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Achievable New Year’s resolutions

| Wellness | Healthy You

Woman making a smoothie

7 ideas to jump start your new year.

New Year’s resolutions do not have to fall by the wayside by Jan. 7. In as little as three weeks or 21 days or 504 hours, you can create a healthy habit. So how do you start a new routine or habit?

Big and small goals

“The key to any type of health-related goal is to start small and be consistent,” said Sneha Patel, DO, a family practitioner at PeaceHealth in Bellingham, Washington. You may want to start by creating a lofty goal and then breaking it into achievable portions. Small, short-term goals are easier to accomplish and keep. This can help you stay motivated. Soon enough, these small achievements will lead you to your larger goal.

Tell someone

Another point to remember, according to Dr. Patel is to “get an accountability partner to keep you focused on your goal and make it fun!” When you share your goal with your friends and family, they can help motivate you. This also helps with accountability. Perhaps you want to invite someone to join you while you work on your resolution. Everything is better with a friend.

Reward yourself

“Don’t forget to treat yourself once in a while and celebrate your successes,” she said.  If you’ve had your eye on a new pair of walking shoes or workout outfit this may be a great reward for achieving your goal. Or maybe you want to buy a new pan for cooking or a cookbook with healthy recipes. All these things can help you maintain your progress.

Resolution ideas

Now that you have a game plan, here are some resolution ideas that are not too difficult to maintain long-term:

  1. Eat more whole foods (fruit, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish): Try incorporating one whole food with each meal.
  2. Move more, sit less: Stand while working at your desk job a few times a week; go for a walk on your lunch break; take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  3. Find a physical activity you enjoy: Try new things this year to make staying active fun and make it work with your schedule e.g., going for a swim before work, trying a new yoga or Zumba class, looking for new workout videos online.
  4. Spend more time outside. Even a walk around the block can help with a long-term goal of more physical activity.
  5. Limit your screen time: Carve out an hour a day where you won't use any device (tv, phone, computer).
  6. Schedule a vacation: Time off is key for your mental health.
  7. Cook more meals at home: Consider how many times you eat out in a week and decrease that by half.

Track your successes and progress. You may not be able to walk 60 minutes each day, but if you can achieve 20 minutes of walking each day you can build up to 60 minutes. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not able to achieve your goal each day or week.

Check with your provider before starting a new fitness routine.