How to Hack Popular New Year Resolutions

Ah new year, new decade, same ol’ you with new ambitions. As quick as we are making these resolutions, nearly half of us break them by February and only a slim 8% commit to their resolutions fully (Source). We are running down the list of top 4 popular new year resolutions, why they are so easy to break and what we can do to stick to them!

 

Eat healthier

It must be because we just came back from a holiday break and we were feeling the effects of non-stop feasting and overindulgence of chocolates and alcohol that we decide that come January, we’ve got to do a 180 to remedy ourselves from the damage we’ve done. Let us tell you why this is not the way.

It is common knowledge that we can eat healthier by incorporating more whole meals and staying away from processed foods. But why can’t we seem to stick to this change? It is because we love to eat with people; whilst the adoption of healthy foods or diet seems to be a mostly individual conquest – we will tend to bend and possibly break our diets to dine with others. Meaning that if you solely are the meal preparer in the family and you have picky eaters or they have their own dietary restrictions, you will need to do some planning to get everyone eating the same food. Slight change-ups could include protein and roasted veggies are self-served, salad dressings are offered on the side, blending soups so vegetables are hidden, etc.

A huge reason why we opt for processed foods is because of convenience, if you are always crunched for time, we tend to go for fast and easy meals. With a little planning, meal prepping one night can set you up for the rest of the week. Meal prepping makes it easy to grab for meals on the go and is a no-brainer way to get your balanced meal in without much thought. If you enjoy cooking from scratch for dinner time, research one-pot or one-pan recipes that incorporate both protein and greens.

And lastly, we tend to lose balance with our diets. Sure, we can eat perfect meals 30 days straight without processed food in sight however, to do this long-term, it is difficult to maintain. Instead, don’t straight out ban foods, allow yourself to enjoy them occasionally. If you fear the temptation of these treats, don’t keep them around the house or the snack drawer at your desk. Making them less accessible means they cannot tempt you.  Replace them with these snacks instead!

 

Exercise more

Another perennial favourite, “I want to exercise more!” is one of the go-to new year resolutions. Our enthusiasm is ignited like a new year sparkler, starting off bright and strong and fizzling out quick, just like our tapered attendance by early February.  Here are some ways to rethink being more active:

Why do you want to exercise more? What is your fitness or health goal? What activities are you adopting to reach that goal? How many days can you commit to working towards that goal? Once that is sorted out, you have a clearer guide and you won’t be lost when it comes to detailing the specifics.

Make working out a priority in your schedule by blocking off time during the day to workout. Whether that at the crack of dawn or mid-day when you have the most energy; if you set that time and view it as an appointment with yourself to get sweaty.

Consider exercises that don’t involve lots of equipment or a membership to a studio or gym. Tune into bodyweight home workout YouTube videos (we are especially fond of the follow-along HIIT workouts), or take extra long walks with your dog, or consider some inexpensive winter activities to keep your heart rate up. Better yet, make it a date with your loved ones and get them involved with being active too.  

Look into active upgrades, such as sit-standing desks and active seating. If sitting at a desk is a large part of your day, consider a desk converter or standing desk, this will allow you to swap between sitting and standing which decreases health ailments and promotes good posture. We are fond of the esi S2S Standing Desk Converter or the Luxor Level Up Pro and pairing it with an anti-fatigue mat for joint comfort. If you are not able to stand at work, consider a perching chair such as the Kore Design Office Plus Sit-stand Chair or the CoreChair Classic; these promote micro-movements that engage your core.  Transform your downtime by walking at a leisurely pace on the BodycraftSpacewalker Treadmill or plop down into your favourite spot on the sofa with the Drexel Stamina Mini Exercise Bike to peddle whilst you catch up on the evening news.

 

Save more and spend less

It is difficult to curb personal spending when ads in your email, your Google searches, your feed on social media are all tailored out to get you, luring you with discounts and sales. Again, the “save more money” resolution is vague and takes long term commitment to see your efforts, so it is difficult to fully commit. Here is what it takes:

Log all your spending for a full month. To cut spending and save money, you need to know where your money goes. Categorize spending into rent, utilities, loan payments, food, entertainment, gifts, clothing, gas, etc. This will allow you to see overall how much money you are spending on each category and re-adjust your mindset to what is a necessity.

Next, see if the bills you pay for every month can be negotiated for a better rate or price matched to a competitor. Companies usually are usually keen to retain their current customers as it is easier to keep than attract new ones.

Look at where you can save. Variable expenses such as gas, groceries, gifts, etc. are expenses you can control. If gifting or dining at restaurants put you in the red every month, communicate with your loved ones what your financial goals are and re-establish expectations.

Make more money (if you can). If you are due for a raise, approach your manager. If not, start that conversation with your boss to see what your career path entails to achieve a raise or promotion. If you are in the position to take on a side job to make supplementary income: such as babysitting, deliver for food ordering apps, or weekend retail; it will greatly help towards achieving your saving goal.

Learn a new skill or hobby

More than ever we have many resources that allow us to take on, learn, and practice new skills or hobbies. The biggest obstacle is the start-up commitment and resources it takes to learn something new. Once we get started, we put in hours on hours, weeks on weeks; toiling away and feeling the effort we put in is futile, so it is easy to abandon.

Something worth pursuing doesn’t come easy. There will be lots of misses when you are learning a new skill – allow yourself to make those mistakes. Listen to how the note doesn’t quite fit in, feel how the snow feels when you fall off a snowboard, see how your golf drive doesn’t travel where you were intending; when you recognize what isn’t right, it teaches you to tweak your technique/form.

To be a beginner is to be open, be vulnerable. There is something exhilarating about being a beginner again; so much breadth of knowledge to be discovered and allowing yourself to be impressionable. Allow your self to lean on the expertise of your mentors and texts.

Put the time in. So very cliché, but ‘practice (does) make perfect,’ even the most seasoned professionals continuously set aside time to practice their craft. Everyone’s commitment to mastering a new skill is different, however, the more time you can commit, the sooner you can master it. Once you start witnessing your growth, your level of self-confidence will soar.

During the New Year, everyone makes their resolutions, but really, no one really cares when you start working towards your goal as long as you start. If you falter along the way, just pick yourself back up and reset again to building the habits that eventually become your lifestyle. Keep chipping away!

January 09, 2020 — ANITA HSIEH

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