The Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions – And How to Achieve Them
29 January 2019
~ 5 minute read – Each year, millions of us make New Year’s resolutions.
We start the year full of motivation, but come 1st February, we have lost our mojo.
Statistics show that 78% of us fail our new year’s resolutions. By setting realistic objectives and following key tips to stay motivated, we really can succeed. So, what are the most popular new year’s resolutions?
1. Improve Health
This is always a popular one and usually combines following a healthier diet with a more frequent exercise regime.
The key here is to not be too strict with either our diet or our exercise regime, but instead develop sustainable eating habits and set a series of smaller, more achievable fitness goals, as opposed to one big goal.
If we’re serious about improving our health, we need to start thinking differently about our diet and lifestyle and change those bad habits.
Think about small changes you can make to your diet, such as swapping supermarket cakes for homemade options with less sugar, or switching from roasted peanuts to raw walnuts.
You’re far more likely to stick to an exercise regime if you enjoy it. Think about what you’d enjoy doing. Do you prefer solitary exercises – such as walking or bike rides – or team sports?
Do any of your hobbies require a little physical effort? For example, gardening is a great form of exercise – and productive at the same time! You’re bound to work multiple muscle groups what with all the tugging, lugging and squatting! But if you’re cutting trees and bushes, or weeding large areas, you’ll fill your bin in double-quick time, so it’s worth hiring a skip bin. Having a skip will also motivate you to get the job finished, rather than allowing it to drag out over several weeks as the bin gets emptied and refilled over and over.
Swap chocolate for homemade treats with a lower sugar content and opt for grilled meat and fish over the fried variety.
If you’re really craving chocolate or a packet of chips, have some! If you deprive yourself for too long, you’ll end up bingeing. But rather than wolfing down the whole chocolate bar, limit yourself to 3 squares.
Replacing white carbohydrates (such as white bread and rice) with wholegrains, such as brown bread, rice and oats, could save you up to 700 calories per week, whilst increasing your fibre intake and boosting your metabolism.
There are literally hundreds of simple changes you can make to lower your sugar and fat intake and reduce your calorie consumption, from swapping mayo for mustard, to substituting spaghetti for zucchini spirals.
2. Lose Weight
This often goes hand-in-hand with diet and exercise. Again, rather than putting yourself through days of starvation and exhaustion from too much exercise, break bad habits with realistic changes. Make sustainable lifestyle choices, rather than setting yourself radical challenges.
Break your overall weight loss goal down into smaller, more achievable goals.
For example, if you’re aiming to lose 10kg, devise an eating and exercise plan and work out how much you can realistically lose per month.
And remember, muscle weighs more than fat. So, rather than obsess with the scales, instead focus on your measurements. Take your waist, hip, thigh and upper arm measurements before you implement your lifestyle changes and again every month. This will more accurately reflect your fat loss than the scales will. And even the smallest adjustments to your measurements can be hugely rewarding – and motivational!
3. Save Money
There are literally 101 ways you can save money, but here are a few top tips to follow:
- Create a budget and record your expenses. This will help you to identify any areas where your spending is out of proportion.
- Review your utility bills and compare providers. You can make a considerable saving by just switching to an alternative provider.
Follow these top tips to save up to 40% off your power and water bills:
- Swap traditional lightbulbs for CLFs
- Turn off appliances at the plug
- Only use the dishwasher or washing machine with a full load
- Wash your clothes in cold water
- Dry your clothes on a line rather than using the tumble-dryer
- Close doors to retain the heat / cool air
- Use ceiling fans over air-con when possible
- Check the seals on your fridge door for leaks
- Fix leaky taps
- Avoid taking baths
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth
- Take shorter showers
- Install a low-flow shower-head
- Start salary packaging. Salary packaging – or salary sacrifice – enables you to reduce your tax and increase your take-home pay. ATO-approved and available to pretty much anyone who is employed, it’s a no-brainer!
- Review your insurance policies. Are you paying too much? Finding the right insurance can be a complex undertaking. Engage a reputable insurance broker to help you secure the right insurance. Experienced brokers can tailor a policy to your specific needs – and save you money. Remembers, brokers work on your behalf, not the insurer’s.
- Take your lunch into work. Make your lunch at home or take leftovers, to avoid buying lunch out. A $10 sandwich or sushi box from a café each day soon mounts up.
- Get quotes before committing. From home improvements and gym memberships, to freight forwarding, IT services, equipment and more – no matter what it is, comparing quotes can yield significant savings.
De-cluttering has been proven to reduce stress, increase motivation and improve sleep.
Depending on how much ‘stuff’ you have, de-cluttering can be a mammoth task and requires a methodical approach.
Start with one room at a time, working from the top down. Work through each room systematically and create piles for items you want to keep, items you can repurpose, items for charity and items of no use.
Arrange the items you want to keep neatly in drawers, or in boxes and store them away in cupboards or even a hired storage unit if you have a lot of boxes, or bulky items.
Once you’ve finished sorting, add the items of no use to a hired skip bin and take the items for charity down to the op shop right away, so you can clear the decks at home.
And don’t leave the items you want to repurpose lying around the house. If you don’t think you’ll get around to repurposing them any time soon, get rid of them! You need to be ruthless sometimes!
Once you’ve decluttered, it’s time for a good spring-clean!
5. Quit Smoking
This is still a popular new year’s resolution, even though the number of smokers has been in decline for some years.
Not only is smoking terrible for your health, but it is also bad for your wallet.
Some people swear by going cold turkey, while others take a gradual approach. But either way, there are lots of tips for quitting smoking, so try a few and find what works best for you.
6. Find a New Job
If you’re serious about finding a new job, you need to devote time to it. Update your CV, refresh your LinkedIn page and register with suitable recruitment agents. Networking – both online and offline – can also provide a great way of opening doors.
And when it comes to job interviews, research is key. Familiarise yourself with the company itself, its’ products and services, and the industry. Also, think about interview questions you’re likely to be asked and practice your responses to them.
7. Go Green
This is a newer addition to the traditional New Year’s resolution list, but is becoming an increasingly popular contender in the top 10 spots.
This is largely fueled by the recent surge in educational initiatives and media coverage around pollution and global warming. As a nation we are becoming more aware of the devastating impact this has on the environment – and are therefore making more environmentally-conscious decisions.
While you need to be disciplined, being ‘green’ isn’t as hard as you’d think. There are lots of easy ways to become more environmentally-responsible, a few of which include:
- Reduce your waste
- Avoid using disposable cups and food containers
- Shop with re-usable shopping bags
- Carpool, take public transport, or ride a bike
- Repurpose and recycle
Many people are also choosing to go ‘Zero Waste,’ not only because of the positive environmental impact, but also because it can save you money and help to improve your health.
Most of us love to travel, but don’t get to do so as often as we’d like.
Research the destinations you’d most like to visit and look at travel costs to determine which holiday option will best suit your budget and time-frame.
But travel is no longer just about holiday time. Medical tourism is a fast-growing industry and people are increasingly travelling to destinations like Turkey for cosmetic treatments, such as hair transplants, in a bid to save money on their procedure, while enjoying a holiday at the same time.
So, if you’d like to take a holiday – or several – this year, be sure to start saving money and planning in advance.
9. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
Spending time with loved ones can make us feel happier, more fulfilled and is generally good for our well-being. And with the busy lives we all live, it’s unsurprising that so many people vow to spend more time with loved ones every year.
Why not set a regular dinner date each week? Or agree to spend every second Sunday together? If your loved ones are further afield, arrange a regular Skype or FaceTime chat.
10. Learn a New Skill
Many people want to learn a new skill or take up a hobby, but all too often their routine lacks structure and things fall by the wayside.
Most of us can’t fit everything we’d like to do into our busy schedules, so prioritise what is most important to you. For example, enrolling in an online parenting course to help improve your child behaviour management skills might be more important to you than knitting lessons… so the knitting lessons might have to wait. Commit to one goal that’s achievable, rather than trying to take on too much.
If you’re tight on time, look at other areas of your life that could use less time. Australian spend an average of two hours and 27 minutes per day watching television. And this is time that could be better spent exercising, socialising, learning, or working through your To-Do list.
In summary, here are 6 simple tips on how to achieve your goals this year.
Following just a few simple steps can be the difference between failing and achieving you new year’s resolutions.
Here’s ‘cheers’ to a bigger, better 2019!