Do you ever get tired of waiting until January 1st to set some huge, lofty resolution or goal that you’re more than likely to ditch in just a few weeks?US News found that 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February. That’s about 40 days into the new year, give or take! Then, most people put all self-improvement on hold, citing that “There’s always next year.” The “New Year, New You” mantra slowly subsides to a faint whisper before falling into complete silence for yet another year. That leaves about 325 days where many people float along, doing the same old thing. That used to be me, but I got tired of it. Now I like to set more frequent and smaller goals; I often set one new goal every month. This practice increases my potential for success and preventsthe misery that always follows another failed New Year’s Resolution. Are you interested in giving it a try? Here are ten easy resolutions that you can set today!
- Wake Up a Little Earlier
- Eat a Healthy Breakfast
- Exercise 2-3 Times per Week
- Read for 20 Minutes Each Day
- Start a Daily Vitamin and Mineral Regimen
- Drink 8 Glasses of Water Every Day
- Start a Budget and Stick to it
- Tune Into an Educational Podcast or YouTube Channel
- Go to Bed a Little Earlier
- Put it All Together and Build a Routine
1. Wake Up a Little EarlierDo you have “that friend” that is up at the crack of dawn and swears it’s Amazing? When you get to work, you only half listen as he or she drones on about their morning accomplishments as your begrudgingly fill your coffee cup. You tell yourself that you’re just not a morning person, or you’d get up early too, right? Not necessarily. My battle with morning has been easy at times, but extremely difficult at other times, but most people would still call me a “morning person.” Benjamin Franklin said: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” but if it’s so important, why is it so hard to get up earlier in the morning? I find that it’s primarily a matter of habit, ritual, and routine. I discovered that, when I would get up at the same time each morning and step through the same routine, I would have greater success in getting up early consistently. When I would take a week off, I’d spiral out of control and the one week turns into two, three, or even four.
So, How Did I Do It?I started by getting up 20 minutes earlier Monday through Friday for about a month. Then, I went 20 minutes earlier. I repeated this process until I was getting up at 5 a.m. every day except on the weekends. I started at 7:30 and had to be at work by 8:30! Now, I enjoy morning trips to the gym, quiet reading time, and time to write, all before work! Read more about how to craft a successful morning routine here.
Tips for Success
- Set two alarms, one on your phone, and one on an actual alarm clock. Remember those?
- Treat your morning routine as an obligation, like your job, and tell yourself: “This isn’t optional. I have to get up.” After all, you make it to work every day, don’t you?
- Start small and don’t get discouraged. Habits take time to build.
- Get to bed earlier. See resolution #9 below.
- Looking for more tips? Check out “11 Ways Get Out of Bed Faster and Have More Energy in the Morning” on HuffPost.
2. Eat a Healthy BreakfastI’ve always been a person “who has to eat breakfast as soon as his feet hit the floor,” as my mom puts it. Eating early jump starts my metabolism and gives me the fuel I need to start an early morning. I’ve always been and, continue to be, an active guy, so breakfast is essential for me, but this isn’t the case for many people. I see a lot of people who skip breakfast in exchange for a sugary soda or coffee drink. Many people that I know who do eat breakfast eat something of poor nutritional quality. According to an article on Health 24:
“By not eating after the 12-14 hour fast following the evening meal, blood sugar levels remain low in the morning causing tiredness, lethargy, lack of concentration, irritability, poor performance in the workplace and an increased tendency to make mistakes or have accidents.”So, why do so many people skip breakfast? For the most part, it’s not having enough time in the morning or thinking that healthy meals take too long to make, but many healthy breakfasts are quick and easy. Some of my favorites include high-protein fruit smoothies, Clif bars, yogurt, cereal, granola, eggs with toast, to name a few. Do a quick Google search on your food preferences, and I’d bet that you’ll find dozens of new ideas that take no time at all. Once you do, take a little time in the evenings to prep a few breakfasts to save time in the morning.
Tips for Success
- Find what works for you. Is it a large variety of food to keep you interested, or do you stick with your trusted staples?
- Prep the evening before or keep items that stay fresh longer, like granola and Clif bars, handy.
- Eat food that excites you.
- Splurge a little on the weekends. For me, it’s homemade sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits.
3. Exercise 2-3 Times per WeekHaving trouble finding the time? Why not couple this with Goal #1 and use your new-found morning time? Working out in the morning has a large number of advantages:
- It wakes you up and gets you ready for the day
- It will give you a sharper focus when you get to work or school
- It gets your metabolism going to help burn calories throughout the day
- You’re more likely to not miss your workouts, as opposed to afternoon or evening workouts where unforeseen impediments may prevent you from going
- It will put you in a better mood
- The list goes on!
Tips for Success
- Prep your workout gear the night before so that you can roll out of bed and hit it, or take it to work or school with you for those later workouts.
- I recommend working out at a gym near your house. Staying at home makes it too easy to sleep in or jump on the couch after a long day.
- Find an accountability partner that will actually keep you accountable, or use an app like GymPact where you get paid to go to the gym by those who don’t.
- Keep a workout log to track your progress. I use BodySpace.
4. Read for 20 Minutes Each DayRecently I listened to an older episode of the Tim Ferris Show where Tony Robbins talked about how reading changed his proximity to the world. Growing up Tony had an abusive mother and four different dads, so he had to look beyond his environment for answers and guidance. Because he didn’t have any mentors, he turned to books. He says:
“I’m very passionate about how the power of self learning can transform anybody, espicially in the world we have today where you have access to everything, literally at your fingertips on your phone, anywhere you go.”He then went on to read around 700 books in 7 years (approximately one book every 3 or 4 days) to learn as much as he could. I’m not suggesting that you try to do that, but reading can open you up to new perspectives, new knowledge, and better insights into the things around you, so I recommend reading something new for 20 minutes every day. Since high school, I’ve primarily read fiction novels, but recently I’ve opened myself up to new things like Losing My Virginity by Sir Richard Branson. I also subscribe to Success Magazine which is loaded full of great leadership and success articles. In past years, I would have never found a biography or magazines about success interesting, or so I thought! I dipped my toe into a new genre of reading and fell in love with the inspiration that I get from the material and you can too!
Tips for Success
- Start by reading the material you enjoy most, like fiction novels or magazines, and then try something new every once in a while.
- Find a time that works each day, such as first thing in the morning, on the subway, or right before bed.
- Try to read a variety of topics. You never know what you might learn or how it will relate to your life.
5. Start a Daily Vitamin and Mineral RegimenFor the longest time, I didn’t believe in the use of supplements because of all the myths I have heard over the years, but a colleague of mine shared an article on LiveStrong.com about the ten best supplements to take that sparked my interest. At the time, I was training hard for the 1,250lb club at my local gym, and he thought the article would give me a boost, so I decided to give a few of them a try. I was already taking Whey Protein and Beta-Alanine in my daily protein shake and pre-workout drink, so adding a few more was easy for me. I added Greens Supplement to my shakes and started taking Turmeric, Vitamin D, Fish Oil, and a Pro Biotic in pill or gel cap form with my morning shake. I also take Glucosamine for better joint health in my knees, and I take a One a Day Men’s Complete Multivitamin. If you doubt the effectiveness of vitamins like I used to, I recommend just giving it a try and see how you feel. The most significant change I noticed (after 30-45 days) was more consistent energy levels throughout the day and much improved digestive health. Anytime I fall off my regimen I notice pretty quickly just from the signals I get from my body. My knees tend to start aching again, my afternoon energy levels drop off, and my digestion becomes very irregular, so I know that some, if not all, of my supplements, are doing something positive for me. Now, it can be expensive to run out and buy ten bottles of supplements, so you can start small and work your way up. I recommend starting with the multivitamin and then add more as you go. For me, I started with the One a Day and Glucosamine for my knees. Then, I started the ProBiotic and Fish Oil.
DisclaimerIt is important to note that supplements will not make up for a poor diet or cure a disease that you might have, after all, they are meant to supplement, or add to your diet, not replace it. Supplements can lead to a stronger immune system and better overall health, but foods rich in vitamins and minerals remain the best way to get what your body needs.
Tips for Success
- Place your vitamins in a place where you won’t forget to take them. This could be in your medicine cabinet, near your coffee maker, or on your nightstand.
- Use a pill planner to queue up your doses for each day of the week.
- Don’t forget to take them on the weekends and be sure to bring them along for any traveling you might be doing.
6. Drink 8 Glasses of Water Every DayI won’t spend much time trying to convince you of the importance of water, but it’ a pretty easy and healthy habit to adopt. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158:
The brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.Overall, the human body is about 60% water, and the most common recommendation is that you drink 8, 8-ounce glasses of water each day. This is called the 8×8 rule, and it’s easy to do, but keep in mind that soda, beer, wine, and so on are not substitutes for water. I for one count green tea and black coffee in my 8×8 because they are mostly water and drink them in larger quantities each day, but you can read more about what counts as water intake on WebMD.
Tips for Success
- Buy an easy-to-carry, reusable water bottle with ounce markings, like this one.
- Log your water intake via an app that has reminders.
- Grab some Mio flavor drops to add some variety to your water.
7. Start a Budget and Stick to itWhy wait until January to make improvements to your finances? I know, finances and budgeting seem dull, but they don’t have to be. I highly recommend reading Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover to get started. It changed my life and the way I look at money. My wife and I started our budget at early ages, but we didn’t see the harm in paying the bare minimum on several credit cards, student loans, and car payments. Yet, we always wondered where our money was going. It wasn’t until I read this book that I started taking my finances more seriously. Now, my only debts are my house and my wife’s Jeep Wrangler, and we’re working to get rid of those.
So, How Did I Do It?I started with the first step in Dave’s plan: ‘Save $1000 Fast’. It didn’t take too long once my wife and I set our minds to it. Then, we started on Step #2: ‘The Debt Snowball‘ using the free website undebt.it which allows you to enter all of your debts and choose one of six different payoff plans. Then, we put all of our efforts into paying off the first loan which seemed to take forever. Once we paid off the first couple, we picked up speed. We still have two debts, but we went ahead and moved on to steps three and four which deal with emergency and retirement funds, but you can read all about that during your daily 20 minutes of reading time.
Tips for Success
- Download the Daily New Year’s budget template and get started in under an hour.
- Use free apps like Mint or Clarity Money to make budgeting easier. See a longer list on DailyWorth.
- Set up an account on Undebt.it and plan your snowball.
8. Tune Into an Educational Podcast or YouTube ChannelThis is one of my most favorite new habits because it’s educational, fun, and EFFORTLESS. I’ve always listened to music in the gym, but recently I decided to trade in my music for podcasts while I’m lifting at least a few days each week. I often resume them in the car to and from the gym and work via the Bluetooth transmitter I have in my car. This, like reading, is a great way to expose yourself to new topics, perspectives, people, and ideas. Full Focus Planner. If you’re enjoying this article, be sure to check out the Daily New Year’s Podcast too. Another thing I love to do is listen to audiobooks while I’m commuting, mowing the yard, and jogging on the treadmill. If you want to give it a try, you can sign up for 2 free credits using this link.
Tips for Success
- Make sure it’s fun but also educational.
- Listen in the gym or during your commute. I traded music for podcasts at the gym to avoid cutting into time elsewhere.
- Find a variety of shows to ensure you don’t get bored with the content.
- Use an app like Stitcher, iTunes, or Spotify to access and build a playlist of a large variety of content from one location.
- Sign up for 2 Free Books on Audible!
9. Go to Bed a Little EarlierWhether your focus is to receive a promotion, get good grades in school, sharpen your focus, or get stronger in the gym, sleep is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Sleep has been proven to improve memory, mood, focus, and health, so why do we as a society get so little sleep? Everyday Health cites that it’s primarily due to the rise in technology which allows us to cram more work and play into our days. Basically, we stay up too late working from home on our variety of devices, or we’re mindlessly playing addicting games and scrolling through bottomless social media feeds.
Related: Get Better Sleep in Six Simple StepsI believe that most people feel the need to stay up longer because of how “busy” we all are as a society, but in reality, I think we spend a great deal of time doing things that don’t contribute to our goals and ambitions. We’re essentially wasting precious time. If you want to accomplish more every day, start with a good night’s sleep and cut out major time wasters. For many, this could mean installing apps like Rescue Time which monitor and limit the amount of time you spend on your device. You could also use strategies such as time blocking.
Tips for Success
- Remind yourself that you have to wake up early (if you’re doing goal #1), so you need the extra zzzzs.
- If you’re not sleepy, do something that makes you drowsy, like have a cup of sleepytime tea.
- Avoid screens for the last hour of the evening. This is an excellent way to incorporate a book or magazine.
- Set a time and stick with it. For me, 9:30 is the perfect bedtime.
10. Put it All Together and Build a RoutineDoes this sound like too much? Look at it this way: if you plan your goals out in a smart, easy-to-do way, starting several new things at once isn’t tricky. All you need is a plan and a strategy. Check out this example schedule:
- Get to bed 45-60 minutes earlier than you usually would and read for 20-30 minutes.
- Wake up 30-60 minutes earlier on each weekday and hit the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and check in on your budget on Tuesday and Thursday.
- While you’re at the gym, check out your new favorite podcast and get a head start on your daily water intake.
- Each weekday after your new morning activity, eat a healthy breakfast or enjoy a fruit smoothy and take your vitamins before heading to work or school. If your commute is long enough, resume your podcast.
- Throughout your day, continue drinking and tracking your water intake.
- Finally, cycle and repeat. Easy, right?