New Year resolutionsAs I put aside the 2018 calendar for the brand new 2019 planner, I consider what opportunities and challenges the New Year may bring, and what self-improvements I want to make. People have been starting the New Year with resolves for self-improvement or promises of commitment since calendars were first invented by the Babylonians. There’s something about the celebration of a new year that gives us a chance to rethink old habits and perhaps even recreate and improve our selves.

Survey researchers have found that 46% of those making common New Year’s resolutions (such as weight loss, increased exercise, or quitting smoking) were ten times more likely to succeed in keeping their resolutions as those who decided to make life changes at other times of the year. Popular culture promotes the idea of using the transition to a new year as a good time to identify areas for self-improvement or set behavioral, task-related, or spiritual goals.

SucculentsFor example, The Good House Keeping magazine outlines 35 Achievable New Year’s Resolutions for Healthier and Happier Living.  I liked all 35 suggestions, but my favorite suggestions were: #6 Become a plant owner—just the presence of indoor plants can lower stress, blood pressure, and increase concentration. #23 Take back your lunch break–only 20% of Americans actually take a lunch break, even though having a lunch break increasing productivity and can add much-needed diversion to the workday. #26 Switch up your routine—this idea is based on research that showed that people who worked out in multiple ways were less likely to have shortened telomeres, the DNA segments on the ends of chromosomes that tend to break down as we age.

If you’re like me and know that you’ll need some external motivation to keep up a weekly exercise routine, you may find The 41 Best Health and Fitness Apps article helpful.  The list of 41 apps is not presented in a hierarchical order, but the authors do explain the method they used to select the top apps.  They developed set of questions to determine if an app qualified for to be included in the “top app” list. The criteria questions included: Is the app highly rated? Does it offer something unique? Is it user friendly? Is the app reliable and not buggy? Can this app continue to grow and innovate? Does the app drain a smartphone battery? The 41 apps featured scored well on all these criteria.

Daily YogaI reviewed this list of apps with my own set of questions. Is the app free, or does it at least have an entry-level free version? There’s no way I’ll try a new app that has a start-up fee.  I was also looking for apps that offered information or tools that clearly met my needs and interests and were easy to use.  I’m starting off 2019 with the Daily Yogaapp (#5). So far, I like the app exercises a lot, but the embedded ads in the free version are very annoying. I’m planning to try the Yummly Recipes + Shopping Listapp (#21), after I recover from my holidays cooking spree. There are lots of
mindfulness exercise and serenity apps as well as a wide variety of fitness tools.

The web has lots of tips to help you keep your new year resolutions and inspirational quotes to keep you inspired to stay committed to your fresh start to 2019.  For as Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) says, “And now we welcome the New Year. Full of things that have never been.”