Fitness Experts Share 7 Easily Achievable New Year's Resolutions
Here's how to make a plan and actually stick to it this year.
Research suggests that 80 percent of New Year's resolutions are abandoned come February—not a very good track record for such a widely embraced tradition. And since most of them revolve around health, fitness, and weight-loss goals, experts say that whether you succeed usually comes down to the scope of your promises. Overshoot or get too ambitious, and chances are you'll quit before seeing any real results. So, as we head into the new year, try making some simpler and more sustainable promises to yourself. These are seven easily achievable New Year's resolutions that you might just keep, fitness experts say.
Take daily walks.
"Walking is a low-impact exercise that doesn't require special equipment or a gym membership," he explains. "This resolution is easier to stick to because it's simple, requires little planning, and can be quite enjoyable."
David Chesworth, program director and exercise physiologist (ACSM-CEP) at Hilton Head Health, agrees that walking is a resolution you can easily stick to. In particular, he endorses "thermal walks" after meals, which can help increase metabolism, aid in digestion, and produce "greater caloric burn than a typical walk."
Drink more water.
Drinking more water is another way to overhaul your health with minimal effort, White says. He recommends increasing your daily water intake to at least eight glasses per day.
"Staying hydrated is essential for overall health and can significantly impact energy levels, skin health, and digestion," he explains. "This resolution is manageable because it involves a small, consistent change. Carrying a reusable water bottle and setting reminders can make it easier to achieve this goal."
Begin a daily stretching or yoga routine.
Rather than diving headlong into a more intense exercise regimen, experts suggest taking a slow and steady approach, focusing on the quality and consistency of your workouts over immediate results.
"Stretching or practicing yoga for even 10 to 15 minutes a day can improve flexibility, reduce stress, and enhance mental well-being. This resolution is more attainable because it's a low-intensity activity that can be done anywhere, anytime, making it less daunting than committing to high-intensity workouts," says White.
"Start simple with stretches you already know how to do," adds Chesworth. "Three commonly tight muscles in the modern-day lifestyle are the calves, hamstrings, and chest."
White says that by resolving to cook more meals at home—ideally at least three meals per week—you're likely to improve your nutrition in the long term.
"Cooking at home allows for better control over ingredients and portion sizes, contributing to healthier eating habits. This resolution is easier to stick to because it can start with simple, quick recipes and gradually involve more complex meals, making the transition to home cooking less overwhelming," he tells Best Life.
Practice mindful eating.
On New Year's Day, many people launch restrictive diets in an attempt to lose weight. White suggests replacing this resolution with the more holistic and sustainable goal of mindful eating. To do this successfully, you simply need to slow down, eat without distraction, and pay attention to how you feel while eating. If you do, you're likely to make better decisions around food.
"Mindful eating is about being present during meals and listening to your body's hunger and fullness cues," the trainer explains. "This resolution is attainable as it doesn't require drastic dietary changes but rather a shift in how you approach eating. It can lead to better digestion and more enjoyment of food."
Try habit pairing.
Habit pairing is another way to set yourself up for fitness success in the New Year.
"Habit pairing implies you are creating a new habit in conjunction with one that already exists. It is easier for the brain to stick to something new if you are putting it in the passenger seat of a habit that's been around for a while," Chesworth explains. "Take the habit of brewing coffee, for example. Once you hit the 'brew' button, commit to doing 10 squats and 10 jumping jacks while your coffee is getting ready."
Do daily "up-downs."
Chesworth says that often, focusing on the non-weight related benefits of exercise can help you stick to your plan. For instance, prioritizing mobility, longevity, and a generally active lifestyle may be more motivating than the shorter-sighted goal of losing a few pounds.
One exercise that he recommends committing to is daily up-downs. "An 'up-down' describes itself in its own name. The exercise is getting down on the ground and then getting back up. Find a reason to get on the ground and back up at least one time each day and this will help you to maintain, if not improve, your mobility," he explains.
"Particularly in the later years in life, activities that promote physical independence and reduce the risk of falling down are of great value. It's never too early or too late to start fostering that lifestyle. Daily up-downs are a realistic, achievable target for people of all ages," Chesworth adds.
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