In a 2019 study conducted by physical exercise tracker Strava, people are most likely to give up their New Year’s resolutions on Jan. 19—otherwise known as “Quitters Day.”
By the second week of February, a whopping 80 percent would have thrown in the towel trying to achieve the resolutions they so earnestly committed themselves to just weeks before.
But why do we make New Year’s resolutions—only to break them?
“Because it’s the easier thing to do,” says Jon Edward B. Jurilla, MD, Section Chief of Psychiatry of the top hospital in the Philippines, Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed).
“Change is hard. It takes you out of your comfort zone and requires effort to produce the desired results. If you made a resolution, but are accountable to no one but yourself, then there are no apologies or explanations needed when you fail or don’t even try,” Dr. Jurilla adds.
How to make 2024 the year you become resolute about your resolutions?
“Instead of making grand plans, commit to simple and doable tweaks to your routines. They help develop healthy habits that not only benefit you but those around you,” Dr. Jurilla points out.
Unlike ambitious resolutions that can be discouraging to restart when you slack up, resuming these tweaks to your daily routine is easier. And their effects will impact you for a very long time.
MakatiMed cites six simple resolutions to make and keep beyond the new year:
Sleep well. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep for most of the week. “It’s this time when your body and brain rest, recover, and repair themselves to function optimally the following day,” shares Dr. Jurilla.
Eat more veggies. Simply eating 4 to 5 servings of fruits and veggies daily is enough to reap the health benefits of nature’s superfoods. It’s certainly a delicious way to lose weight, reduce blood pressure, and lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Get an annual health screening. There’s truth to the old saying: Prevention is better than cure. “Certain diseases often go unnoticed because they do not present symptoms,” underlines Dr. Jurilla.
Exercise your brain. We’re all guilty of mindless scrolling on social media but if you want to stimulate your brain, MakatiMed suggests doing otherwise. “Play word games, solve a puzzle, compute without using a calculator, read a book, or recite a poem from memory,” suggests Dr. Jurilla. “The benefits of engaging in regular physical activity extend to the brain too. It enhances memory, prevents depression, and cuts your risk of dementia.”
Practice mindfulness. Whenever you worry yourself sick about what the future holds or seethe all day after recalling a painful past, it’s time to draw your thoughts to the present. “That’s mindfulness for you,” says Dr. Jurilla.
Chill. For some, relaxing is a tall order, especially when there’s work to finish, bills to pay, and people to look after. “But relaxing—or chilling, as some people call it—prepares you to face the challenges of daily living,” asserts Dr. Jurilla.