Tired of making the same old resolutions every year? Here are some fresh and fun ideas for lifestyle changes you might actually want to keep in 2022 – and feel happier and healthier in the process.
Eat healthier, exercise more, save money, lose weight… If some of the items on your list of potential New Year resolutions are starting to sound a little familiar, you’re not alone.
For many a moon now, these four have been among the top of our hitlists. But however admirable the intentions, the trouble is that with such vague, lofty or downright unachievable goals, all we’re really doing is setting ourselves up to fail. One lapse, and suddenly they go in the ‘too hard’ basket for another year.
So this year we thought we’d shake things up a bit, by suggesting some smaller, fun and more achievable goals for 2022 - to help get you going, and hopefully stick with it:
1) Drink more water
Let’s start simple. Our bodies are around 75% water, so it goes without saying that keeping hydrated will make us feel healthier, especially during the great Kiwi summer. So try to drink your recommended 8 to 10 cups of fluid each day.1 Low fat milk, tea and juices are okay too, but water is definitely best.
2) Plan a getaway
COVID has put paid to many of our travel plans over the past two years. But with restrictions beginning to ease, there’s no reason why you can’t at least start to dream bigger. The anticipation of planning a trip is always half the fun, after all. And even if jetting off overseas is still not on your agenda, there are plenty of cool getaways you can take on the home front.
3) Read more books
Everyone loves a good book. Whether it’s the latest from your favourite author, the classics you never quite got around to, or the copies still sitting unread on your bookshelf, a good read is pure escapism. So set yourself a goal to do more of it this year.
4) Join a club
Starting a new hobby is all well and good, but joining a club makes it a commitment. Plus you can get to meet new people with similar interests in the process, and widen your social circle of friends.
5) Take the stairs
You might not think it, but climbing the stairs burns more calories per minute than jogging.2 It also strengthens your leg muscles and improves your heart health. So from now on, if you have the option, take the stairs instead of the lift every time.
6) Discover your family history
Knowing who we are and where we come from can be a truly rewarding journey of discovery, and can help us feel more centred as individuals. Plus it’s a lot easier to achieve online these days. Just start your search, build your family tree and away you go.
7) Declutter your home
We all accumulate stuff over time. But a cluttered living environment can cause stress, make things harder to find and stir up allergens. So try to declutter this year – even if it’s just throwing one thing out a week. Chances are you won’t miss it, and you’ll feel much better.
8) Decorate one room
Instead of tackling your whole home at once, dedicate yourself to fixing up just one room this year, then whittle away at it, making improvements gradually. You can always do another room the following year, and before too long your whole house will have received a makeover.
9) Try a new look
If DIY isn’t your thing, how about giving yourself a makeover instead? Change the style or colour of your hair, or add some new clothes to your repertoire. A new look might just help to put extra pep in your step.
10) Listen to more music
Music can perform wonders for the human body and mind, including elevating your mood and reducing your stress levels. It’s also much more relaxing than staring at a screen, and allows you to multitask. So make a point of adding some music to your day. And try some new tunes too, not just your old faves.
11) Take more walks
We all benefit from getting active. So even if fitness regimes really aren’t your thing, a simple walk outside can help you stay fitter, not to mention relax and refresh your mind. Maybe try making it a regular occurrence too – first thing in the morning, say, during your lunch break, or a stroll after dinner.
12) Go to bed on time
Our bodies crave routine, and regularly getting enough sleep should be high on everyone’s agenda. As well as helping us feel ready for action the next day, a healthy sleep pattern can boost our immune system, metabolism, memory, learning capacity and much more.3 So make sleep a priority in 2022 – you’ll feel much better for it.
13) Ditch one bad habit
That’s right, just one. Let’s be realistic here, we all have little vices we could lose, or simple positive habits we could really benefit from adding to our day. So whether it’s nail-biting, smoking, eating unhealthy snacks, not flossing regularly or using our phone as a go-to during quieter moments, take the step to ditch it.
14) Write To-Do lists
Writing lists might not sound exciting, but doing so can be very productive. Research shows that it not only motivates and makes you more likely to achieve your goals, it can also improve memory function.4 And let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy the satisfaction of crossing something off a list?
15) Give yourself a compliment every day
Be kind to yourself in 2022 by focusing on your positives. As well as improving your general mental health, self-compassion can slow your heart rate and reduce perspiration, two signs of chronic stress.5 So take time each day to acknowledge something you like about yourself.
16) Learn a new skill
Physical exercise is good for your body, but mental exercise sharpens your mind. So whether you’d like to learn a new language, how to woodwork, open an online business or take better photos, dive in this year and do something you always wanted.
17) Volunteer more
Use the New Year as a kickstart to helping others. As well as learning new skills, volunteering can help you make new friends, advance your career, and even feel happier and healthier. It can also reduce stress and lower your blood pressure.6 So why wouldn’t you pitch in?
18) Perform one random act of kindness every week
Acts of generosity and kindness cost you nothing, and make the world a better place. So pay it forward and go out of your way to help people in little ways – you’ll put a smile on the faces around you, and on your own.
19) Clean out your wardrobe
We all tend to hang onto clothes we don’t wear any more – whether for sentimental reasons or because we’re determined to fit into them again. But if you haven’t worn them in over a year, you probably not going to. So just sell them or donate to charity, and start a new era in your wardrobe.
20) Reduce your screen time
Most of us are guilty of too much screen time these days, sometimes even double dipping – looking at our phones while watching TV. So make a point of reducing your daily fix, especially social media which can make us feel inadequate. Focus on what you’re doing, not on what others say they’re doing.
21) Spend more time with people who matter
Life is short, so don’t waste it on people who don’t make you feel good about yourself. Take time to focus on those you care about most, and you know care about you. It could make 2022 a much happier and fulfilling year.
22) Cook a new meal every week
We’d all like to eat healthier, but what about eating different? Trying a more adventurous menu can open up a world of new flavours, and there are so many recipe ideas online now it isn’t funny. So give it a nudge in the kitchen once a week - and you could make spice the variety of life, just for a change.
23) Slow down your eating
Have a tendency to race through mealtimes? Live in the moment instead, and make a point of slowing down. As well as appreciating every bite of what you’re putting in your mouth, it could also be good for your health - slow eaters are 42% less likely to be overweight or obese.7
24) Stop being late
Punctuality says a lot about you as a person. It suggests that you’re professional, dependable, compassionate and respectful. So this year, try not to be late for meetings with friends and colleagues. Everyone will thank you for it.
25) Let go of grudges
Sitting around and moping about your relationships with others is just counterproductive. What’s past is past so let it go, try to forgive and forget, and start the year with a clean slate.
26) Make a 5-second video every day
One last fun option. Take a 5-second video of something you’re doing every day in 2022. Then at the end of the year, splice them all together and you’ll have a video record of your year. And hopefully it’ll be a lot more exciting than the lockdown life many of us experienced in 2021.
These are just a few suggestions – we’re sure you can think of more. So if you want to make some long-term positive changes in your life this year, just start with one, then go from there. You never know where you might end up.