Every January, about one in three Americans resolves to improve themselves in one way or another. Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of people actually make good on these healthy new year resolutions.
A 2012 study by the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology found that while about 75 percent of people stick to their goals for at least a week, but only 46 percent are still on target six months later.
With such busy lives and distractions, it can be hard to stay on track with resolutions, but it’s not impossible. If you’re aiming for a healthier lifestyle this year, here are five proven ways to achieve that goal.
Top Five Ways to Achieve Healthy New Year Resolutions
1. Perform basic fitness exercises.
It’s important to exercise regularly for your overall health, but keep in mind that it isn’t time efficient or very healthy to spend a lot of time doing aerobic exercise. The best way to achieve superior cardiovascular health is to lift weights and perform sprint interval training no more than two to three hours per week. When you want to perform basic fitness exercises, train each body part once or twice a week with weights heavy enough for you to complete one set of six to 12 reps to exhaustion. Incorporate interval sprint training on the days that you do not lift weights. Do three to five rounds of 30-60 second bursts of cardio at your highest intensity. Follow this with two to four-minute rest periods of walking. However, be careful about overtraining. Make sure to give yourself 2 days off each week to recover.
2. Avoid sugar.
Sugar is amongst the most health-sapping substances consumed by the majority of people on a daily basis. Especially in the form of-high fructose corn syrup, sugar is one of the leading causes of health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease. Limit your intake. In fact, even fruit should be limited, as fruit-derived sugar is 100 percent fructose. And don’t be fooled into thinking “good sugars” exist.
3. Avoid fried foods and vegetable oils like soy and canola
The types of fats and oils that you consume are extraordinarily important for your overall health. The oils in fried foods and in soy and canola are extremely inflammatory. These toxic substances will promote diseases, premature aging and long term suffering and misery. Get them out of your life!
4. Get enough sleep.
Sleep is an extremely important part of our daily cycle and should account for about 1/3 of your day. As far as sleep requirements, you should get about seven to eight hours of sleep each night in a room that is as near pitch-black as possible.
5. Reduce stress.
Don’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Stress can lead to insomnia, depression, obesity and heart disease. While stress is an inevitable part of life, there are ways to prevent it. Boost your energy by learning to de-stress yourself. Spend time each day stretching, breathing and relaxing. Learn to forgive yourself for any of your imperfections and allow yourself the time to enjoy the little things in your life that make your day special. Take time to enjoy the smell of flowers, the beauty of a sunset or the company of loved ones. Take time to just be with yourself and do not feel obligated to be productive every moment of every day.
Remember, when it comes to keeping you healthy new year resolutions, plan for bumps in the road. Use a journal to keep track of your health, and keep a support system in place. While it’s easy to lose the enthusiasm months after you've watched the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, it's not impossible to follow through. This year, stay on track. Here’s to your health!