Happy New Year! Though it’s hard to imagine entering our very own “Roaring Twenties” as we prepare for a new year as well as a new decade, it’s easy to envision all of the changes we hope will happen in 2020. Suddenly, the thought of having a 5- or 10-year plan seems less daunting as we picture ourselves graduating, getting married, buying a house, or finding our dream job before 2030 comes around. But these huge accomplishments are not what resolutions are made of—not ones that stick, anyway. Good New Year’s resolutions are about making smaller improvements that get you a step closer to achieving your goals and finding happiness.
Though you’ve probably heard it takes 21 days to form a new habit, studies performed a decade ago largely disproved this theory, stating it takes approximately 66 days to get into the swing of things—more than three times longer than previously thought. So, start working toward your goals now, and remember that you’re not hopeless and you’re not behind if you haven’t found your stride three weeks in. You’re just getting started. While you may still decide to call it quits during the second week of February (along with the other 80 percent of individuals who committed to New Year’s resolutions), you might find that the goals you begin working toward today will become more habitual than any you start on January 1.
Sure, losing that extra weight, eating healthier, and being happier are all positive long-term changes to strive for, but keep in mind that these lofty ambitions are difficult to measure. Good resolutions consist of more specific, attainable steps that you can realistically accomplish. If you hate going to the gym or can’t imagine giving up chocolate to achieve a healthier lifestyle, you probably shouldn’t include it in your New Year’s goals. According to a 2015 study published on U.S. News, the majority of New Year’s resolutions fail within six weeks—so stick to personal goal setting this New Year rather than choosing one of the most common New Year’s resolutions.
Instead of joining a gym you’ll never go to, join a yoga studio or commit to taking the stairs instead of the elevator; instead of committing to the vague concept of eating healthier, make it a goal to eat more vegetables. While these differences might seem small, changing ideas into action items that hold you accountable will greatly improve your chances of accomplishing your New Year’s fitness resolutions. Each item on your New Year’s to-do list is a stepping stone that will ultimately allow you to reach your ambitious goals. Here are some simple New Year’s resolution ideas to help you get started.
Plan a Vacation
Whether you have been desperately needing a girls’ weekend or been meaning to explore the hiking trails of Big Sur, the Lost Coast, or the Pacific Crest Trail, the new year is the perfect time to stop dreaming and start planning.
Surround Yourself With Positivity
From buying new plants and doing more yoga to adopting self-care Sundays and taking advantage of volunteer opportunities, there are infinite ways to bring more positivity into your life, and a new decade provides an ideal opportunity to begin.
Start Selecting Sustainable Alternatives
Living a more sustainable lifestyle starts one step at a time, and more often than not, it starts with education. Whether you’re passionate about promoting the slow-fashion movement, reducing the waste that ends up in landfills, or protecting the sea turtles, you can choose the impact you want to have on the world. Selecting metal straws over plastic ones, using a reusable coffee cup every day, ordering items on Etsy instead of Amazon, and purchasing products from companies that offer fair wages to their employees all positively contribute to the planet and make for excellent resolutions. After all: new year, new goals.
Make Healthier Choices
Walk up the stairs, try a juice cleanse, take a break from social media, eat more vegetables, increase your water intake, start rock climbing—the possibilities for living a healthier life are endless. Whatever you choose, make a single specific goal and go from there. You’ll surely feel better about having a healthy new year.