January is the time of year when everyone sets their goals for the year. The focus can be professional aspirations, hopes for one’s family, or, most often, creating the “new you” health-wise. We do not need to wait all year to start focusing on improving any of these; however, a fresh year seems to inspire people in the form of New Year’s resolutions.
As individuals embark on the journey of a new year, January 1 marks International Self-Care Day, a global celebration promoting personal well-being and encouraging the pursuit of New Year’s resolutions. This day encourages people worldwide to prioritize self-care practices, encompassing physical and mental aspects, as they strive for positive transformations.
Following closely on January 3 is International Mind-Body Wellness Day, emphasizing the interconnectedness of mental and physical health. These observances collectively inspire individuals to weave New Year’s resolutions into their self-care routines, fostering a holistic approach that addresses personal growth and overall wellness. As we embrace the new year, the combination of self-care and mindful well-being becomes a powerful catalyst for positive change and a foundation for achieving resolutions.
How Many People Make New Year’s Resolutions?
According to the market research company Drive Research, the statistics surrounding New Year’s Resolutions are as follows:
- 38% of adults will at least make a New Year’s resolution. While these resolutions often do not pan out, most adults head into them feeling positive (81%). Of that group, 86% of men feel confident they will stick to their goals, while 79% of women feel sure about it.
- Nearly 40% of Gen Zers feel pressured to make a resolution. This is likely why there are so many failed New Year’s resolutions in the first place. Additionally, men (35%) feel more pressured than women (28%) to make yearly goals.
- 54% of parents make New Year’s resolutions. This is 1.6x more than adults who do not have children. Parents who want to instill this tradition in their children can work on making resolutions together.
- In 2007, people were slightly more dedicated to making their resolutions a reality. 12% stuck with their goal throughout the year. Over half (52%) of people felt confident they would meet their goal when the goal was initially set.
- 77% of adults try to keep themselves accountable when sticking with a resolution. Gen Zers cite themselves as least likely to hold themselves accountable with their resolutions, implying they need outside motivation.
- 46% of adults are still sticking with their resolutions after six months. Conversely, only 4% of people who set a goal but not a resolution are successful by mid-year.
Depending on your age and home life, resolutions can be significant. As for desired improvements, include health-related items; the top three resolutions (lose weight, eat healthier, and exercise more, number one), and fourth place is saving more money. Studies show that both men and women typically share the top four resolutions. Overall, women will lean more towards health-related goals while men look at professional aspirations.
Quitter Mentality and Overcoming
Anyone familiar with resolutions knows the toughest, most challenging part is keeping with them for the long term. The first couple weeks have a rough trend, with 21% quitting the first week, 64% quitting after the first month, and 81% not following through by the second month. Only 9% will follow through and keep their New Year’s resolution. A strange fact in studies is that people are most likely to quit on the second Friday of the month. What better time to break a habit than right before a nice weekend?
The reasons we give up so quickly on resolutions that could improve our lives will vary from person to person and culture. Typically, the most significant reasons are a lack of motivation or not having enough time. When picking one’s goal, one should consider one’s life to see if their “change” will work. If your goal is to go to the gym two hours per day, but you work a physical job with 10-hour shifts, this may not be the best choice.
Another example is eating healthier. Going cold turkey on unhealthy foods may be challenging if that is all you are used to. A good plan would be slowly reducing unhealthy foods and integrating healthier items into your meals. A slow buildup to the healthier side with a gradual decline in unhealthy foods may lead to a better chance of keeping up with eating healthier. The most challenging part is consistency and imagining the results if you keep with it.
A last option is to ensure your goals are specific and tied to something personal. If you say you want to lose weight, then there is a good chance you will fail. The statement is broad and does not lead you in a specific way. A better statement would be to say I want to lose 15 pounds by May 1st. Now you have an amount and a due date. Next, you can plan how to do this by May 1st and create a solid plan for success. As mentioned, tying a goal to a personal want will significantly increase the chances for success. For instance, I want to lose 15 pounds by May 1st so I can run and play with my kids. This emotional/personal tie can help motivate you more than anything else because you are losing weight for yourself and your kids and their happiness.
Now That You Will Commit, How to Take Care of Yourself
As mentioned earlier, health-related items are the top three spots on New Year’s resolutions. The reason is that self-care is essential to handle the day-to-day stressors we all experience in our lives. Being physically and mentally healthy will promote more resilience against stress while living happier and longer lives. Because of this, we will focus on how to better care for your mind and body.
Mind over matter
Mental self-care stands as an indispensable cornerstone in our journey towards holistic well-being. In an increasingly fast-paced world filled with various stressors and demands, nurturing our mental health becomes paramount. It encompasses a spectrum of practices, habits, and attitudes that enable us to develop resilience, emotional balance, and inner peacefulness. Engaging in activities that foster self-awareness, mindfulness, and emotional control empowers us to navigate life’s challenges more easily. Here are some strategies for creating mental health habits:
- Mindfulness and Meditation—Mindfulness and meditation techniques foster present-moment awareness, reduce stress, and enhance emotional well-being. Integrating short meditation or mindful breathing exercises into daily routines can yield significant mental health benefits. This can occur at work during a five-minute quiet period or even during your drive home with some calming music playing.
- Physical Exercise—Regular physical activity contributes to physical fitness and is pivotal in boosting mood, reducing stress, and improving mental clarity. Engaging in activities such as walking, jogging, yoga, or other forms of exercise can positively impact mental health. If you resolve to lose weight, your new exercise will double dip for benefits to both mind and body.
- Healthy Sleep Patterns—Prioritizing quality sleep is crucial for mental health. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a conducive sleep environment, and practicing relaxation before bedtime can improve sleep quality and overall well-being.
- Social Connections—Cultivating meaningful relationships and social connections is vital for mental health. Spending time with supportive friends or family members, participating in community activities, and seeking social support can bolster emotional resilience.
- Setting Boundaries and Self-Care—Learning to set boundaries, saying no when necessary, and prioritizing self-care activities like hobbies, relaxation, and leisure time can prevent burnout and enhance overall mental wellness.
Fostering positive mental health habits is fundamental for nurturing a strong mindset. Integrating mindfulness, physical activity, healthy sleep patterns, social connections, and self-care into our daily lives can significantly enhance our mental well-being. Cultivating these habits helps us cope with life’s challenges and enables us to thrive, fostering a sense of happiness and fulfillment. Prioritizing our mental health through positive habits is an invaluable trait that reaps countless benefits, ultimately leading to a more balanced and fulfilling life.
Charting the Course for Transformation: Embracing Overarching Themes in Your New Years Resolutions
As the new year dawns, resolutions become a good opportunity for personal growth, with overarching themes guiding the pursuit of a more fulfilling and balanced life. Research suggests that embracing mindful living stands out as a timeless resolution theme, as studies have demonstrated the positive impact of mindfulness on stress reduction and overall well-being (Brown & Ryan, 2003). Additionally, health and wellness take center stage, with scientific evidence supporting the notion that even small changes, such as regular exercise and healthier dietary choices, can significantly enhance physical and mental well-being (Warburton et al., 2006). Lifelong learning becomes a beacon for personal development as research highlights the cognitive benefits of continued intellectual engagement and curiosity (Hultsch et al., 1999).
Another vital resolution theme revolves around relationships, emphasizing the importance of meaningful connections with loved ones and fostering new friendships. Numerous studies underscore the positive influence of social connections on mental health and life satisfaction (Helliwell et al., 2020). Financial fitness takes a pragmatic turn as resolutions focus on creating budgets, saving, and making informed investment decisions, aligning with research linking financial well-being to overall life satisfaction (Hurst & Lusardi, 2004). Environmental consciousness gains prominence, with research supporting the notion that sustainable living practices contribute to personal well-being and the planet’s health (Steinfield et al., 2018). Finally, embracing creativity emerges as a source of joy and fulfillment, supported by studies highlighting the positive impact of engaging in creative activities on mental health and cognitive function (Stuckey & Nobel, 2010). By weaving these evidence-backed overarching themes into their resolutions, individuals can leverage scientific insights to embark on a transformative journey towards a more purpose-driven and harmonious life in the year ahead.
Strategic Thinking for Success: Mastering the Long Game in Your Pursuit of Goals
We have discussed many benefits of being healthy both in mind and body, which is why these are the top New Year’s resolutions. While stats show that most of us will quit by the first month or so, we need to consider the long-term gains of starting this new lifestyle. One easy way to help keep the momentum strong is to have a personal attachment to why you are improving your health. Also, ensure you pick something you enjoy that will help you stick with the routine. Lastly, communities of people like you can help motivate you and keep you on track for a better, healthier you.