always helps and you might want to consult a calendar in advance to check if any important events collide with your plans.
Preparing for temptation also requires planning in advance so that when you feel like smoking, skipping an exercise session or eating chocolate, you already have an alternative in place. These alternatives can come in the form of support through friends and family as well as through some kind of a reward system.
Telling others about your New Year’s resolution is always a good idea, given the support that you can find through friends and relatives. Monitoring progress tells you what you’ve accomplished, while accomplishing short-term goals can give you the motivation to keep going. Bear in mind that it takes around three weeks to develop a new habit and it can take as long as six months for it to become a part of your normal functioning. In addition, it’s okay to slip up every now and then; if you fail in your first attempt, try again.
Remember: Nobody’s perfect—and there’s always room for improvement. If you believe this, you can benefit by making a New Year’s resolution or two. Taking care of your health should ideally be the way to go, given that it offers you the ability to live your life to the fullest. Make sure you don’t aim for the Moon, however, because far-fetched resolutions can lead to disappointment.
Every year, scores of people make money-related New Year’s resolutions. If you’ve decided to start saving, now is as good a time as any. Before you start you should ideally reflect on your spending habits, understanding what you do right and what you don’t. Make sure you know just where you stand in terms of the money you owe, as this helps with the planning process.
Once you know where your money is going it is important that you cut back on expenses that are not important. If you eat out often, try to eat at home as much as possible. If you like going out frequently, go to places that don’t require you to spend much.
Make a budget that includes all your income and expenses and ensure that it balances at the end of each month. If the expenses exceed your income, there’s no way you can save. Setting a tangible goal in regards to how much you wish to save in a given time period can make you work towards it harder. Make sure you deal with your debts before they get out of control and saving while increasing your debt does not make much sense.
Why do people make New Year’s resolutions?
A New Year brings with it a perceived new beginning, which gives people the ability to start afresh in certain ways. The aim to better yourself, in some form or another, is by far the most common course of action chosen when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions. Some people tend to use their New Year’s resolutions as road maps for the time to come and can include physical and mental as well as possible and improbable resolutions.
Why we make resolutions for the New Year is a question that can be answered from history. It was Julius Caesar who declared January 1 as the first day of the year in honour of Janus, a mythical god and Romans started making morality-based resolutions around this time.
Making resolutions is a fairly common practice in the western world, so much so that the American government has compiled a list of resolutions and gives its people resources to achieve them. These surround good intentions and include resolutions like quitting smoking, drinking moderately, eating healthily, managing debt effectively and recycling.