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5 Healthy New Year Resolutions to Keep for 2023

Achieving your new year's resolutions is more than sheer will – you can be strategic about it. Read on for 5 healthy new year resolutions for a better you.

Notebook page reads “new year resolutions” with five blank numbers spaced next to a cup of coffee on a wooden table.

With 2023 arriving soon, you are probably busy writing down your new year’s resolutions right this moment. While that is a good start, one recent study showed that 68% of people fail to stick to their goals. This is because resolutions involve developing new habits, which take time to form. 

Not to worry, we’re not doomed to failure. These studies also indicate that the 32% who do succeed in sticking to their new year resolutions use these strategies: 

  • Keep the goals simple, but measurable 
  • Focus on developing new positive habits rather than making it about avoiding something 
  • Do it together with others for motivation and accountability 
  • Divide big goals into smaller goals 
  • Monitor progress to stay motivated 

With the above in mind, we discuss 5 realistic new year resolutions surrounding the most popular goal category – health and wellness.

5 Achievable New Year Resolutions for 2023  

Here are 5 goals you could set for the new year, focusing on the why and how. 

1. Get better sleep 

Good sleep quality has been linked to better health. We’re now more aware that proper sleep isn’t just about the number of hours, but also about sleep quality. Stopping screen time on devices at least 30 minutes leading up to bedtime is one way to improve the quality of your sleep. Instead of viewing it as taking away something you like, look at it as an opportunity for a calming ritual to ready yourself for much-needed sleep.

Keep a goal of winding down and being in bed by 11pm. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the continuous circulation of wei qi (卫气) or protective qi (vital life force) regulates the sleep-and-awake cycle. Thousands of years of observation and deep study revealed that 11pm is the time when wei qi begins to travel in yin (night, cool, passive) meridians. This is when the body naturally seeks sleep and rest.

For restful sleep, try massaging the an mian (EXHN16, 安眠) acupoint.

Located in the depression, at the junction of the skull base and the mastoid process (bone behind the ear), just below the earlobe.

2. Eat for fuel

Two women smile at each other while in exercise clothes sitting on a yoga mat eating healthy food.
Focus on the “why” behind healthy eating and regular exercise to increase the likelihood of success.

Wanting to lose a certain amount of weight is usually on many people’s lists of new year’s resolutions. Research has shown that reducing calorie intake doesn’t necessarily help you lose weight. Instead, focus on eating meals as a way to fuel yourself. Use delicious, wholesome ingredients so that you enjoy your meals and are more likely to turn healthy eating into a habit. 

In TCM, when it comes to weight loss, the focus is more on whether your body is processing the fuel optimally. Excess weight signals Spleen Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation, both of which lead to stagnant fluids, Dampness, and phlegm in the body. In conjunction with a healthy diet and regular movement, acupuncture can help reduce excess weight. Researchers believe it can optimise the satiety centre in the brain to prevent overeating and regulate hormones to improve metabolism. 

3. Exercise for energy 

Many of us try to exercise regularly and see it as a goal in itself. But what if you view exercise as the means to a greater goal, such as boosting energy levels? Exercise is one of the best ways to get more energy when feeling sluggish.

Exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous to be effective. In TCM, movement is a great way to encourage the optimal flow of qi. For the new year, focus on movement regimens that are gentle but effective, like qiqong, tai chi, yoga, and pilates. Enjoy the calm that comes with these exercise traditions.

4. Reduce unnecessary stress

Numerous TCM herbs and acupuncture needles are laid on a wooden surface.
TCM can help you achieve your new year’s resolutions due to its holistic approach that considers both body and mind.

Stress is inevitable – it is part of life. But unnecessary stress is something you can control. Be proactive and have an arsenal of stress-relieving activities you can resort to before getting burnt out. The list of activities is endless – a lot of it will be personal to you. The key is to build them into your regular life to avoid getting burnt out in the first place.

In TCM, stress is physiological rather than just a psychological response. Herbal medicine and acupuncture are viable ways to manage stress. You can work with a TCM practitioner to correct an internal imbalance, such as by improving the flow of qi and nourishing the Heart. 

To ease stress using acupressure, try massaging the shen men (HT7, 神门) acupoint.

Illustration of the location of the shen men (HT7, 神門) acupoint
Located on the inner wrist crease, towards the ulnar (little finger) side and about one-fifth of the distance across the wrist.

5. Reset your relationship with anxiety 

Clinical psychologist Dr. Tracey Dennis-Tiwary proposes recalibrating our relationship with anxiety. Anxiety is a tool that helps us imagine an uncertain future, rather than a disease that needs to be removed. How we cope with it determines whether we develop an anxiety disorder.

TCM also offers an alternative and practical view of anxiety. TCM uses herbs and acupuncture to treat disharmonies like Liver Qi Stagnation and Heat in the Heart that can contribute to excessive worry and anxiety. Try massaging the yin tang (EXHN3, 印堂) acupoint to relax.

Yin tang
Stimulation of the yin tang acupoint can help manage the symptoms of anxiety.

The above new year’s resolutions are related to and reinforce each other, which is no accident. Feeling healthy is a rather large goal that can seem unattainable. Focusing on these 5 goals will make you more likely to see results and stay motivated. It takes about 18 to 25 days to build a new habit, so start working towards your resolutions today in time for the new year!


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