New Year’s is touted as an exciting opportunity for a fresh start. However, it can often create more stress than excitement. Many people make their New Year’s resolutions with good intentions. However, they may set unrealistic resolutions. When they don’t reach those resolutions, they end up feeling bad about themselves.
But that doesn’t mean that New Year’s resolutions are always hopeless. By reframing your expectations, you can set actually achievable goals.
3 Realistic Resolutions for 2023
1. Move more.
Many people go into the new year with grandiose goals of losing a ton of weight or suddenly becoming a powerlifter or marathon runner. But, as with most things, fitness-related goals take time. And it’s important to ask yourself why you’re making those goals in the first place. Is it to look a certain way? If so, you’re more likely to end up disappointed, even if you manage to reach those goals. In reality, certain brands or internet personalities will always be there, making you feel you must constantly chase after an unattainable image.
Exercise is known to benefit mental health in a variety of ways. And it doesn’t require a fancy gym membership, either. A more realistic approach would be to focus on movement, not because of how it may make you look, but because it’s good for you inside, too.
Simply walking for 30 minutes a few times a week can make a big difference in how you feel. Perhaps you try other forms of exercise like yoga, pilates, or bodyweight strength training. Remember, when it comes to moving your body more, it requires consistency, and it’s more about progress than perfection. Don’t jump into a 6-day per-week routine right away—it might be overwhelming. Instead, do what’s realistic for your fitness level and schedule. Then, build on to that over time.
2. Be more present.
With so many distractions around us (especially when it comes to mobile phones), it’s easy to get pulled away from the present. Stress levels are higher than ever, which isn’t good for long-term well-being. Taking time to actively exist in the present moment gives your brain a break from constant stimulation and information overload.
Practicing daily mindfulness is a great start to reducing stress and finding inner contentment. Start small—try meditating for 5 minutes every day, then increase the amount of time the more you practice. If meditating isn’t a fit for you, set a goal to practice one mindfulness exercise daily, whether deep breathing or a 5-senses exercise. You can also try completing a journal entry each day using prompts.
3. Create routines.
Routines can be soothing, particularly when it comes to bedtime and mornings. Establishing a routine can help you sleep better and feel better in the morning. By training your brain in this way, you can create healthier habits that make you feel good. Establishing a routine might look like this:
Night time: Wash your face, take a soothing bath, drink a comforting cup of herbal tea, read for a bit, do some light yoga stretches, and/or meditation.
Morning: Avoid checking your phone first thing, drink a cool glass of water, do some energizing stretches, set positive intentions for the day, and/or eat a balanced meal.
One of the most significant aids in following through on your resolutions is having someone to keep you accountable. This could be a friend or family member. It could also be a counselor or therapist. Sometimes, having the support of a third-party professional can help you establish healthy motivation and create good mental health habits.