New Year's Resolutions You Can Actually Keep
While almost four in five Canadians make new year’s resolutions, 78% of them have failed to stick to them.
The most common reasons why people fail to meet their resolutions are unrealistic expectations or not using smaller benchmarks to track their progress. New Year's resolutions almost always involve improving some aspect of our overall wellness. Wilfrid Laurier University defines the Seven Dimensions of Wellness as physical, mental, financial, social, spiritual, environmental, and vocational. Check out these low-maintenance tips on those first three areas.
RESOLUTIONS FOR BETTER PHYSICAL HEALTH
Easy Ways to Eat Healthier
When making your shopping list, cut out all the junk: cookies, chips, candy bars and pop. Replace them with your favourite fruit, vegetables, healthy snacks and juice. It sounds simple in theory, but you will need determination and get the whole family on board.
Exercise You Can Stick To
For many people, the thought of going to a gym or joining a sports club fills them with dread. Try using a stationary bike, treadmill or rowing machine (buy used and save money) and place it in front of the TV. Watching your favourite shows while exercising will make it much more enjoyable. Set up a realistic routine you can stick to and try to exercise with a partner to help keep you on track.
Cut Back on Screen Time
People who sit for long periods of time — especially during their leisure time — are at much greater risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. Stop binge-watching Netflix and take up a hobby that gets you moving, like taking dance classes, joining a walking club or gardening. Joining in with a partner can keep you motivated.
SMALL STEPS FOR IMPROVED MENTAL HEALTH
Take up Meditation and/or Yoga
Studies suggest mindfulness meditation and yoga can reduce stress, anxiety and depression while improving sleep. Most towns and cities have yoga/meditation studios, or you can try them out for free by taking guided meditation lessons and yoga classes on YouTube.
Reap the Benefits of Being Kind
Research reveals that acting kindly towards others improves our mood and increases positive emotions. Try daily acts of kindness, like holding a door for someone or helping an older person cross the street. Or you could take it up a notch and volunteer for a cause that’s close to your heart.
Laugh More, Feel Better
Laughter boosts feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, which can reduce stress and boost your mental health. Meet up more often with friends who make you laugh, read humorous books, watch funny movies, or go to comedy clubs.
STEPS FOR IMPROVED FINANCIAL HEALTH
Make a Plan
The first step is to create a financial plan and budget. Financial worries can lead to mental and physical ill-health, so it makes sense to prioritize this part of your life. Here's a list of free or cheap budgeting apps to get you started.
Reduce Your Debt
Once you have a plan, the next step is usually to reduce your debt so you have more money available to grow your savings. Reduce unnecessary expenses so you can pay off debt faster. Focus on paying off the most expensive debt first and consider taking out a consolidation loan.
Create Short and Long-Term Savings
Now that you have a solid foundation with your budget, it's time to start planning for the future. Creating an emergency fund for unexpected expenses like car or home repairs can be a great start to your short-term savings. Other short-term savings ideas include:
• Vacation savings
• Holidays and gift giving
• Other opportunities you'd like your future self to take advantage of
It's never too early to start long-term savings for retirement. Increase your financial literacy by learning about investing, your pension plan, and other ways your money can work for you. And finally, lean on the advice of your financial advisor to help you reach your goals. Each savings plan is unique, so prioritize what's most important to you.