(Realistic) New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Diet & Exercise

(Realistic) New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Diet & Exercise

It's approaching the New Year and you want to make some positive changes. Read this article for some surefire New Year's resolution ideas.

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Did you know that 80% of New Year's resolutions fail by the second week of February? You start out with good intentions, high from the New Year's celebrations. And by February, you're back to your old habits.

What happened exactly? Did you aim too high? Or are New Year's resolutions just worthless?
Most people do aim too high. They can visualize a "better them" and they want to become that person quickly. Unfortunately, our brains just don't change that quickly.

To change your habits, you must take baby steps. This means choosing New Year's resolutions that better resemble training plans rather than some sort of golden standard.

If you take our advice, you can reach your ultimate diet and exercise goals this next year. Here are a few New Year's resolution ideas that are sure to help you realize your dreams in 2019.

1. New Years Resolution Ideas: Exercise to Feel Good Every Day

Unless you're willing to restrict your diet, exercise won't make you lose weight quickly. Weight loss is all about (good) calories in vs. calories out. And when you do lose weight, one-quarter of that is muscle.

Weight loss isn't useless. It's associated with better mood, reduced risk of diabetes, and better health overall. But it shouldn't be the only reason you exercise.

Exercise can be as powerful a mood booster as some anti-depressants and stimulants. Why is this? Our brains naturally produce neurochemicals called endorphins.

These are the chemicals that keep us happy and encourage us to continue doing good things with our bodies. We get endorphins by making love, eating chocolate, and being philanthropic.

We also get endorphins from intense exercise. When we stress our bodies, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain release endorphins. These simulate opioids in the brain and reduce discomfort.

Recent studies show that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is more effective at producing endorphins than longer, less intense exercise. Instead of one hour of exercise per day, do 30 minutes a day with 20 minutes of intense exercise. You will benefit from endorphins and feel better throughout the day.

So, make it your New Year's resolution to exercise to feel better every day.

2. Find the Root of Your Problems

Another reason people fail at New Year's resolutions: they are trying to fix the wrong problems. Often your bad habits are a symptom and not an actual cause.

If your goal is to lose weight by eating out less, maybe you're looking at the wrong part of the problem. The problem might actually be your job, relationship, or stress. It might even be something that happened in the past, or family disfunction that causes emotional eating.

You may not even realize your job is something you can change. Most people assume their job hours and stresses are immutable.

It's often easier to say no to family than it is to say no to a boss. But if you sit back and survey your work situation, you might see some areas where you can improve it.

Is there any way you can reduce your demand level? Do you have an accurate handle on your work responsibilities? Maybe you need to find a job that will give you more time to cook at home.

Time restraints can destroy most ultimate New Years goals by tax season, which is when the days are shorter, and stress is higher. Make it your goal this year find the underlying problems to your dieting woes.

3. Have Fun Doing Something Instead

Humans tend to do the opposite of what will actually help them. We assume that if you just punish ourselves for our bad deeds, we'll gravitate toward good deeds.

But think about the last time you received a punishment. Did you suddenly want to do the right thing? No. You just wanted to avoid the punishment however you could.

When you're the one in charge of the punishment, there's no way you're going to keep doing good things to avoid the penalty. You'll just stop punishing yourself and go back to what feels good.

Here's a real-world example: Nationally-recognized running coach Joe English believes in positive reinforcement for behavior change. He used it on himself and it worked.

Joe realized that alcohol was both worsening his depression and hampering his running performance. He quit cold turkey.

Most people wouldn't be able to quit a habit cold turkey, but the key was that he made it fun. He was a social drinker. He replaced his drinking friends with sober ones.

His advice? "Whatever change it is…you need to have fun, positive moments…to teach your brain that life can be good and fun without whatever it is you're giving up."

So, this year, replace one bad habit with a fun one.

4. Sign Up For a Program

A discerning biology professor once said, "no student is an island." And many students who didn't participate in group studies failed her class.

There's something to be said about group pressure when it comes to making goals a reality. If everyone around you is achieving at the same thing, it's hard not to join in.

There is a certain kind of accountability inherent in a group activity. And science backs up this claim. A recent study found that 70% of people who send weekly updates to a friend achieve their goals.

This is why weight loss programs like Weight Watchers work. They're not merely a diet program, they're a group activity.
Don't Just Sign Up for a GymCash can be another motivator associated with group programs. If you paid to participate, you're more likely to attend. But here's the rub, it must be a scheduled activity.

Signing up for a gym membership doesn't count. Doesn't matter if they offer classes. You're not likely to continue going if you weren't in the habit of exercising before.

Almost 50% of Americans drop their gym membership by the end of January, and most diets fail before Spring. But CrossFit sees a different number. They only see 37% of new members drop off by the end of January. What's the difference?

CrossFit is generally a group activity. The gym keeps track of your progress and you're suffering along with like-minded individuals. This is also the secret sauce in diets like WW that have been around for decades while others crash and burn after a few years. It also explains the appeal of hot diet apps like Noom that stress "wellness with social support" instead of even mentioning the word, "diet."

A gym, on the other hand, is a lonely place if you're not going along with friends. Few there keep track of your progress, and you can quickly get lost in the crowd.

This year make it your goal to join a weight loss program that offers the support of an online community, or take a weekly fitness class.

Just Do It

Procrastination is one of the greatest New Year's resolutions killer. It doesn't matter if it's a weight loss goal, an exercise goal, or habit elimination goal, the outcome will be the same if you don't get started.

100% of people who don't start on their New Year's resolution ideas fail. So get to it!

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10 Things I've Learned As Freshman Year Comes To A Close

Nine months taught me more than just what I learned in a classroom.

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Nine months ago I moved out on my own for the first time as I started my college career. Now, as I watch it come to a close (literally, because I move out tomorrow) I can see how much those nine months have really grown me. To grow, you have to go through a lesson of some sort. Those lessons all taught me something in result.

Because of that, here's a list of 10 things I learned throughout my first year of college.

1. Naps are crucial if you want to actually make it through the day. 

They're extremely important, especially when you're running on only a few hours of sleep. I never took so many naps until I came to college.

2. Everything adds up.

I already knew this before, but you really realize how much every little thing adds up when you're in college.

3. Home-cooked meals are always better.

When you eat fast food so often, you really come to appreciate a homecooked meal. You quickly realize that it will always be better than fast food.

4. Cable is overrated.

Now, to keep up with any shows I watched live, I used Hulu and CWtv.com. Plus, Netflix exists. I realized I didn't really need cable.

5. Saying goodbye is hard.

Whether it's saying goodbye to my friends and family at home or saying goodbye to my friends at school for the weekend, goodbyes are hard. I wish we could all be together all the time.

6. Take time for yourself.

Between school, working and having an internship, I found myself to be under a pretty busy schedule. While I really enjoyed everything I was a part of, I learned the importance of saying no and taking time for me to just breathe. This is why naps are so important.

7. Changing a tire is really hard.

So is buying new tires, getting my oil changed and just doing anything with my car in general.

8. Sometimes you just need to talk to your mom.

Bad test? Call Mom. Long day at work? Call Mom. Unsure of a recipe? Call Mom.

No matter what, always call mom. Even for the good things.

SEE ALSO: 23 Reasons You Call Your Mom In College

9. Bringing a blanket to class isn't frowned upon.

I don't care if it's 90 degrees outside; it will be freezing inside the building and you must bring a blanket to survive the three hour class without freezing.

10. College friends are friends for life.

You build this family within your friend group. These are the people who will be a part of my wedding, who will be my children's aunts/uncles, and who I will grow up with. Make sure you find good ones to go through life with.

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5 Ways to Fight Fall Allergies Naturally

Sneezing in October? Here are some easy natural ways to fight allergies the natural way with no pills or medicines!

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Spring is typically considered the season for allergies. However, fall, due to the high amount of vegetation and increase in humidity from rain, brings with it its own set of allergens, such as pollen, ragweed, dust mites, and outdoor mold spores. If you find yourself constantly sneezing, coughing and having a stuffy nose this time of year, try some natural remedies instead of heading to the pharmacy to pick up antihistamines.

Here are 5 of the most useful natural ways to fight allergies:

1. Minimizing exposure

Ever sleep with the window open and wake up with a sore throat? It might sound obvious, but avoiding exposure to triggers is the best way to avoid allergic reactions. Keep your windows closed to stop pollen and mold spores from coming inside.

Wash your clothes, shower and wash your hair if you've spent a lot of time outdoors where you could have picked up pollen. Finally, air purifiers and vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters will remove any allergens such as pollen, mold, and dust that have made it into your house.

*Tip: If you do buy the top-rated HEPA filters, they'll stop most of the allergens but might slow down your A/C flow in the Summer!

2. Anti-inflammatory diet

Allergies are inflammatory reactions to which certain people are more predisposed to than others. Eating a diet rich in foods that are anti-inflammatory can counteract this tendency. Omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish, nuts, and flax, have been shown to reduce the frequency of asthma attacks in people with allergies. Other anti-inflammatory foods include green tea, curcumin, dark chocolate, and most fruit and vegetables.

3. Probiotics

Allergies can be a strong sign that your immune system is out of balance. A good way to fix that is to eat fermented foods rich in probiotics such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha.

Probiotics have been shown to have a number of health benefits including the ability to reduce the impact of seasonal allergies. Rich in friendly bacteria, these foods will help diversify your gut flora, which in turn will help balance your immune system and reduce the risk of allergic reactions.

4. Exercise

It might not sound fun to exercise if you have allergies, but moderate to intense exercise for 30 minutes 3-5 times a week has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory effects, reducing the risk of allergies and asthma attacks. Plus, regular exercise provides a host of other physical and mental health benefits including Vitamin D exposure.

If exercising outdoors increases exposure to allergens such as pollen and mold spores, it might be better to work out at home or in a gym until symptoms are reduced. *There's a surprising amount of pollen in areas you might not expect it, like in the city or even at the beach!

5. Local Honey

Immunotherapy is the process of exposing someone to a small amount of allergen, with the purpose of reducing their sensitivity to it and preventing future allergic reactions.

Eating large amounts of local raw honey, which contains diverse types of pollen, has been shown to help desensitize people with hay fever. It is crucial that the honey you eat was produced in the area where you live, and that it is raw. Pasteurized supermarket honey will not work, and forget that cheap stuff that's been boiled or imported from China!

Fighting Allergies Without Pills

If you like to spend a lot of time outdoors in the fall biking, walking, or apple-picking, allergies to pollen and mold spores can ruin your fun. Minimizing exposure to these allergens when indoors can help. Also, simple life changes such as exercising more, eating a diet that is high in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, and consuming probiotics, can reduce your chances of having allergic reactions.

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