5 Achievable 2024 Health-Related New Year's Resolutions

December 27, 2023
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The new year offers a new chance to kick bad habits, learn new things, and focus on self-improvement.

But deciding on a New Year’s resolution can be tricky.

According to CBS News, fewer people have been making New Year’s resolutions. It’s no wonder considering their reputation for being abandoned midway through January.

So what are some good health-related New Year’s resolutions that you’ll actually keep in 2024? It comes down to crafting attainable goals that can be accomplished through smaller, more manageable steps.

What are the top ten most common New Year’s resolutions?

When you’re brainstorming New Year’s resolution ideas, many people fall back on the most popular ones.

Statista, a consumer data provider, found that people have similar goals for year to year.

Here were the top ten New Year’s resolutions for 2023:

  1. Living Healthier
  2. Personal Improvement or happiness
  3. Losing Weight
  4. Career or Job Goals
  5. Financial Goals
  6. Improve Relationship
  7. Travel or moving
  8. Exercising
  9. Stop Smoking
  10. Reduce Drinking

Another popular goal over the last few years has been limiting time spent on social media or quitting altogether.

How to set and keep goals

At its essence, making a New Year’s Resolution is goal setting.

Many people, especially in business, find the most successful goals are S.M.A.R.T.

S - Specific:

Setting the goal of “Be Healthy” is daunting and too broad.

Pick something specific to work on this year. It could be getting more cardio by mall walking on certain days of the week, focusing on meeting a specific weightlifting goal, or learning how to cook ten healthy meals you can add to the rotation.

M - Measurable:

Once you focus on picking something specific, like getting back into a running routine, narrow it down even more. For example, you could commit to jogging for 20 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

A – Achievable

“Achievable” is defined by you. If you know you can’t make it to the gym seven days a week, don’t make that a goal. Start off with going two days a week and work your way up. That way, you don’t get as discouraged, and you have small victories to celebrate.

R - Realistic:

Make sure you’re not taking on too much, even when setting mental exercise goals. Don’t promise yourself you’ll become a grandmaster at chess. Take a month to learn the rules. Take a month to play mini games. Take a month to play against a computer. You’ll get there.

T - Timely:

Don’t set a never-ending goal. If you don’t have a start and end date, you don’t really have the motivation to get started and stick with it to the end.

What are five health-related New Year’s resolutions?

Need some help coming up with a unique New Year’s resolution?

Here are five specific health-related ideas:

1. Schedule Health Screenings

Wellness starts with routine health screenings. People may avoid health screenings out of fear of the unknown, but early diagnosis is often the best way to ensure long-term positive outcomes. It’s important to be proactive and get officially screened, especially if you have a history of different illnesses or conditions in your family or if you have specific risk factors.

  • Get Screened for Type 2 Diabetes: The American Diabetes Association encourages you to take this quick online test to see if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Get Screened for Lung Cancer: If you are an older current or former smoker, talk to your doctor about getting screened for lung cancer. Medicare covers those who are at the highest risk.
  • Get a Colonoscopy: If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, personal history of polyps, or have lifestyle risk factors like obesity or smoking, ask your doctor about scheduling a colonoscopy. It’s a great way for people age 50 or older to prevent colon cancer. It may even save your life!
  • Get a Mammogram: Mammograms - an x-ray of the breast - can show potential problems before you or your doctor can feel them. Current guidelines recommend women over 40 start getting yearly mammograms - it can save your life. Schedule your mammogram today.
  • Know your risk: Take 5 minutes to learn your risk for heart attack and stroke, and learn about actions you can take minimize those risks. Check out the American Heart Association’s tool for calculating your risk.
  • If you're a parent or guardian, ensure your children are booked for regular well visits with their pediatrician, and staying on track with their vaccination schedule. Monitoring your children's well-being can help surface any concerns early, and keep them healthy.
  • Health screenings are usually recommended based on age and other risk factors. Talk to your doctor about what health screenings they recommend for you based on your personal and family health history.

2. Move your body

You may not feel comfortable going to the gym or completing an intense workout just yet. That's okay!

Dr. Wilson Mertens of the Baystate Regional Cancer Program says even "moderately vigorous" walking 3-5 hours per week (or 30 minutes most days of the week) can lower rates of breast and colorectal cancer. You don’t have to run a marathon every week. Just commit to doing more than what you are right now. 

The current guideline for heart health is to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week (about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week). Think about ways you can incorporate more physical activity into your daily life – taking a walk with a friend, playing tag with the kids, or dancing while you do chores around the house. You don’t have to become a bodybuilder or marathon runner in order to improve your health – start small and build towards the 150 minutes goal.

3. Create a Healthy Home

Get a fresh start in the new year by having a tidy home. This could help reduce asthma triggers and reduce the chances of accidents and injuries.

  • Deep clean your house: Scrubbing down your entire home can seem daunting. Break up the cleaning into smaller chunks. Clean the junk drawer one week (and don’t keep throwing things in there!), and clean out your closet the next.
  • Make cleaning a routine: Write a list of all of the things that need to get done and put them in your calendar as “appointments.” That could mean vacuuming happens every Tuesday after work. You could book yourself a “dusting date” every Thursday morning, making sure to tackle one room a week with a damp cloth.
  • Look for hazards: Safety concerns like non-working smoke detectors, mold, and even clutter can cause a variety of health issues. The NIH has a guide on identifying and remedying health hazards in the home.

4. Care for Your Mental Health

This year, commit to treating your mental health like your physical health. Kick the mental health stigma and treat yourself with kindness. Mental health treatment isn’t only talk therapy, so explore your options and discuss your mental health with your primary care provider. They can help guide you to additional resources, treatment options, and ways to cope.

If you or a loved one are experiencing concerning behaviors or thoughts, you can reach out to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, a national network of local crisis centers that provides 24/7, free, and confidential support for people in a crisis and their loved ones. You can call or text 988.

5. Quit smoking, reduce your alcohol intake, or tackle another habit that has a negative impact on your health.

It's not easy, but removing habits that harm your body can provide the biggest impact on improving your health. In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, removing harmful habits like smoking can make you feel better daily and positively impact your long-term health. Get professional help with quitting and remember that it's never too late to take this important step.

For additional support in stopping smoking, call the American Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872). For help with other substance use disorder issues, contact our team.

Go Easy on Yourself

While it’s good to have some accomplishments under your belt for the new year, remember to give yourself a break.

These are hard times, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed.

If you’re feeling stressed, make sure you get the help you need. The CDC has a list of warning signs, helpful resources, and healthy coping skills you can use.

What is your 2024 New Year’s Resolution?

Share your New Year’s resolution with us on Facebook!

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