8 Resolutions Worth the Effort, According to Science

  • By Ruby Campbell
  • Jan 23, 2019
8 Resolutions Worth the Effort, According to Science

We put together a list of resolutions worth the effort in the new year and beyond. It was inspired by the latest research on the science of wellbeing, sustainable high performance and happiness (for instance, the January 2019 edition of New Scientist). We hope it inspires you to keep learning and growing to become a better you.

1. Set Career Goals, With Your Whole Life in Mind

This is a tried and tested way of building happiness and wellbeing. Therefore make this your first resolution for 2019, and set career goals in harmony with all other areas of your life (hence, the term holistically). Use our Goals Matrix template to help you with the process.

2. Start Embracing Nature

Eco-therapy, which involves participating in outdoor activities, is an emerging field in wellbeing research. For instance, people living in greener neighbourhoods tend to have better cardiovascular health and lower levels of stress. Whether you join a bushwalking group or simply enjoy gardening, getting outdoors is good for you!

3. Learn a New Language or Musical Instrument

This is one of the best ways to hone your mind, improve your thinking skills and help stave off cognitive decline as you age. Learning a new language and/or a musical instrument may be hard work, but the payoffs are impressive, eg better focus, improved memory, improved executive function. Add to them the social aspect and you have additional benefits.

4. Sleep More

Most adults need 7-9 hours sleep a night. Anything less than 5 hours' sleep puts you at risk of heart disease, diabetes, infectious diseases and cancer. It makes you hungry, so you are more likely to overeat. Plus, it affects your mood, making you irritable and putting you at greater risk of depression. So develop a good sleep hygiene routine.

5. Simplify and De-Clutter

Our insatiable appetite for new things consumes a lot of energy, both physically (think of our carbon and biodiversity footprint just from everything we buy each week) and mentally (making numerous decisions about numerous choices, daily, leads to mental fatigue). Resist the urge to overconsume - it will save you time, money and mental fatigue, and it will help the planet.

6. Move Much More

No, you don't need to join a gym. In fact, a gym membership might discourage many from allocating more time to being active throughout the day, which is the ideal goal for anyone with a desk job. If your work environment allows, break up your day with 5-10 minute bursts every hour. Any consistent physical activity is beneficial, according to Australian guidelines.

7. Start Helping Others

Aristotle wrote that the essence of life is to serve others and do good. Make this one of your 2019 resolutions and you’ll also be doing yourself a favour. People who volunteer are happier and healthier on average than those who don’t. It may sound counter-intuitive but taking extra responsibilities as a volunteer can reduce stress because of the extra sense of purpose and meaning generated.

8. Be Kinder To Yourself

If at first you don’t succeed, relax and give it another go. You don’t need to wait until 2020 to try again. The amount of time it takes people to form a new habit varies significantly. Some researchers claim that the average is 66 days however, it can take almost a year. Change can be difficult and messy therefore don’t hesitate to ask for help and get support from others.