It’s that time of year again. The time when we promise to change our lives for the better and make resolutions to be more mindful, healthier, and happier. Last year you may have resolved to lose weight or be more positive. If it didn’t stick, this year is your chance to do it right.
In this post, I’m sharing 11 New Year’s resolution ideas that are sure-fire ways to reverse the root cause of illness and restore your joy in living — no matter what life throws at you. We all know resolutions are often hard to stick within the long term, but these S.M.A.R.T ideas should help you stay resolute and make a change that lasts through 2022 and beyond.
How To Make a New Year’s Resolution
Around 4,000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions in an attempt to gain favor with the gods. Paying debts and returning borrowed items topped their lists.1 Not much different than today. The top five modern resolutions usually involve…exercise to get in shape, diet to lose weight, saving money, getting healthier in general, and some sort of self-care act.
Even if you have no idea what kind of resolution to make this year, there’s a resolution out there for you, and it doesn’t have to be crazy, complex, or boring. Start with these six sacred actions you can take right now to release old thoughts, feelings, patterns, and beliefs that no longer serve your highest good.
Then make a list of all the things you want to change about yourself or habits you want to break. Write down anything you can think of, whether it’s big or small…eat more plant-based foods or finally run a marathon. Then assign each resolution two ratings on a scale in terms of both difficulty and importance (one being the easiest/least important; five+ being hardest/most important).
Afterward, pick out three resolutions that are most significant for your health and well-being. Sit with them for a few days, observing your current behavior as it relates to each one. If you want to choose just one, which I recommend, make sure it’s difficult enough so you feel a sense of accomplishment as you stick to it throughout the year but also not so challenging that you give up by month two.
If you still can’t think of anything, the resolution ideas below were chosen because they resonate with many people looking to improve their health and find more happiness day to day, which we could all use during this continuing pandemic!
11 New Year’s Resolution Ideas You Can Stick To in 2022
- Read or listen to one book a month: Reading can help prevent cognitive decline and even contribute to longevity,2 but many people struggle to find the time. Enter audiobooks. “Read” during your commute (whether you’re driving or taking public transportation) by downloading an audiobook or podcast and enjoy!
- Start a journal and write in it every day: This resolution is great for getting your thoughts out, tracking progress, and improving mental health. Also called expressive writing, journaling can lead to better clinical outcomes in patients with autoimmune conditions,3,4 have positive effects on blood pressure,5 and has the potential to significantly reduce depression.6 Try sitting down to write for five uninterrupted minutes, writing freely, without reading back on what you wrote or editing.
- Once a week, cook and eat a new meal: Cooking your own food is not only healthier, it also saves you money.7 Studies show eating more meals at home results in more fruit and vegetable intake, better adherence to healthy diets such as plant-based or Mediterranean, and increased plasma vitamin C levels.8 With so many recipes online and in magazines, there’s no excuse not to try something new at least once a week.
- Do one thing you’re afraid of every day: This resolution can help build courage and self-confidence, especially if you start small and work your way up to more daring (for you) actions. Try taking a yoga or dance class instead of using your home gym. Walk up to an attractive stranger and ask for directions, even if it makes you nervous. Or take it to the next level by finally taking a solo trip to Spain or ski-diving on your birthday. Neuroscience tells us that facing our fears head on makes us more resilient9 so do something that scares you at least once per day and watch your courage and self-esteem soar.
- Try one new physical activity every month: If you’re not enjoying your workout anymore or not exercising at all, then it’s time to mix things up. Try pilates, barre, or a spin class instead of your usual cardio routine. Or go hiking, mountain biking, or snowshoeing for an outdoor adventure that will give you a natural high and burn calories at the same time. A combination of endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility can improve physical fitness and health.10
- Volunteer your time once a month: Doing something good for someone else always makes us feel good inside, and volunteering is no exception. The benefits are well-documented, including significantly better health outcomes. Find an organization that resonates with you and volunteer your time regularly…even if it’s just a few hours per month. You’ll meet new people, learn new things, and make the world a little bit better in the process.
- Give one 20-second hug a day: Your body releases oxytocin during a warm hug, which makes you feel relaxed. But more than that, oxytocin can relieve stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure and heart rate,12 reduce inflammation, help with wound healing, and reduce alcohol and food cravings.13 So make an effort to give someone you care about a quick embrace at least once per day…and let the good vibes flow!
- Give yourself five compliments every day: We all have moments where self-doubt creeps in, but this resolution is about refocusing the mind on our positive qualities. Create a list of your positive attributes and refer back to them when things get tough…or at least once a day. Science shows self-affirmations can improve stress levels, well-being, academic performance, and make people more open to changing their behavior.14
Brush your teeth twice a day and floss every night: It’s easy to let these oral hygiene habits slip, but they are important for not only keeping your teeth healthy but maintaining whole body health. Research consistently shows health starts in the mouth. Periodontal disease is closely tied to diabetes and can lead to a system-wide infection of pathogenic bacteria.15 The same bacteria responsible for periodontal disease has been found in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients.16 Brushing and flossing removes plaque buildup that can lead to periodontal disease if left alone. Plus, it keeps bad breath away!
- Increase exercise to 30 minutes daily: No resolution list is complete without specific exercise goals! Start small by committing to 20 minutes of activity three times per week. This could be a brisk walk, jog, or bike ride. Over time, you can gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts until you are hitting the recommended 30 minutes five times per week with a combination of aerobic and strength training exercise.17
- Drink eight glasses of water per day: This is an oldie but a goodie. Staying hydrated is essential for your health and wellbeing. Drinking enough water helps you feel more alert, regulate body temperature, maintain regular bowel movements, and flush out toxins.18 It also makes you feel fuller, which can prevent overeating and curb cravings, so get those 64 ounces in every day.
When it comes to New Year’s resolution ideas, let the S.M.A.R.T. acronym be your guide. Each one of these resolutions is a specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goal that will help you better yourself in body, mind, or spirit in the coming year. Whether it’s by committing to a daily journaling practice or trying a new form of physical activity once a month, keep your resolution ideas SMART and stay resolved to stick to your resolution in 2022!
These resolutions may be hard initially, but (if done consistently) over time they’ll become easier as you develop new habits and routines — sticking with them becomes second nature!
When it comes to your 2022 New Year’s resolution, plan for success. For example, if you want to lose weight, plan how much weight you need to lose each month to reach your total goal. It is also helpful to find someone who can hold you accountable for achieving your resolution by being supportive of what you’re trying to accomplish.
We’d love to be your resolution buddy for 2022 by helping you set your health and healing goals and working together so you succeed! Call the Silver Tree Wellness Center office today at 602-675-0170 to book an appointment for one of our naturopathic healing or medical spa services.