The new year is mercifully upon us (though, come to think of it, we’ve been saying that the last three years), which means it’s time to start thinking about how we want to improve ourselves for this next lap around the sun.
If weight loss is one of your goals for the new year, you’re not alone — in surveys, it usually ranks as the most popular resolution. Unfortunately, setting vague intentions probably isn’t going to get you very far.
“When you set vague goals like ‘lose weight’ or ‘get in shape’ or ‘build muscle,’ the goal may feel overwhelming,” says Lauren Gross, PsyD, a licensed psychologist in Charlotte, North Carolina. “When setting fitness resolutions for yourself, try to make them SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented.”
Here are 20 SMART resolutions that can help you start the new decade off right.
1. Try a New Workout
Resolve to branch out and try at least one workout that’s brand new to you, like a barre class or a mud run.
2. Do an Unassisted Pull-Up
Pull-ups are a great benchmark for strength, so even if you haven’t attempted one since high school gym class, make it a goal to get better at pull-ups this year.
3. Run a 5K
It’s easier to get motivated to run when you know there’s a medal and a free T-shirt at the end of it, so be ready when racing resumes! If running three miles is no sweat for you, set a time-based goal, like finishing under 30 minutes.
4. Keep a Daily Journal
Writing down your goals is a great way to hold yourself accountable, stay on-track, and monitor your progress. Follow a writing prompt, or list the steps you took toward your health goals that day.
5. Touch Your Toes
Losing weight and building muscle are worthy goals — but don’t forget about flexibility, which is a key component of fitness. Set a goal to stretch for a few minutes each day.
6. Get More Z’s
Sleep is critical for your overall health and well-being, and it can even help with weight loss. But according to the CDC, one-third of us aren’t getting enough. Set a goal to get the recommended 7–9 hours per night.
7. Swap Soda for Water
One simple way to cut back on added sugar consumption: Nix sugary beverages and reach for water when you’re thirsty.
8. Meal Prep Your Lunches
Meal prepping can help you stick to your healthy eating goals, so invest in some handy meal-prep containers and commit to preparing healthy lunches in advance each week.
9. Complete a Fitness Challenge
Try a 30-day fitness challenge — like a plank challenge, squat challenge, or BODi Block — as a way to jumpstart your fitness journey and get in the habit of staying active every day. There are so many to choose from, you can resolve to try a new one each month!
10. Hit Your Step Count
Hitting 10,000 steps a day may not be a magic number for weight loss, but it’s a good way to make sure you’re getting the minimum recommended amount of activity you need each week to maintain your health. (If you’re stuck in a cubicle all day, here are some unique ways to get your steps in!)
11. Eat Veggies at Every Meal
Veggies are full of nutrients and can support your weight loss goals, so make it a goal to eat them at every meal. If you’re not a veggie lover (yet), try blending them into a smoothie bowl or adding them to a sauce.
12. Meditate Every Day
Meditation can help you feel calmer and more focused. Not sure where to start? Try a sample meditation from Unstress, our 21-day guided meditation program with the meditation app Unplug.
13. Tackle a Tough Mudder
Training for a physical challenge like a mud run or extreme obstacle course can help you stay motivated. Try Tough Mudder T-MINUS 30 to help you get in shape for when Tough Mudder events are staged in your area.
14. Master 3 New Yoga Poses
Instead of just resolving to “do more yoga,” set a goal of mastering three poses you couldn’t do last year. Press play on Yoga52 to help you become a master yogi in the comfort of your own home.
15. Cut Out Alcohol
Alcohol is filled with empty calories, so you may want to consider cutting back or giving it up altogether. Try Dry January — or booze-free 2023, if you’re up to the challenge.
16. Set a Budget
Money is a major source of stress for many people. Setting a budget can help you feel more in control of your finances. Make sure your budget goals are specific and actionable — for example, “I want to decrease my monthly dining expenses by $200, and I’ll do this by cooking dinner at home five nights a week.”
17. Organize Your Home
List all of the small organizational projects you’ve been meaning to tackle — like organizing your kitchen or decluttering your desk drawer — and tackle one project each week.
18. Clean Up Your Beauty Routine
Resolve to be kinder to your skin — and the planet — in 2023 by transitioning to cleaner beauty products.
19. Wear Sunscreen
Sunscreen is vital — not just when you’re lounging on a beach, but anytime you’ll be spending time outdoors. Choose sun protection that’s SPF 30 or higher. (If you’re worried about the chemicals in some sunscreens, try a reef-safe sunscreen with fewer toxic ingredients.)
20. Schedule Self-Care
“Me time” is important, so make self-care a part of your routine. Doing this on a daily basis is ideal, but at the very least, resolve to adopt “self-care Saturdays” to help you regroup at the end of a stressful week.