The start of a new year is often associated with new goals, resolutions, or routines. According to a 2022 poll, 37% of Americans planned to set a goal or resolution for 2023. Of those individuals, 87% were optimistic that they’d stick with that goal throughout the year. Unsurprisingly, the top goals revolved around fitness and wellness (48%), finances (38%), and mental health (36%).1 If you are one of the 37% percent who have made a resolution, hopefully you’re also part of the 87% set on hitting those goals!
Whether you haven’t yet made new goals — remember, it’s never too late to start! — or you’re working towards them, or even if you’ve fallen slightly off track, here are a few things you can consider to help you start the new year off right.
Reflect on last year’s goals — both the failures and successes
What resolutions did you make last year? Did they fail or succeed? Do you have similar or different goals this year? Look back on what goals you’ve set in the past and how you followed through on them. If you hit on some of your goals, find ways to add onto them. If there are goals you didn’t stick to, make changes and start fresh with them this year.
Keep yourself healthy enough to exercise
If one of your goals is centered around fitness, remember to take care of yourself before and after your workouts. Warming up before a workout and cooling down after are arguably as important as the workout itself. Warming up before exercising helps get your body prepare for your workout as it slowly increases your heart rate, warms up your cardiovascular system,2 and increases the flexibility of your muscles, making your workouts safer and more efficient.3 Cooling down, on the other hand, allows your heart rate to begin to drop slowly, helping control blood flow and blood pressure.2 Don’t forget to take care of your body in between exercises, too. The RICE method — rest, ice, compression, elevate — is often recommended after minor injuries such as a strain or sprain. Use a compression wrap to speed up the body’s natural healing process and relieve swelling and inflammation while increasing blood flow. Keeping yourself healthy enough to continue working out once you start is important to the success of this goal long-term.
Get better at taking medications or supplements
Around two-third of Americans report taking prescription drugs4 while over half of Americans report regular vitamin or supplement usage.5 If either of these applies to you, make it a goal to be more consistent or efficient with taking them. Whether you’re taking medications or vitamins, they’re likely very important to your overall health and wellness. Use a daily or weekly pill planner, vitamin packing system, or travel containers to help with consistency and efficiency. On top of that, make a routine of taking them that will make it easy for you to stick to. As important as refilling your prescription or supplements is actually remembering to take them, so they work as effectively as they’re supposed to!
Establish a healthy sleep routine
Sleeping feels great, doesn’t it? Not only does it feel great to wake up from a solid, refreshing night of sleep, it’s essential to an overall healthy self. It’s no wonder then why establishing a good routine is important. Set a routine where you always go to bed at the same time — yes, even when you’re away from home. Practice healthy sleep habits like avoiding blue light before bed, creating a calming environment, and not drinking alcohol or eating too late in the evening. Doing so will help support a healthy sleep routine.
Work, time with family, self-care, seeing friends, managing a household — it can seem like a lot of things to prioritize at once! The truth is, all of these things are important, and we know you even have several more things to add in to your days. Take the time to create a priority list. Note things you should be doing daily, weekly, and monthly to help yourself remember where your priorities lie and what things can wait for later in order to not overload your schedule.
Spend time in gratitude
Let’s face it: there have been a lot of ups and down over the past few years. While we’ll all fall upon unfortunate times in our lives, the bad times also give us an opportunity to remember and be grateful for the good times. Gratitude journals are a hot topic these days. If that’s the route for you, great! Jot down things you’re grateful for as well as areas in your life that could use improvements. If you don’t like to write these things down, make it a mental practice in the morning, at bedtime, or any other time throughout the day that works for you. Spending time in quiet, thoughtful moments gives yourself a nice mental break.
Set specific, but reasonable, goals
When setting goals, give yourself some support by making them specific — but reasonable. You want to start reading more? While 365 books a year sure is specific, that’s not a reasonable goal. Start with one per month. Then a few months later, reevaluate your goals to see if they need adjusting.
Break down goals into bite-size pieces
If you’ve decided to read those 12 books per year, for example, that’s one book per month. If the books are on average 300 pages long, that’s about 75 pages per week, or less than 10 pages per day. Thinking about goals in smaller steps makes them feel easier to achieve.
Change your mindset
Instead of thinking of it as a New Year’s resolution or even a goal, think of it as a lifestyle change or a habit. According to Drive Research, despite all the best intentions, just 9% of adults actually keep their New Year’s resolutions through the end of the year.6 Think of your goals as a new habit or new lifestyle choice will help it become more engrained as a routine part of your life.
Give yourself some grace
Have you fallen off track on any of your goals? Remember that failure isn’t a stopping point. It’s only an extra nudge to get you going back in the right direction. If you’re disappointed in yourself, use it as motivation to get back on track and keep going in the right direction. Also, remember your “why.” Are you getting in shape to make chasing around kids or grandkids easier? Are you focusing on your overall wellness and choosing to eat healthier to help your longevity? Are you dedicating more time to be with family and friends to build and maintain relationships? Are you journaling and doing daily gratitude to help keep positivity and gratefulness at the top of your mind? Whatever your reason for these changes, keep that in mind! It will help you strive toward those goals — or new habits! — when you feel that the motivation is lacking.
- New Year’s Resolutions Statistics 2024. https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/new-years-resolutions-statistics/
- Mayo Clinic. Aerobic exercise: How to warm up and cool down. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20045517
- American Heart Association. Warm Up, Cool Down. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/warm-up-cool-down
- Georgetown University. Prescription Drugs. https://hpi.georgetown.edu/rxdrugs/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dietary Supplement Use Among Adults: United States, 2017-2018. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db399.htm
- Drive Research. New Year’s Resolutions Statistics and Trends . https://www.driveresearch.com/market-research-company-blog/new-years-resolutions-statistics/