The new year is traditionally a time to make resolutions to improve your life, and by the middle of the year you’ve probably dropped most of them! Some classic new year’s resolution ideas include things like stopping smoking, losing weight, going to the gym, making more money, and so on. Whilst starting with admirable intentions, most people manage to break their resolutions very quickly, because they treat them more like dreams than goals.
Why not make commit to some specific resolutions this year, and start them now? Nobody expects you to have achieved all the resolutions you set on January 1st by the end of 2021 as the whole of 2020 was challenging for everyone. Doing it in May (or later!) is a good chance to get a fresh start.
Some of the defining characteristics of a goal are that it is measurable and specific. Most resolutions are neither. “Lose weight” doesn’t have as much impact on your psyche as “lose 15 pounds” done. If you lose 20 pounds and your resolution is “lose weight”, have you completed it? Do you have to continue? If your goal was to lose 15 pounds, you’ve seen what you can do, and you’re motivated to continue – and you were able to track your progress on the way.
1 – Lose 5% of your bodyweight (in fat) or add 5% to your bodyweight in muscle
Whatever the condition of your body, there’s always room for improvement. If you’re overweight, aim to lose 5% of your bodyweight in fat. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to weigh 5% less – in fact, if you’re building muscle, you might find you look and feel better if you weigh more. However, you’ll need to monitor this through either a professional body composition measuring service, or by using a set of smart scales. Smart scales may not be as accurate, but they will certainly give you an idea in which direction you’re headed.
On the flip side, you might want to add some muscle to your frame. Aiming for 5% is achievable, but even more is possible!
2 – Exercise 3 times a week
It doesn’t matter if you are trying to lose weight, gain mass, or are happy as you are – getting some exercise 3 times a week and getting your heart pumping is a great way to get healthy. Three days a week is the perfect number as you get at least one rest day in-between exertion…don’t do it three days in a row and then wait until the following week to start again!
3 – Save 10% of your income
Chances are, you won’t miss 10% of your income. It might mean you can have a couple less meals at restaurants every month, or maybe you can’t buy all those new items of clothing, but hear me out – if you save it and invest it, even at a low interest rate, in a few years you’ll thank me. After one single year, you’ll have saved more than a month of income, which is a great safety net. After 5 years, you’ll have 6 months of income – and that’s not accounting for compound interest. It might not make you a millionaire, but it can relieve some of the worries you might have about starting a business, or even losing your current job.
4 – Read 13 books
Why 13 and not 12? Because 12 is for amateurs, and not all months are of equal length. This way, you read a book every 4 weeks – simple. Reading fact or fiction expands your mind, and causes your brain to work in different ways to just living day to day. Of course, you might take the opportunity to read some great self improvement books, or just immerse yourself in a fantasy world or two.
5 – Meditate for 10 minutes every day
Here’s the great thing about 10 minutes – it’s not very long. Of course, 5 minutes is shorter, but most people find that the benefits of meditation really kick in after at least 7 minutes or so. Struggling to make this a new year’s resolution? Try using apps like Calm, Headspace or Synctuition.
6 – Create 5 ideas every day
Do you want to start a business? Or do you want to create a product or service? Maybe you want to write a book. What about starting a website? Do you have any ideas for what you can do? No? Good. Start coming up with 5 ideas every day. Write them down. Chances are, the first week, they will all be awful. Keep going. By the end of week 2, you’ll have at least one good idea. By week 4, you’ll have two gems. Keep going! The more you work your creative muscle, the stronger your idea skills will become.
7 – Drink 8 glasses of water a day
You are physically somewhere between 60 and 80% water, and your brain is towards the high end of that scale. Water keeps you going, and allows your body to work efficiently and perform maintenance on itself. After a week of no food, you can still function. After a week of no water, if you’re still breathing, you’ll have tremendous difficulty moving and thinking, and your heart will be struggling to pump the blood around your body. Recent research has shown that 8 glasses a day is an arbitrary figure, and the exact amount varies from person to person – but you most likely don’t manage even 4 glasses a day. Up your water intake. Aim for 8 glasses a day.
Make your new year’s resolution specific, and make it measurable, and by the time May 2022 rolls around, you could be an entirely different person.