11 Health-Related New Years Resolutions that Have Nothing to do with Losing Weight

SBM: 11-health-related-new-years-resolutions-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-losing-weight

Carly M. Goldstein, PhD, FAACVPR, The Warren Alpert Medical School - Brown University; Benjamin T. Ladd, BA, The Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center - Miriam Hospital

Many people feel a renewed commitment to their health when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day. Businesses love to capitalize on that energy as they ramp up their marketing for the newest weight loss craze or fad diet product. If you’re looking for good new year’s resolutions that sit outside the traditional weight loss box, here are 11 New Year’s health resolutions that will improve your health and well-being but aren’t measured on a scale.

New Year’s Resolutions Ideas for Good Health in 2024

  1. Aim for 100% medication adherence. Whether you’re taking a multivitamin or managing a complex regimen, devise an iron-clad system for refilling medications and taking them on time. Automated refill reminders, mail order refills, a physical pillbox, getting your partner’s support, a reminding app, and a recurring calendar event can help you reach and maintain 100% adherence. Example Goal: Take medication 100% of the time for 1 month.
  2. Foster your mental health. There has never been a better time to seek out psychotherapy, especially given improved health insurance coverage and telehealth availability. As more states join an alliance called PSYPACT, more people will be able to access out-of-state providers; this really helps when local waitlists are long or you need a specialist. Don’t skimp on other opportunities to protect your mental health through exercise, getting better sleep, and taking time away from work to care for yourself and recharge. Example Goal: Attend at least 6 therapy sessions to tackle anxiety by March 1.
  3. Do a relationship clean-up. Are all your relationships serving you? Relationship stress substantially harms quality of life. You may need to set firmer boundaries (and stick to them!); the DEARMAN skill from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy can help you navigate difficult conversations. Unfortunately, you may not be able to rescue some relationships right now. Think long and hard before severing ties, but don’t hesitate to make the healthiest choice for yourself. Example Goal: Have a difficult conversation that you’ve been putting off using the DEARMAN skill within the next month.
  4. Exercise for joy. You’re more likely to continue exercising if you enjoy it, so pick the workout that brings a smile, not a grimace, to your face. If a Zumba class with blasting music and friends is your jam, make it a priority over miles on the treadmill at home. Find the fun and build it into your schedule for success that will last beyond February. Example Goal: Try 3 new workouts this month and do your favorite weekly in February.
  5. Bring new inspiration to your diet. Say goodbye to the same meals week after week. Find recipes for your favorite takeout items with a healthy twist and get cooking. Do a cookbook exchange with a friend, grab one from your library, or find your next favorite dish online. It’s all about finding what brings you joy. Your palate (and wallet) will thank you when you perfect your new signature dish. Example Goal: Try 2 new recipes monthly all year long.
  6. Take out the technological trash. Silence the notifications. Unsubscribe from that annoying mailing list. Choose your health apps wisely. Curate your social media feeds so that you’re not constantly viewing content that makes you feel badly about your body or what you have (or don’t). Technological clutter can impact your quality of life, so consider a massive cleanout. Example Goal: Unfollow all accounts in January that invoke negative thoughts about your body image. In February, seek out accounts that bring you joy and feature people who look like you or share your priorities.
  7. Rehab your sleep. If you’re falling asleep on the couch or in a bright room, waking up multiple times nightly, or finding yourself napping more days than not, it might be time to start from scratch on your sleep hygiene. Make environmental changes (e.g., blackout curtains) for a better night’s rest. Managing your stress will help, too! Example Goal: Wake up at the same time every day (even weekends) for a week.
  8. Commit to your best sexual health. Sexual health is a broad term, but it can include finding birth control that works for you, talking to your doctor to determine if you are a candidate for PrEP, having a tough conversation with your partner about STI prevention or how chronic illness affects your sex life, and recovering from trauma. This domain is worthy of your attention this year! Example Goal: Make a doctor’s appointment to discuss your current needs or utilize a walk-in community clinic, even if your concern feels difficult to talk about.
  9. Kick those negative automatic or addictive behaviors. Ever find yourself on autopilot? It can be especially problematic when you’re unconsciously vaping, gambling, or procrastinating bedtime on your phone. Some of these behaviors can hurt your long-term health, and although they’re tough to change, they can make a big difference. Example Goal: Set and prepare for a vaping quit date for February 1.
  10. Take care of your environment. Caring for our planet must extend far beyond recycling and turning off the water as you brush your teeth. Think before you buy, shop local and secondhand, avoid fast fashion, strap on your sneakers instead of grabbing your car keys, and reduce your food waste. Example Goal: Walk to work 10 times this month.
  11. Invest in your community. Focus your efforts on contributing to your local and relational community. It feels good to target your efforts towards the relationships and groups that enrich your life, and these relationships are critical for your long-term health. Also, if you feel judged every time you see your doctor, it’s time to find a new one you trust to be in your corner. Example Goal: Find a new primary care doctor who helps you pursue your goals. Volunteer for a cause close to both your heart and home this month.


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