New Year’s Resolutions to Have and to Hold

New Year’s Resolutions to Have and to Hold
Photo: Getty Images. Design: Allison Kahler.

Setting New Year’s resolutions is a tried-and-true tradition—and if we’re being honest, breaking them is, too. Many of us will set goals to work out more, eat healthier foods and travel to foreign places, but only a handful of us will follow through on those aims. So what, exactly, is a person to do? How can we set 2019 new year’s resolutions we’ll actually keep up with all year long?

Part of the reason so many of us are apt to fail at our new year’s resolutions is because we set the bar too high—I know that’s true of me. In the past, I’ve asked too much of myself; each year, I’ve told myself I’m going to start reading consistently—and I never manage to. The task seems daunting, time-consuming and generally unattainable with everything else I have going on.

The trick? Lower the bar.

What if I challenged myself to read 10 pages a day, instead of just setting the goal to “read more consistently”? Anyone can find the time to read 10 pages. Even if they’re busy with other resolutions, like moving across the country or crafting a job that doesn’t require them to sit in an office 40 hours a week (both of which were goals I set—and accomplished—in 2017 and 2018).

In the spirit of attainable goal-setting, I’ve laid out a few simple resolutions any of us should be able to accomplish in the new year. I’m sure we’d all love to leave unconsummated resolutions in 2018, where they belong—so let’s do it, shall we?

1. Do 25 jumping jacks, 10 sit-ups and 5 push-ups every morning

It’s hard to find time to hit the gym every day—especially because once you account for the time it took to change clothes, to get to the gym and to actually work out, you’ve probably consumed an entire hour. It’s little wonder so many of us struggle to actually, you know, make it to the gym in the first place.

Three quick circuits of jumping jacks, sit-ups and push-ups are way easier to come by—both because they take way less time and because you can do them from the comfort of your own home. Try doing them right after you wake up to get your energy up and your blood flowing—you’ll thank yourself later.

2. Make your bed

I’m not your mom, but even understand the benefits of making the bed every morning. And science does, too. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, recognizes making the bed as a “keystone habit”—a simple change that can set off a whole chain of better decision-making. Plus, it just makes your room look prettier.

I make my bed right away every morning, and honestly, it helps me feel like I’ve accomplished something before even leaving my house.

3. Drink more water

If you’re already on top of the hydration thing, you can skip this one. But for those of you who catch yourselves feeling super thirsty at the end of each work day, this one’s essential.

Taking the time to drink at least three glasses of water each day has gone a long way for me—my body thanks me inside and out. (I’m actually up to 2 liters a day now, but starting small and attainable is the theme of this article, so three glasses will surely do. Squeeze in some lemon juice if you need to make things more fun.)

4. Spend 3-5 minutes stretching before bed

Let’s be real, stretching is always a good idea—and it’s something very few of us do enough of. Taking a few minutes to stretch before bed each night makes me feel calmer, and it gets my brain and body in the mindset for sleep. Plus, it never hurts to improve flexibility.

5. Read 10 pages of literally anything before going to sleep

I mentioned this before, but seriously, we could all stand to read a little more. Reading keeps your mind sharp, opens your eyes to new ideas and honestly, just makes you feel a little more accomplished. And carving out the time to read 10 pages a day is attainable for anyone.

I plan to do my reading before I go to sleep each night, because it always manages to clear my mind—and helps me transition from day to night. You can do your reading any time.

A couple other things:

Duhigg, the same habit expert I mentioned before, says it takes approximately 66 days—just over two months—to build a habit. So don’t get discouraged if it takes until March for your newly formed fitness regimen, or food regimen, or reading regimen to feel automatic. Keep at it until you’ve hit that 66-day mark—and then, prepare to congratulate yourself.

And of course, I’d be remiss not to mention the myriad ways you can help transgender people in 2019:

  • Donate to a nearby LGBTQ center. Your donation can take the form of money, clothing, makeup or other similarly useful products—anything helps.
  • Research the transgender community. Watch films or documentaries, read articles, look up terms you’re not clear on, and find the answers to questions you have (about transitioning, hormone therapy, legislation, the pre-/post-surgery process, etc.).
  • If someone you know is going through a transition, support them, show them you love them and learn with them on their journey through transitioning—they need you.