With Christmas and New Year’s on the way, it’s time to tackle the annual commitment to making the New Year a better year than the last old year — New Year’s resolutions.
A study by Inc.com revealed the top 10 most likely New Year’s resolutions to be; diet or eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight, save more and spend less, learn a new skill or hobby, quit smoking, read more, find another job, drink less alcohol, spend more time with family and friends.
Inc. also reported that about 60% of the people surveyed said they make New Year’s resolutions, but only about 8% reported being successful at reaching their goals.
To help make 2020 the year that resolutions are made and kept, here’s some advice on Inc.’s most popular resolutions.
Resolutions one through three — diet or eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight — are intertwined. Ideally, eating healthy and exercising more will lead to weight loss.
Health promotion and behavior change experts recommend tracking your activity in these areas as a way of achieving results, providing positive reinforcement, strengthening discipline, and creating accountability.
In today’s world, there are apps for everything, including free apps to track what you eat, your weight loss, and even how much you exercise.
MyFitnessPal, FatSecret, YAZIO, Lose It!, MyPlateCalorieTracker, Fitbit, Fooducate, My Diet Coach, and Charity Miles are just a few examples of apps that can help with the first three resolutions — and they’re free.
Download one from you app store before New Year’s Eve and then make another resolution — to use the app.
Financial managers will often advise tracking expenses and preparing a budget as the first step to spending less. And yes, there are free apps to help with that.
Forbes.com lists 10 tips to save more and spend less. Among Forbes suggestions are; reduce your food budget by shopping sales and using inexpensive substitutes for expensive ingredients, bundling insurance, evaluate your TV and internet needs, using a family phone plan, and buying refurbished electronics.
One of Tooele’s top educators, Tooele County School District Superintendent Scott Rogers, offers suggestions for people who want to learn a new skill or hobby in the New Year.
“Consider enrolling in higher ed or tech classes to get help learning a new skill,” Rogers said. “We have some great programs in Tooele and you are never too old.”
If you aren’t into formal learning, there’s a whole world wide web full of YoutTube videos.
“Don’t be afraid to try something new or take a risk,” Rogers said. “Dream big. They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit… take one day at a time and be consistent.”
Is 2020 the year to quit smoking? If so, the Tooele County Health Department is ready to help.
The County Health Department can provide a free “Stop Smoking Kit,” with a pocket pal full of helpful hints, a breath mint, a candy sucker, a “tobacco tracker,” a 1-800 hotline number, and other things to help with quitting.
If your whole company wants to go smoke free, the health department will show up at your business with an educational program and stop smoking kits for everybody, according to Amy Bate, Tooele County Health Department health promotion coordinator.
Bate suggests that smokers that want to stop smoking start by writing down a quit date and their reasons for quitting.
“Review the list of reasons when urges come and quitting gets hard,” Bate said.
Putting smoking in the past by getting rid of ashtrays, matches, and other things that remind you of smoking, advises Bate. She also suggests dry cleaning or washing your clothes and airing out your home and car.
Help from a doctor with a prescription for a nicotine patch or gum may also be helpful, according to Bate.
If 2020 is your year for more reading time, Tooele City librarian Jami Carter has a new approach to reading that may help you out.
“You have to read in your own way,” Carter said. “And that may include audio. Listening is reading.”
Carter said recently she found herself reading about books as part of her job as a librarian, but not reading books themselves.
“I started listening to books,” she said. “They replaced television and music while working in my yard.”
In 2019, Carter said she went from reading 24 books the year before to 87 books.
Carter also suggests that people should enjoy reading.
“You don’t have to finish every book you read,” Carter said. “If it’s not your book, that’s OK, put it down, maybe it’s somebody else’s book. Don’t torture yourself through it.”
Low unemployment rates may help job seekers in 2020.
Economists say that during periods of low unemployment employers often will raise pay to keep their current workers and and attract qualified workers in a labor market with few applicants vying for open jobs.
“I’ve got lots of jobs,” said Cathy Stromberg, branch manager of Ascend Staffing’s Tooele office. “And we get more all the time.”
Stromberg said the biggest thing to changing jobs is to simply “just do it.”
“The sooner you do it — make the change — the sooner you feel the difference,” she said. “That might be better pay, a shorter commute, more time with family, or whatever the reason is to make a change.”
After the start of the year Stromberg said her office will extend their hours into the evening so they can help more people find new jobs.
For whatever the reason, if 2020 is the year you want to cut down on your drinking of alcohol, Harvard Health at their website health.harvard.edu offers “11 ways to curb your drinking.”
To get you started on your 2020 resolution, Harvard Haelth’s first three steps are: put it in writing, set a drinking goal, keep a diary of your drinking.
Similar to stopping smoking, Harvard Health suggests that you make a list of your reasons for cutting down on drinking and keep the list somewhere handy and review it often.
Setting a goal and then tracking how much you drink allows you to compare your drinking with your goal, increasing your personal accountability as well as making drinking a more conscious decision.
The final top ten resolution, spend more time with family, doesn’t need to be expensive.
ParentsEmpowered.org stresses the correlation of families sharing mealtime, whether it be dinner or breakfast, to reduced under underage drinking and other antisocial behavior.
“We want to make sure that everyone knows it’s not rocket science,” said Doug Murakami, alcohol education director at the DABC, in an article on parents empowered.org. “Sometimes it is as simple as getting together around the dinner table, telling stories. Not anything too complex. It’s the little things that really make a difference.”
Find something you all are already doing, and do it together — exercise, read, eat, play games, cook, watch a movie together, a common hobby, or service to others.
Whatever your resolutions are, if you don’t think about them until Dec. 31, 2020, chances are you will be among those 92% that make resolutions and never keep them.
Just writing your resolutions down and looking at them monthly will increase your odds of purposely accomplishing something in 2020.