In the past, when making a New Year’s resolution or setting a new goal, what strategy did you use? Making a lasting lifestyle change can be hard to do, but it is achievable.
When setting your goal or resolution this year, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Take smaller, more manageable steps to increase the likelihood of success. You should also ease into it when making the change so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
Use these five tips for making the most common New Year’s resolutions more attainable (and have a lasting impact!):
1. Get more exercise
How you tackle this one depends on your health and fitness goals, but setting a realistic goal will give you a better chance for success.
For example, pick two nights a week (or even one, if you need to take baby steps) to walk for 20 minutes. Try that for two weeks, and then on the third week, increase the duration of the walk or add a third day. Every few weeks, you can kick it up a notch by adding time, frequency or an additional activity, like riding your bike, weight training or a cardio class.
2. Eat healthier
Chances are that you have two to three favorite snacks that probably aren’t food-pyramid worthy. Try replacing one of them with a healthy choice (fruit, veggie or nuts). You’ll get a twofer out of it: omitting an unhealthy food while eating a more nutritious snack.
Cutting down on your food portions is another way to scale back. After plating your normal lunch or dinner, decrease your portion for each serving of food (minus fruits and veggies) by about one-fourth or one-third. You’ll cut your calorie count and have more leftovers to last you through the week.
3. Save money
Depending on your goals, a financial advisor or counselor might be in order. But if you’d like to tackle some basic penny-pinching, doing a few small things can add more green to your wallet.
Quitting single-serve beverages at home or on the go is a good first step. Use pitchers, plasticware and reusable mugs/cups to make large servings of your favorite beverage: coffee, lemonade, tea, etc. You’ll spend way less per ounce, but also help the planet by cutting down on waste.
If you eat out (or have food delivered) multiple times a week, try cutting back by one or two nights to see the savings add up. Chances are you’ll also decrease your sodium consumption.
Buying in bulk for items that aren’t perishable can help stretch the dollar, too. Items like tissues, toilet paper, detergent, bath soap and other hygiene needs are always in demand, so stock up. Partner with a friend or neighbor to become members of a warehouse store so you aren’t having to pay in full for the membership.
4. Read more
Take that long list of books you want to read out of the junk drawer. Choose one book on your list and make it happen. Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier in the morning to carve out some book time.
If you’re not a morning person, make it your lunchtime treat. Skip the coworker lunch and spend time getting into whatever’s your favorite—mystery, self-help, love story or thriller.
Cutting out a bit of social media time in the evenings will also free up time for reading. Wind down with your book of choice versus scrolling through your social media feed.
5. Help the environment
You might have seen ideas for how to help the planet that feel like they’ll take the whole weekend to accomplish. Don’t worry–there are much smaller steps you can take, like recycling, cutting down on the use of plastic bottles, and our favorite, signing up with clean energy.
Powering your home with 100% pollution-free electricity is one of the easiest and most impactful changes you can make because you’ll be helping fill the grid with renewable sources. It’s also convenient—you can do it from your phone (either by calling or tapping a few links).