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
For restful sleep, try massaging the an mian (EXHN16, 安眠) acupoint.
2. Eat for fuel
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,
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
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.
To ease stress using acupressure, try massaging the shen men (HT7, 神门) acupoint.
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
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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- ScientificAmerican.com. 2022. New Year’s Resolutions Are Notoriously Slippery, but Science Can Help You Keep Them. [online] Available at: <https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-years-resolutions-are-notoriously-slippery-but-science-can-help-you-keep-them/> [Accessed 22 November 2022]
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- Perspectives on Psychological Science. 2017. Reducing Calorie Intake May Not Help You Lose Body Weight. [online] Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5639963/> [Accessed 22 November 2022]
- Wall Street Journal. 2022. In Praise of Anxiety. [online] Available at: <https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-praise-of-anxiety-11651849496> [Accessed 22 November 2022]
- Anxiety.org. 2021. Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Complement Each Other. [online] Available at: <https://www.anxiety.org/western-and-traditional-chinese-medicine-treat-anxiety-disorders-effectively> [Accessed 22 November 2022]
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