If you’re struggling to stick to your New Year’s resolution in 2023, consider these tips from medical experts offering resolution ideas that may be easier to commit to.
Some common New Year’s resolutions are to eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight and save money, according to a survey conducted by the website Statista — as noted by Nicholette Leanza, an Ohio-based therapist at LifeStance Health.
“However, the best resolution is the one that is right for you and that may be different from what others are doing,” Leanza told Fox News Digital.
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Leanza urges people to challenge themselves to be creative and think outside the box.
“Expect to encounter some challenges or setbacks along the way but don’t allow that to discourage you,” she said. “By maintaining a positive attitude and staying committed to your goals, you will make progress toward achieving your resolution.”
“New Year’s resolutions, founded in tradition, are shared each year, hopefully and expectantly, by people worldwide, but rarely do these goals turn into long-term habits,” echoed Dr. Kyra Bobinet, of California, who is the CEO & founder of FreshTri.com.
“Recent brain science supports that lasting behavior change may be achieved more effectively through a practice-and-iteration approach rather than a performance-based one,” Bobinet added.
As Bobinet put it, practice is about trying on a new habit as a trial period and then, when the practice no longer works, you iterate — meaning, you tweak and adjust until you find the next thing that fits your life.
“This iteration protects the brain from sensing failure that would otherwise halt progress or negatively impact mental health,” she said.
Leanza suggested choosing a resolution that “aligns with your values, goals and passions” whcih will perhaps then increase your commitment to achieving that resolution.
In addition, consider leaning on a supportive network of friends who can help hold yourself accountable.
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Ahead, 10 New Year’s resolutions to consider making for your health and wellbeing in 2023.
1. Make mindfulness meditation part of your everyday life.
“This is an essential resolution because mindfulness, which is the practice of bringing one’s attention to the present moment, has been shown to have numerous benefits to our mental, emotional and physical health,” Leanza said.
“Set aside time each day to focus on your breath and tune your attention into the present moment by engaging your senses and taking in the sights, sounds and sensations around you,” Leanza said. “This can help anchor you to the present moment.”
Consider trying apps like Simple Habit, Insight Timer, Calm or Headspace to make the practice stick.
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If meditation isn’t for you, try taking time daily to focus on gratitude or write in a gratitude journal.
“Instead of ruminating on what went wrong, practice reframing and refocusing at the end of each day to celebrate what you learned. By focusing on gratitude and progress, you can change the way you think about yourself, your abilities and your experiences,” Bobinet said.
2. Try one small resolution and adjust it with time as needed.
Bigger apparently isn’t always better.
“Studies have shown that healthy habits are more easily formed and maintained when they are achieved through a series of small, manageable efforts that offer flexibility in day-to-day life. Instead of creating a big goal and going all-in for a few weeks before burning out and quitting, choose small efforts that will help you to achieve the overarching objective,” said Bobinet, noting that this could be as simple as scheduling an evening walk with a loved one to increase your daily steps.
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Bobinet said that if you can always tweak your practice if it’s not working for you. For example, try walking in the morning instead of the evening or park further away to get your steps in while running errands.
3. Focus on your sleep hygiene.
“Making a resolution to prioritize sleep and create healthy habits that support restful sleep will help you to manage stress better, improve your mood, and increase your cognitive function,” Leanza said.
“In fact, the National Sleep Foundation emphasizes the connection between good sleep and positive overall health and recommends that adults should aim for seven-to-nine hours of sleep per night,” she added.
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Some of Leanza’s go-to tips for improving sleep habits are to establish a regular sleep schedule, to create a relaxing bedtime routine and to avoid screens before bed.
4. Resolve to be less regimented on traditions and timelines.
This resolution emphasizes being kinder to yourself and giving yourself more leeway.
“Strict timelines or deadlines can often derail progress toward building lasting healthy habits. The truth is, you can have a fresh start anytime you choose. Life isn’t a pass or fail, it’s about learning, growing and iterating until you find the things that work well for you and also the things that don’t,” Bobinet said, sharing that she uses the refrain “practice makes progress” to stay flexibly minded.
“The path to sustainable change is more likely when motivation is internally powered and grown over time, rather than generated by external factors like challenges, dates or the approval of others,” she added.
5. Create a healthy work-life balance.
Not letting work consume your life is vital for living a happy, healthy life: “According to the Journal of Occupational Medicine, achieving a healthy work-life balance can have positive impacts on mental health and increase productivity,” Leanza said.
Leanza noted that achieving a healthy work-life balance can have positive impacts on mental health and increase productivity, as also stated in the Journal of Occupational Medicine.
Some ideas to get the ball rolling on this are to set clear boundaries, prioritize self-care and find strategies to lessen your stress at work, Leanza added.
Trying switching off your notifications and stop checking your work email on weekends or when you have the day off from your job.
6. Argue more but argue better.
This is the catchy tagline of Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., Ph.D., New York-based author of “Stronger Than You Think: The 10 Blind Spots That Undermine Your Relationship…and How to See Past Them.”
Whether romantic, familial or friendship, relationships may have issues. So, consider making this new year one where you enhance the relationships in all realms of your life.
“The key is to keep small problems small by addressing them as they arise, and before issues grow into all-out fights that can permanently damage the relationship,” Lewandowski said. “When you have these discussions, plan them out so you avoid impulsively saying the wrong thing.
He went on, “Also, remember that it’s not you against your partner, but both of you working to solve the problem.”
7. Reduce screen time.
Leanza said that spending too much time on devices can increase stress, reduce sleep and impact your interactions with other people.
“Setting this resolution can really improve many aspects of your life. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends screens to be turned off at least one hour before bed to promote better sleep habits and to help improve mental health,” she said.
Make strides in cutting back by setting limits on your screen time, take consistent breaks from your devices, and find other healthy activities to do instead, suggested Leanza.
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8. Spend more time in nature.
Getting outdoors may help reduce screen time, too,
“Being in nature has been shown to have numerous mental health benefits and according to the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology, exposure to nature can help improve mood and reduce stress,” Leanza said.
Leanza suggested going on walks or hikes, spending time at a park or even just admiring the trees and the sky.
9. Reduce negative self-talk.
Some may be guilty of letting the voice inside your head get the best of you, which is known as negative self-talk.
Negative self-talk are unhelpful thoughts and beliefs that you have about yourself and your abilities, according to Leanza.
“It’s basically the harmful things we tell ourselves that lower our self-esteem and increase our negative emotions,” said Leanza.
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Leanza pointed out that decreasing negative self-talk can help you have a more positive outlook, improve stress and increase self-esteem.
“Try identifying and challenging the negative self-talk mid-thought and recognizing the importance of self-compassion,” Leanza said.
10. Limit reactive responses.
Doing this takes some work, but it can have a positive effect on your mental health and personal relationships.
“Many times when something upsetting happens in our day, we react rather than taking a step back and examining the situation. By aiming to be less reactive to negative experiences, we are better able to take in situations and respond more effectively,” said Roopal Pujara Lalaji, a California-based clinical psychologist at Enara Health.
For example, shared Pujara Lalaji, if your boss is upset with something you did, take a step back to reflect and examine your thoughts, feelings and options rather than immediately turning to vices — for example, food for comfort.
“The reflection can provide an opportunity to engage with your boss, problem-solve around the issue, feel your feelings or move on to another task on your to-do list rather than turning to food,” she said.
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