Every year, millions of people are making New Year’s resolutions. Every year, millions of people fail to accomplish them. Research shows that only 8% of people actually stick to their resolutions. That’s because they are simply too big or vague. Why not try it differently this time? What about 1 easy-to-accomplish goal for every month of the year?
Majority of these unfulfilled resolutions are health related, which makes the whole thing even sadder. The reason why it’s so hard to quit smoking, eat less fast food or exercise more is that those things require changing our habits. And habits seem to be written in deeper structures of our brains than common events. That’s because the brain consumes fifth of all the energy the body produces and a lot of it goes to thinking. By turning something into a habit, we don’t have to think about it anymore and the brain thus saves energy. But turning something into a habit (or getting rid of a bad one) is a long process and that’s what we tend to underestimate when giving ourselves unrealistic goals while expecting quick results.
Power of small things
One way to change habits is to develop small triggers that tell our brain to do or not to do a certain thing. For smokers used to having a cigarette with their morning coffee the trick can be holding the cup in the hand that used to hold a cigarette. For someone trying to start exercising, it might be a good idea to do 5 sit-ups after brushing teeth. It’s not much, but by doing so we are teaching our brain that exercise is part of a routine so it would be much easier to add more later on. Simply said, big changes start with small things. And especially when health is concerned every little change matters even though it isn’t leading to some huge goal. So, without further ado, let’s check 12 easy-to-do resolutions for 2021.
Drink enough water
The importance of drinking enough water has been stressed numerous times. If you regularly forget to drink at least 2 litres of water per day, put a big jug of water on your table in the morning and make sure you drink it by noon.
Talking about water, it’s not only your stomach that needs it. Apply moisturizing skin cream and if you are sleeping in a dry room, buy a humidifier – they are silent and inexpensive.
Buy a new pillow
Experts recommend 8 hours of sleep. Buying a new pillow can make you push closer to the goal as you would be more likely to look forward to your bed. Not to mention the health benefits that getting rid of the old, fungi and bacteria infested pillow brings.
Especially for office working people, a good posture is essential. It helps prevent back pain, injuries, headaches and improves breathing and blood circulation. If you keep forgetting it, try setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to straighten up.
You know what, don’t sit at all. Or at least not all day. If you don’t have funds for a super sleek height adjustable table, buy a much cheaper notebook stand. Did you know that experts recommend at least 15 minutes of standing per hour?
Stretching can prolong your life. And it doesn’t have to take much time. Just google for easy stretching routines you can practise behind your desk. Or stretch in the evening while watching TV. Every 5 minutes count!
Have one no-car day in a week
Not only will you save money on gas, imagine the effect on the environment. And naturally, walking or cycling to work is good for your health too. And when you must use public transport, get off one stop early and walk.
Have one offline day in a week
Really, you can do it. No Facebook, no Instagram, no email. Best is to choose a weekend day and plan ahead (OK, using your phone). Give your head a rest from the ever-present virtual clutter and enjoy real life.
Learn a new shortcut
Keyboard shortcuts are usually way faster than mouse. Learn a new shortcut every week and post it next to your screen to remember using it. In entirety, these can save you minutes every day which you can use more wisely (e.g. for stretching – see No. 6).
Make your bed in the morning
This embarrassingly simple trick probably emerged in the military. It gives you the feeling of accomplishment right after you get up and sets the tone for the whole day. Don’t believe it? Try it for yourself.
Forget elevators. Using stairs is an easy way to get at least some exercise in your busiest days. Of course, that is not to say that you should forget about having at least 75 minutes of vigorous or 150 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly.
Read more books
Read a book a month. Even if you opt for an e-reader, this will at least put you off the computer screen. And if you want to find out more on how to turn your New Year’s resolutions into a habit, try Charles Duhigg’s bestseller Power of Habit.