Health & Fitness

Setting health resolutions that stick

Sticking to New Year’s health resolutions can be challenging, but do they need to be? Dive into why resolutions fail and what you can do to improve your chances in this article.

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, millions of people around the world take a moment to reflect and set health resolutions for the coming year. Be it an ambitious fitness goal, committing to fasting, or simply to make more time for enjoying inner peace, the optimism is contagious. 

But just as the year lurches to a start and we return to ordinary life, that festive optimism starts to dim. Before February even begins, those resolutions have gone the same way as the gift wrapping paper. 

It’s a common problem. A recent study found that in a group of 200 people, two-thirds had given up on their New Year’s resolution before the end of January. So what is it about our New Year’s health resolutions that makes them so hard to keep? Are there practical strategies to set goals that stand the test of time? Let’s dive in.

4 common New Year’s resolution pitfalls

1. An all-or-nothing approach

One of the top reasons resolutions crash and burn is setting overly ambitious goals. While it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and aim for big change at the start of the year, setting unreachable targets can lead to frustration – the last thing you need. 

2. Lack of specificity

Vague resolutions like "be healthy", “boost my energy levels”, or "be productive" aren’t specific enough. Without a clear idea of what success looks like, you’ll end up without a target. Eventually, those vague resolutions fade away into the background.

3. No clear plan

Many resolutions lack a concrete plan of action. Setting a goal is just the start: Without a map detailing how to get there, you can end up getting lost along the way.

4. Inflexibility

People often go into New Year's resolutions with an unbending will. But sudden, big life changes are hard to maintain, even for the most determined. If you then slip up or results don't materialize as fast as expected, it’s easy to become disenchanted and give up.

4 strategies for New Year’s resolution success

1. Set realistic goals

Instead of aiming for a complete lifestyle overhaul, break your resolution down into smaller, achievable goals. Those milestones create a sense of accomplishment, and tracking your progress can be a powerful motivator. Patience is your friend when pursuing long-term goals.

2. Be specific

Transform vague resolutions into clear, measurable objectives. For example, "exercise more" could be "walk for 30 minutes every day." Much better.

3. Create an action plan

Outline all the steps needed to achieve your goal and write them down. Breaking down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones, makes it easier to stay focused and track your progress. You could even share your plan with a friend so they can provide support and hold you accountable. Having a support system can really increase your chances of success.

4. Be kind to yourself

Life is unpredictable. Circumstances change. That’s why flexibility is so crucial. Be open to adjusting your plan if you need to, and if you slip up, try to pick yourself back up and persevere. Celebrate small victories along the way and recognize your achievements, no matter how small. 

4 health resolutions that work

So we’ve covered the how. But you might still be struggling to pinpoint a resolution that’s right for you. Here are 4 ideas to get you thinking.

  1. Drink responsibly - For some people, cutting alcohol out completely is too drastic of a change. So why not commit to only wine and dine in 2024? That means only drinking alcohol with food, and only having your first drink once you’ve started eating.
  2. Cut down on meat - Reducing your meat consumption can make a huge difference to your cardiovascular health and have a positive impact on the environment. Why not try cutting out meat 1 day per week? You can push it further by cutting out another day every couple of months until you reach a level you’re comfortable with.
  3. Move more - A recent study took a deep dive into the effect of step count on health in a total of 226,889 participants. They found that every 1,000 extra steps each day was linked to a 15% reduction in death from any cause. Getting active doesn’t have to mean training for a marathon. Why not aim for 3 short walks a day?
  4. Be health conscious - Getting to know what’s going on inside your body is the perfect first step to making better health decisions in 2024. With an Aware membership, you get 2 Long-Term Health checks per year, so you can identify areas for improvement and track how effective your choices have been. Tap here to explore Aware membership. 

The bottom line

Making New Year’s resolutions stick is hard. We can agree on that. But with a few simple strategies, you can significantly improve your chances of turning resolutions into new, healthy habits. Just remember to be patient with yourself. After all, meaningful change takes time. 

If you’re looking for ways to focus on health throughout 2024, an Aware membership is the perfect way to get on track. Tap here to explore membership, or why not share that New Year’s drive with a friend and gift an Aware membership?

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