As 2019 quickly approaches, many of us will make commitments to weight loss, eating healthy, creating a better budget and yearning for more time to accomplish all of the above. According to U.S. News, 80 percent of resolutions made at the beginning of the new year — fail by the middle of February. So here are some suggestions of some small changes you can make for the month of January and see if they help to create a few new habits.
RESOLUTION FAIL #1 – “I will eat better.”
While salads and vegetables are healthy options, what is one item in your diet that you can say no to for the month of January?
NO – Say no to canned sodas and sugary drinks.
According to the Harvard School for Public Health, “Research shows that sugary drinks are one of the major determinants of obesity and diabetes, and emerging evidence indicates that high consumption of sugary drinks increases the risk for heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in the U.S.”
YES – Say yes to drinking one more glass of water.
By now, most of us are familiar with the suggestion to drink eight glasses of water a day. If that seems like too much to maintain, just start by drinking one more glass than you currently do each day.
According to WebMD, “For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.”
RESOLUTION FAIL #2 – “I need to start exercising more.”
Before you run out and purchase a gym membership and sign up for the closest marathon, try making small changes in activity that you can manage.
NO – Say no to being sedentary and sitting for long periods of time or not getting off the couch for hours on end.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “We are spending increasing amounts of time in environments that not only limit physical activity but require prolonged sitting—at work, at home, and in our cars and communities.”
YES – Say yes to walking up an extra flight of stairs, taking an extra lap around your workspace or having a walking or workout accountability partner.
The Mayo Clinic found “that breaks in sedentary time have beneficial associations with waist circumference, body mass index, triglyceride levels, and 2-hour glucose levels that are independent of total sedentary time and exercise time.” Adding that, “weight control is one of several important potential benefits of spending less time sitting.”
RESOLUTION FAIL #3 – “I need to start following a budget.”
The end of 2018 most likely caused an increase in your spending habits or credit card bills. The best way to approach 2019 is to choose one spending habit to leave behind.
NO – Say no to automatically swiping your card, or to “stored card purchases” made on websites such as Amazon.
According to U.S. News & World Report, “While having your credit card information stored in Amazon is an added convenience, it also opens the door to lots of impulsive buying. By deleting your credit card information from the site, you can make that impulse buying a little more challenging, take a few moments to really reflect on whether you need the item and avoid spending on a whim.” The suggestion was also made to switch off of “one-click” ordering and create wish lists whenever possible to allow for time to consider purchases before spending.
YES – Say yes to tracking what you spend on paper or online. By seeing where your money goes, you will find it easier to say no to certain spending habits.
Khan Academy offers a helpful video for creating a simple budget, starting with managing spending for basic needs and tracking spending using an online calendar.
Here is a list of recommended apps for online budgeting, with some that even offer a virtual “envelope system” for tracking spending.
RESOLUTION FAIL #4 – “I wish I had more time.”
NO – Say no to overcommitting in the hopes that it will make you appear better at your role.
According to Margie Warrell of Forbes magazine, there are three questions you need to ask yourself before making a commitment.
Is this aligned with my top priorities, goals and values? (Will saying yes, help you achieve another goal you hope to reach?)
If I say yes to this, what will it mean, by default, I must say no to? (my family, my exercise routine, etc.)
Do I realistically have time to fulfill this commitment properly and on time? (Am I doing so out of guilt? Will it lead to burn-out in a certain area of my life?)
According to Warrell, “Only when you are really clear about what it is that you most want to fit into your life, will you be able to find the clarity, confidence and guilt-free courage to say no to the many requests, invitations and opportunities that come your way.”
YES – Say yes to putting down your devices to spend 30 minutes as a family, or to 15 minutes of “check-in time” with your significant other to discuss your day.
TIME Magazine suggests installing a time-tracking app such as Moment or OFFTIME that will collect data showing you how much time per day you spend on your phone and how often you pick it up.
“This information might be depressing at first — but it’s a great way to track your progress and boost your motivation. If you use your phone less, you’ll end up with more free time.”