Our Top 5 BEST New Year’s Resolutions
We’re a whole week into 2021. And so far, it looks like this year will have a lot in common with 2020. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, many of us are still working from home, and there’s still stress and tension everywhere.
But we’re also smarter and wiser than ever before. 2020 taught us all a lot of valuable lessons. As humanity stopped moving and held it’s breath, all of our world’s got a lot smaller. In that quiet and focused place, we all became much more grateful for those simple things in life: family, friends, love, happiness, and most importantly, good health.
So with a year like 2020 in our rear-view mirror, how can our goals for 2021 be anything like the past. We’re all moving into a new world, and we’re armed with many new coping skills.
New Year’s resolutions can be incredibly motivating, empowering, or a total waste of time depending on how you word them and how you work them.
How You Word Them
The idea of starting fresh and developing new habits is undeniably a good idea. But when we put impossible goals with strict rules and a lot of negative self-talk into a brand new year, we’re setting ourselves up to fail.
New Year’s Resolution can be anything. They can be small and simple like practicing smiling more, or not interrupting people. They can be personal or focused on self-care like taking the time to do something you enjoy once a week. Or they can be activity-based, like making sure you get some activity, or starting a new physical hobby.
What they shouldn’t be… is outcome-based. The main reason people fail is that they’re focused on a result and not changing their behavior. Make your resolution something that alines with your final goal but isn’t the outcome. “Eat better” is too vague! How are you eating now? Do you know? Start with learning where you’re at, your problems, and develop a plan to get real about change.
How You Work Them
If your goal is outcome-based and you haven’t actually thought about the work and time it will take to achieve those goals… you’re doomed to fail from the start. Your life is still the same as it was last week. You have the same job, hours, issues, stress, and tendencies… So instead of just saying, “This time I’m going to eat less and work out more and finally lose all the weight,” make your goal about actionable consistent choices. Like, “This year, I will develop the habit of truthfully tracking my calories and slowly increasing my fitness.”
Last week we put together a list of The Top 5 Worst New Year’s Resolutions, and now… Here is the list of our Favorite Best New Year’s Resolutions that everyone can add to their 2021.
1. Drink Enough Water
Sick of hearing about this one? Well, it’s still important and still extremely undervalued. 72% of Americans do not get enough water each day. Now, it’s not just that we want you to be hydrated and go to the bathroom 20 times a day. We chose this because it’s such a fundamental step; it will help in every other aspect of your life and any other resolution you may have.
Want to lose weight? Drink more water. Want to wake up earlier? Drink more water. Want to feel better? Drink more water. Want to have better workouts? Drink more water? Want to avoid stress? Drink more water. Want to cut out sugar? Drink more water!
Don’t believe us? Here’s the facts on hydration.
To function properly, all the cells and organs of the body need water. These are just some of the things water is essential for. And when you deprive your body of it, everything starts to fail.
- It lubricates the joints
- It forms saliva and mucus
- It delivers oxygen throughout the body
- It boosts skin health and fights aging and wrinkling
- It cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues
- It regulates body temperature
- The digestive system depends on it
- It flushes body waste
- It helps maintain blood pressure
- It keeps your airways clear for better breathing
- It makes minerals and nutrients from your food accessible to your body
- It prevents kidney damage
- It boosts performance during exercise
When you deprive yourself of water, you’re not just thirsty, your body cannot function as it should, and you feel stressed, depleted, bloated, lethargic, unmotivated, and even depressed. So, it’s no wonder it’s on top of our list.
How much water you should be drinking? Use this calculator. The number will surprise you. Think 8 glasses? Wrong.
2. Move more, sit less
Between desk jobs, long commutes, and stay-at-home orders, I think we’re all guilty of sitting too much. And it turns out that sitting is the new smoking (it’s terrible for your health!). But we understand it’s not easy, and a lot of us don’t have complete control. We have to work, we have to care for children, we have to drive in traffic, and we have to take well-deserved breaks.
The good thing about this New Year’s Resolution is that it’s open. More and less. Relative terms. We know you can’t throw out your whole routine overnight, and you can’t quit your stay at home job where you sit for 10 hours staring at a screen. But you can make little changes.
Here’s our top tip. Set timers.
Only you will know how much time you can take and how frequently, but for example. Set a timer for an hour on your phone while you work. Every time it chimes. Get up and walk, stretch, or stand for 5 minutes or more. Not only will it help your blood circulation, but it’ll also most likely make you more productive by getting some fresh energy and a restorative mental break.
When you get home do you collapse onto the couch until it’s time to go to sleep? Set another timer. This time make it every 15-30 minutes. Pause the TV show and go get up and do something. Even if it’s quick. Fold that shirt that’s on the ground. Sweep the floors. Start a load of laundry. Check on the dinner. Water the plants. It doesn’t have to be huge, but just make sure you’re not sitting still for hours and hours.
Already a fitness guru but struggling to maintain your routine? Check out our blog on how to maintain your fitness routine here.
3. Ditch one bad habit
One of the things we see most often is people trying to be perfect once the ball drops. Listen, we all need to let loose and have a few vices. But New Year’s is a great time for getting rid of truly damaging habits. Just focus on one and stick with it until it’s gone.
It could be nail-biting, smoking, emotional eating, not flossing regularly, etc.
Pick something that you truly have a problem with and you’re ready to stop. Then create an action plan, get support, and don’t try to take on other big steps. Be patient and know that this is going to be difficult. But you can do it. Don’t worry if you’re not perfect all the time. Go slowly, be honest, and keep trying.
4. Develop a screen-less morning routine
Morning is like New Year’s every day. How we start our morning sets the pace for what kind of a day we’re going to have. Did you wash your face, listen to your favorite music, do some stretches, and make some breakfast? You’re off to a positive start. Did you roll over and get lost in Instagram and eventually get triggered to anger, envy, or just waste hours of your free time doing nothing? Eh, you’re probably going to roll out of bed eventually, right?
The perfect morning routine.
You’ve probably seen videos or read books about the world’s most successful millionaires and how they all have an intense morning routine. Many wake up before the sun and get in a heavy workout, some pray or meditate, some read. But all take advantage of these morning hours.
They’re also millionaires, and you’re… you! You can’t quit your job and ignore your kids. So, just like all of these recommendations, it needs to be personalized. The perfect morning routine is the one that you can do consistently and that makes your day happy and positive.
To create the perfect morning routine start with the things that you’re lacking and what energy you need to create.
Are you someone who is naturally a little sluggish and needs to get some energy and fire into your morning? You might want to listen to music and dance first thing. Or maybe you need to go on a run. Maybe turmeric or ginger tea and washing your face with cold water is the best way to add some zest to your wake up.
Are you someone who deals with anxiety? Is your day usually stressed out from the moment your eyes open? If that’s the case, this might be your chance to get grounded, meditate, do some calming exercises and prepare to meet the challenges of your day from a centered space.
Slowly develop through trial and error what works for you and what doesn’t. Then do your best to start your day that way every day. It may be a little clunky at first but it eventually will become a habit.
5. Put your phone away an hour before bed
Some of you just thought to yourselves, “Oh hell no!” Admit it. Yup, we’re all addicted to our phones. How many of you have been scrolling or watching something on your phone at night and dropped it on your face as you started to fall asleep. Be honest, we all have.
It’s funny, and it happens, but that doesn’t mean this is a good pattern. Once and a while, we all get caught up in an amazing show or stay up talking to a friend too late, and that’s fine. But using our phones as mind-numbing distractions and not being able to get in bed and nod off without them is something to be aware of.
But why is it actually a problem? Well science says there’s 3 reasons.
Blue light is harmful to your eyes.
The blue light emitted by your cell phone screen restrains melatonin production, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle (aka circadian rhythm). This makes it even more difficult to fall asleep and wake up the next day. The circadian rhythm seems to be especially sensitive to blue light since it has a short wavelength. Studies also show that exposure to blue light can cause damage to your retinas.
Increases alertness at night.
Say you just received a strongly worded email or saw a Facebook post you disagreed with. It’s going to be more difficult for you to relax and go to sleep now that you’re all fired up. Even if it’s not upsetting content, keeping your mind engaged by scrolling through your phone can trick your brain into thinking it needs to stay awake.
Compromises alertness the next morning.
Since you spent that extra time staying awake reading emails instead of sleeping, now you’re going to be more tired and less alert for the next day. And who wants to be less aware and more sluggish throughout the day? Aside from the fact that late-night scrolling can make you less efficient, it can also lead to a significant and chronic sleep deficiency.
So what do you do instead? Lots of things. Reading is definitely one of the best ways to start. If books aren’t your thing try going on a walk, journaling, prepping your food for the next day, or taking a relaxing bath. The important thing is that the hour before sleep is screen-free, and you’re left to wind down without too many stimuli.
Happy New Year!
So that’s our top tips for healthy New Year’s Resolutions that you can slowly incorporate into your routine for long-term improvements to your health and happiness. Whatever your goals are for 2021, be patient with yourself, your journey, and the ups and downs of the year.
Is meal-prep a goal of yours in 2021? MacroPlate wants to be a part of your journey. Look into our wide variety of menus for every lifestyle and caloric needs. Not into meal-prep but looking for food delivery that helps keep you on track? Check out our a-la-carte options!