The Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions – And How To Achieve Them
Every year, millions of us make New Year’s resolutions, hoping to spark positive change in our lives.
It’s a pattern familiar to us all. We start the year full of motivation and buoyed up with inspiration gleaned from the ‘New Year, New You’ mantra we’ve been bombarded with. But come 1st February, our intentions have withered into oblivion, leaving us dispirited and despondent.
Statistics show that a whopping 90% of us fail our new year’s resolutions.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. By setting clear, realistic objectives, some careful planning and following some expert tips, we really can succeed.
So, what are the most popular new year’s resolutions? And how can we achieve our goals for the year ahead?
What Are the Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions?
Save More & Spend Less
This consistently tops the list at Number 1.
We’d all like more money in our bank account come the end of the year, but without clear steps and determination you’re unlikely to end up in a stronger financial position.
There are literally hundreds of ways you can save money, but here are a few tips to follow:
- Create a written budget and track your expenses. The easiest way to cut costs is to know where you’re spending.
- Start salary packaging. ATO-approved, salary packaging – also known as salary sacrifice – enables you to reduce your tax and increase your take-home pay. For example, a novated lease can save you thousands on the purchase price and running costs of your car each year. And because the monthly running costs are taken out of your pre-tax salary, your taxable income will be reduced.
- Review your utility bills and compare providers. Every year Australians pay about $1.2 billion more than they should for their energy. Contact various providers to find out how much you can save, but make sure you’re comparing apples with apples and beware of the pitfalls of comparison sites.
And following these top hacks can help to reduce your utility bills:
- Turn off appliances at the plug
- Swap traditional lightbulbs for LEDs
- Only use the dishwasher or washing machine with a full load
- Avoid using the tumble-dryer
- Opt for showers over baths
- Collect rainwater or use recycled water on your plants
- Improve the insulation in your home – for example, add insulation foam to your roof, install solar window film and keep the doors and windows closed.
- Check that your internet and phone plans are cost-effective. Check what bandwidth you need, as you could be paying too much, and negotiate with your provider to secure a better deal. You can often save further by bundling your internet, phone and cable service.
- Avoid impulse buys. Create a meal plan for the week ahead and stick to your shopping list. Take a packed lunch into work and don’t go clothes shopping unless there is something you really need.
- Cut down on the lattes. Buying just one coffee per day adds up to an astounding average of $1,460 per year! Make your coffee at home or work instead.
- Review your investment portfolio. Review your investments to determine which are – and which are not – performing. Consider pulling your funds from any underperforming investments and look for other opportunities which could potentially offer more reliable returns, such as a property investment fund.
- Do your homework. Whether you’re planning a holiday, sourcing a new car, or buying a new kettle, there are deals to be had. Take the time to do the research and you’re sure to save.
Eat More Healthily
Improving our physical and mental health is a hugely popular new year’s resolution – year after year. Many of us start the near year by taking steps to make ourselves feel better about our physical appearance, and healthy eating is a big part of this.
Most of us are guilty of over-indulging from time-to-time – some of us more frequently – and most people’s diets could be improved in one way or another.
Starving ourselves or being too strict with what we can and can’t eat sets us up for failure. If we’re constantly hungry, we’re likely to dump the diet into the ‘too hard’ bin. If we’re too restrictive, we’ll be more tempted to binge.
Rather than being radical, break your overall objective down into smaller, more achievable goals.
For example, rather than trying to cut out sugar completely, opt for healthier alternatives which will satisfy your sweet cravings. Swap supermarket biscuits for homemade cookies with a lower sugar content, switch refined sugar for honey, stevia or rice syrup, and opt for fresh walnuts rather than roasted peanuts.
Sufficient vitamins and minerals are vital to your health. Rather than fixating on the need to eat platefuls of fruit and veg at every meal, break it down. Think about the nutritional content of various produce and consider how you can pack as much goodness into your diet as possible. Mix it up! Variety in your diet will not only benefit your health, but it will also make mealtimes a lot more enjoyable!
Ramp Up the Exercise
Again, if you push yourself too hard, you’ll be more likely to give up.
Create changes for the long-term, rather than short bursts of intense activity which isn’t sustainable. And choose activities which you enjoy – a week in, it’ll be nigh-on impossible to summon the strength for a workout session you hate.
Is there a sport you particularly enjoyed when you were younger? Why not look at taking it up again? Or if you prefer solitary exercise, take up regular walking or cycling. Being out and about also provides a distraction, so you’ll be less focused on counting down to when you can stop!
Exercise classes can be hugely motivating and surrounded by other people, you’ll be less likely to knock off early! You’ll also be following a professional programme designed to get the most out of your session. And there is the added bonus of making new friends!
And exercising with a friend can be more fun and help to keep you on track as you’ll have made a commitment to them. Equally, fitness technology can spur you into action and help drive you towards your goals. Exercise apps will tell you how many kilometers you’ve travelled and how many calories you’ve burned, while Fitbits will alert you if you’ve been sedentary for too long.
Look at your weekly schedule and determine where you’ll be able to fit in some exercise. For super-packed schedules, this might mean getting up half an hour earlier, or meeting friends for a walk rather than a coffee, but it’ll be worth it. Once you’ve identified slots for exercise, re-write your schedule – and stick to it!
Tackle Home Improvements
And this extends to the outdoor area. An aesthetically unappealing yard can be transformed by introducing plants, shrubs and trees, and installing a new fence. And building a new deck or purchasing an outdoor umbrella for sun protection will make your outdoor space a lot more usable. Improving home security is also a big one (whether it’s an alarm system fit-out, or adding security doors), as is increasing your protection against pests.
Having multiple projects on the agenda can be a little daunting, so write them down in order of priority and tackle them one at a time.
Schedule each task in advance, coordinating your calendar with those of your partner and any tradies involved. That way, you’ll avoid putting things off.
And if you don’t have the cash readily available, consider the various financing options. From home loans, to personal loans, make sure you do your due diligence and find a cost-effective solution which works best for you.
Learn a New Skill or Hobby
This is one of the most popular and least achieved New Year’s resolutions.
It’s incredibly vague. All too often, people add this to their list, without giving much thought to what skill or hobby they want to take up.
Think about this resolution in advance and focus on what you really want and will enjoy, not what’s trendy. Yoga may be all the rage, but if you don’t enjoy it, what’s the point in trying to devote time to it?
Be specific about what you want and work out how you can achieve it. Most of us have time pressures, so prioritise what’s most important to you. For example, enrolling in an online parenting course to help you manage your child more effectively may mean your piano lessons have to fall by the wayside for now. It’s best to commit to one goal that is achievable than to take on too much and not succeed at any of them. And whatever it is you decide to do, remember to schedule time in your calendar on a regular basis. Discipline is a must!
Most of us would love to travel more – whether it be for business, pleasure, or medical tourism. But travel requires time and money, so you’ll need to put in some effort.
You’ll need to be disciplined in saving money for your trip – and this usually starts several months beforehand. You’ll also need to book time off from work in advance.
Spend time researching places you want to visit as this will not only ensure you get the most out of your holiday, but will also motivate you to crack on and book it! Look up holiday accommodation options and book in advance as you may secure a better deal.
Stop Procrastinating & Get Organised
According to psychological studies, the benefits of better organising your life are plentiful. They include:
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced tension within relationships
- Increased motivation and energy
- Improved concentration
- Improved sleep
- Improved happiness
So, it’s no wonder this one frequently graces the list of top 10 New Year’s resolutions!
Try not to over-think things; not everything has to be perfectly planned in advance. Just get started! There is no time like the present and small steps can go a long way.
When it comes to organising your life, keeping your environment tidy and following a To-Do list are crucial. Store items away in cupboards, drawers or the attic and arrange them neatly. If you have limited storage space, consider hiring a self-storage unit or shipping container.
Break up bigger goals into smaller bite-sized chunks – this will help to keep you motivated along the way.
Be More Positive
Although popular, this one is a little more tricky as it is often emotionally-driven and requires a lot of discipline and brain-training.
But there are dozens of positive changes we can introduce into our daily lives, to help build our confidence and achieve a more positive outlook on life. As the old adage goes, ‘eat an elephant in small chunks.’
Key pointers include:
- Be more organized
- Improve your sleep
- Deal with problems, rather than putting your head in the sand
- Surround yourself with positive influences
- Start meditating
The good news is, there are a plethora of books, podcasts and free YouTube videos available for guidance. Or for more structured support, you can seek help from a psychologist.
Cut Down on Alcohol
Cutting down on alcohol is becoming an increasingly popular new year’s resolution. It’s packed with calories and too much alcohol carries various health risks.
Today, alcohol features in the daily lives of many of us. Whether we’ve formed a habit of having a glass or two with dinner every night, or we’re prone to drinking too much when socialising, most of us could cut down on our alcohol consumption, without the change being too drastic.
While some people opt for ‘Dry January,’ vowing to abstain from alcohol for the entire month, for most of us, simply drinking a little less, a little less frequently will suffice.
Aim to have at least 3 alcohol-free days per week, or limit your weekly intake to a maximum of 10 units.
Take Up Yoga
Statistics suggest that the number of ‘yogis’ has increased by over 50% in the past 4 years. So, it’s no surprise that yoga has made it into our ‘top ten’ list.
Regular yoga sessions can yield significant benefits, including:
- Increased strength, balance and flexibility
- Improved posture
- Reduced stress
- Increased energy
- Helps to maintain joint health
- Helps to ease arthritic symptoms
- Helps to lower blood pressure
How to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions
In summary, here are 6 simple tips on how to achieve your goals this year:
- Set clearly defined goals
- Break your goal(s) into a series of steps which are measurable and time-based
- Make your plans concrete by writing them down
- Regularly remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goals
- Tell your friends and family about your objectives
- Don’t use set-backs as an excuse to give up altogether
So, there you have it, this year’s most popular resolutions and how to achieve them.
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