The New Year is an exciting time. It’s a fresh page marking a new chapter that is the year ahead. In your ongoing effort to learn and grow, you’re likely to set a resolution or two. You look at your biggest areas of opportunity and set a goal. But if you’re like most, you’ve never achieved a resolution. Let’s dive into healthy resolutions you can actually keep by developing micro habits.
What Are The Most Common New Year’s Resolutions?
As of 2023, the most common resolutions were:
- Exercise more
- Eat healthier
- Lose weight
- Save more money
- Spend quality time with friends and family
- Spend less time on social media
- Reduce stress at work
- Reduce standard living expenses
What Percentage of Resolutions Are Achieved?
Research shows that only 9% of Americans achieve our resolutions. As enthusiastic as we are going in, 23% of us abandon our resolutions in the first 7 days. Another 43% make it closer to the end of January.
However, we’re more likely to achieve other goals we set for ourselves at times other than the New Year.
Here are the top 5 reasons resolutions fail:
#1 It’s Tradition
The goal you set may be one you need to work on, but most of the goals we achieve are set during times of transition—not times of tradition. In times of transition, we’re able to see what’s not working with greater clarity. This clarity drives motivation and consistency.
#2 We’re Too Vague
Setting a healthy resolution to “lose weight” isn’t specific enough. We’re more likely to succeed when we sit down and create a strategy with measurable milestones. For losing weight, this might include nutritional changes, workout frequency, working with a medical weight loss professional, and incremental weight loss.
#3 It’s Not Our Goal
Whether it’s a resolution or an objective we set at any time of the year, we must ensure it’s one we want. Too often we strive for things we think we should want or that other people want for us. If we don’t want it, it’s hard to stay motivated.
#4 Lack of Accountability
We’re twice as likely to achieve our objectives if we have someone cheering us on and holding us accountable. This can include medical professionals, friends, support groups, coaches, therapists, mentors, and others on the same path.
#5 Change Is Scary
As much as we want change, change is scary. It’s also really hard. It requires us to rethink things we do on autopilot. When we forget or have an off day, we beat ourselves up. We often spend more time ruminating about the off days than the mini milestones and days we stayed on track. So, we give up on our health and wellness resolutions.
How Micro Habits Activate Change?
Micro habits are incremental shifts that require minimal effort or disruption to your daily routine. Although the changes are small, they deliver meaningful returns.
So, instead of setting vague or unrealistic resolutions, identify relevant micro shifts. Add one shift the first 30 days, and additional shifts every 30 to 60 days thereafter. In the next 12 months, you’ll have created at least 6 new healthy habits!
Micro Habits That Support Your Healthy Resolutions
As you can see above, the top 3 resolutions are to exercise more, eat healthier, and lose weight. Below are 6 shifts you can make that are easy to implement, but still support your health and wellness objectives. Don’t limit the start date to the New Year, begin at any time you’re ready to commit to change.
#1 Eat More Whole Foods
A complete nutritional overhaul is daunting. Moreso if you and your family have different food preferences and dietary restrictions. So, begin with adding more whole foods to your diet. What this looks like depends on your current nutrition.
- Ensure 1 to 2 servings of fruit and vegetables per meal.
- Eat more nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains.
- Transition to lean meats and low-fat dairy.
- Read your food labels in search of synthetic additives.
In addition, diets don’t work. If they did, there’d be one or two and everyone would be on them. Most diets are based on deprivation, so they aren’t sustainable. What works is switching from processed foods to whole foods. If you’re ready for a scientifically proven meal plan, Valley Medical Weight Loss and Med Spa can help!
#2 Rethink What You Drink
When shifting to whole foods, don’t forget your daily beverages. An alarming number of beverages contain excessive calories, fat, and sugar. For example, a medium mocha contains almost 2 times your daily grams of sugar.
Many beverage brands utilize creative marketing to make their products sound healthier than they are. For example, “made with real fruit” means it may only contain a small fraction of fruit juice or fruit extract. Most zero-calorie and zero-sugar beverages contain artificial sweeteners that come with a variety of health risks.
With the factors above in mind, most of your fluid intake should come from water. Feel free to mix things up with:
- Unsweetened herbal tea
- 1 to 2 cups of black coffee per day
- Unsweetened carbonated water
- Citrus, fruit, or herb-infused water
- Low-sugar electrolytes
Another healthy resolution is to aim to drink half your body weight in water per day. Start with 8 to 16 ounces when you wake up, and another 8 ounces per hour. Stop drinking water 3 to 4 hours before you head to bed. This will make it easier to sleep through the night without going to the bathroom.
#3 Move More
The Center For Disease Control suggests that adults obtain 150 minutes of cardio per week, including 120 minutes of strength training. Some argue that those who sit 8+ hours a day require significantly more movement. Think beyond traditional gym workouts, to anything that gets you up and out of your chair—even standing part of the day at work.
It’s also important to remember that working out isn’t just to burn calories and lose weight.
Physical activity is required for:
- Proper circulation
- Expelling toxins
- Balancing hormones
- Improved mood
- Improved sleep
- And more
Even if you work out 4 or 5 days a week, these micro habits support your resolution of moving more:
- Walk short distances
- Walk during your lunch break
- Double your dog walking time
- Take the stairs
- Stand while working
- Dance at holiday parties
- Stretch while watching TV
- Play with your kids
- Intentionally park further away
- Stand during commercial breaks
- Ride your bike short distances
- Use your fitness tracker for reminders
- Plan active dates and social activities
#4 Identify Fun Physical Activities
One of the reasons it can be challenging to stick with the gym is because it’s monotonous. Even if you feel amazing afterward, the impending boredom is enough to make you skip your workout. So, identify fun physical activities and add new activities to the mix. Even better if friends or family join you.
Mix things up by:
- Hiking and nature walks
- Take a dance class
- Try different fitness classes
- Go swimming
- Plan active family activities
- Play a recreational sports
- Join a local athletic club
- Ride your bike
#5 Eat More Meals at Home
Dining out is convenient and cooking takes time you may not have. That said, studies find that those who eat 5 or more home-cooked meals a week are 28% less likely to be overweight than those who eat 3 or fewer home-cooked meals per week.
When you eat on-the-go you’re less likely to make healthy food choices. You’re also less likely to consider the nutrient value and more likely to eat a larger portion.
If cooking isn’t your thing or time is limited:
- Create a list of healthy restaurants.
- Identify a deli with healthy options.
- Invest in pre-prepped meals.
- Cook extra for lunch or leftovers.
- Cook extra to freeze for later.
- Save time by having groceries delivered.
#6 Be Body Positive
You aren’t alone if you’re your own worst critic. If you look in the mirror and see nothing but your perceived imperfections. If you have a healthy and supportive partner, they love you for your heart and mind first. In terms of your physical appearance, they don’t see your flaws and they appreciate your body in every season of life. Even if your partner loves the way you look, you may find yourself feeling insecure.
So, every time you find yourself criticizing your body, utilize the micro habit of countering with 3 things you like about your body.
How Can Valley Medical Help You Achieve Your Healthy Resolutions?
Valley Medical Weight Loss and Med Spa offers a variety of scientifically proven solutions designed for losing weight. We also provide non-invasive aesthetic treatments that minimize cellulite, blast away fat, lift sagging skin, and rejuvenate your skin.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so we personalize your treatment to your individual health and objectives. This includes additional micro habits that support your health and wellness resolutions.
Reach out today to schedule a consultation. For your convenience, we have offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Glendale.