2020 was unlike any other, so it’s not surprising if your New Year’s resolutions for 2021 look a bit different. With the unexpected challenges we’ve endured throughout the last ten months, you may feel anxious or stressed as you approach the new year. And while it’s easy to focus your energy on self-improvement — making promises to work out, eat healthier, and be more productive in the new year — it’s important to give yourself some grace. Here are three tips to setting achievable New Year’s resolutions for 2021:
Tip #1: Start small
If nothing else, 2020 taught us how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle. But before you start jotting down a list of fitness and nutrition to do’s, think about what kinds of intentions you want to set and start small. For instance, if your goal is to run a marathon, consider committing instead to walking or jogging one mile per day, then working your way up without the pressure of racing on a specific date. That way, you won’t burn yourself out or get discouraged too quickly. If you want to go vegan, try incorporating meatless Mondays into your routine, then perhaps moving to a vegetarian diet before making the jump to vegan. The same is true for things we want to stop doing in our daily life— perhaps smoking or consuming alcohol. Quitting cold turkey can sometimes have the opposite effect in terms of success, causing you to bounce back to old habits when it gets overwhelming. To avoid this, cut back slowly with small changes like only drinking on weekends. You may also benefit from a natural detox to hit your body’s reset button.
Tip #2: Be present
In times of distress, we often look for distractions to shift our focus from what’s actually going on in our daily lives. Particularly in 2020, you may have found your phone usage increased, or that you feel less productive, even though technically you have more time at home than ever before. Whether it’s putting a halt to the endless scrolling on your phone every morning or introducing a mindfulness practice of yoga and meditation, focusing on the present moment lowers stress hormones. And when we feel less stressed, we sleep better, have improved memory, and experience less health problems down the road.
Tip #3: Make adjustments
You may have started with a specific goal, but later realized it wasn’t realistic. It’s never too late to change your resolutions, so cut yourself some slack and start fresh. Perhaps your original plan was to train for a marathon, later realizing you don’t like running. The best way to succeed at a movement-focused goal is to find something you can enjoy doing. So if it’s not running, you may try an online HIIT, dance, or yoga class. And if exercise doesn’t turn out to be your focus for the new year, shift to something else you can control, like swapping out toxic products around your home — from skincare to cleaning supplies.
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