Nobody likes making New Year’s resolutions, but we do it every year. We find a part of our lives that we think could stand for some improvement, and then we try to start the year by bettering ourselves. Doesn’t help any that the first day of improvement is also one of the most hungover days of the year.
And that is why 90% of New Year’s resolutions don’t make it past January 15th. We tend to bite off more than we can chew. People who don’t exercise say “I’m going to go to the gym every day,” then they skip once and scrap the whole idea.
Other people decide to go on crash diets. “No more carbs in 2017.” Then they accidentally have a cracker at a wine and cheese party and before long they are knee deep in pizza, scraping the box for renegade pepperonis.
It is easy to say “shoot for the moon,” but when your lofty expectations fall through, it just makes it that much easier to quit. So instead, set the bar somewhere rational and see how it goes.
To get you started, here are a few simple New Year’s resolutions that will improve your life without taking the whole thing off the rails.
Run 5 Miles A Week
For a lot of you, this is probably something you already do twice over. Great, then skip to the next one. For everyone else, welcome to option number one.
The reason I like this one so much is because it isn’t “running every morning” or “going to the gym 5 times a week.” It is based on distance, not time. With this, you can run 3 miles on Tuesday, One mile Thursday, and the last mile Saturday. Break it up however you want.
Will you get fit quick this way? Absolutely not. But that isn’t the point. The purpose of this type of resolution is to knock off the dust that has accrued over the years of being a couch potato. So shake off the cobwebs, take a quick jog around the block, and call that an easy half mile. Only 9 more of those to go.
Do 1000 Push Ups/Sit Ups a Week
Same as with running, but with push-ups and sit ups. Keep a tally, do them when you can, and slowly get yourself back into the swing of things. It’s 50 sets of 20 push ups. Or 20 sets of 50 push ups. Again, break it up however you want. The only important thing is to set benchmarks for yourself.
Okay, so this one might be a little tough, but hey – I didn’t say stop drinking. You can have vodka, tequila, whisky, wine – anything but beer. Each beer has the carbohydrate content of a 7 slices of bread. So if you have 4 beers, guess what? You just drank a loaf of sourdough. So instead of having a pint, get a snifter of scotch or a tumbler of vodka.
And if drinking isn’t your thing, maybe cut out pastries. Or Doritos. Whatever it is that you love but know you shouldn’t be having. Get rid of it. I mean, not all of it. If you cut out Doritos, you can still have pretzels. Keep it small, but regimented. Baby steps.
Read a Book a Month
27% of adults in the America didn’t read a book last year. Of those, most read 2 or 3 books total. Reading is important for comprehension and for stimulating creativity and imagination. Hell, you are doing it right now!
But what you aren’t getting out of this article (despite how much awesome advice I’ve managed to cram into it) is a sense of story or plot. That is why, regardless of how many HuffPo articles you scroll through in a day, you should still be trying to read at least one book a month.
And not only is this resolution pretty easy, but it also has some pretty outstanding health benefits. People who read before bed (as opposed to staring at a screen) sleep more soundly, have reduced stress levels, have an easier time concentrating, are more creative, and more empathetic. Not to mention how great it feels to highroad your dumb non-book-reading friends.
Spend Less Time of Social Media
Yeah, so this one sounds easy, but will likely be the death of you. And, again, I am not saying to cut social media out of your life. I don’t want you to delete all your accounts and move to a cabin in the woods where you can write your manifesto.
Just, limit it to an hour a day? A lot of good energy is burnt up listening to everyone you’ve ever met spew white hot trash about whatever the outrageous event of the day is. It is emotionally taxing, and the more time you invest into it, the more you are likely to comment, thus contributing to the ever growing wheel of fire that is any debate of Facebook.
So set a timer, hop on, post a picture of your dog or like some Man Guide posts, and get out before it can sink it’s treacherous claws into you. You will be better for it.