Less than eight percent of people actually stick to their New Year’s resolutions each year, according to estimates cited by UAB Medicine, the University of Alabama’s medical school. Chances are excellent that you’re one of the 92% who won’t keep up with a healthy eating regimen, exercise program, organizing plan or spending quality time with friends and loved ones at some point after January.
These are among the most popular resolutions set and broken each year. One of the reasons most of us fail is that we don’t set up our environment for success. Your home can support or sabotage your goals. Rethinking it before you launch into your 2022 plans can make a powerful difference.
1. Exercise Resolution
“The most popular New Year’s resolution was ‘doing more exercise or improving my fitness,’ pointed out by 50% of respondents,” according to consumer data firm Statista about 2021 goals. It will likely be a leader again in 2022.
San Diego-based personal trainer and movement specialist Andy Hsieh observes that “a good workout program doesn’t really need much space or equipment, clearing up some clutter and making a space as small as 5’ x 8’ can go a long way. The more space the better, but that’s more than enough to get started with,” he points out. Carpet and/or a yoga-type mat are helpful too, Hsieh notes.
Body weight exercises don’t require much equipment or space, the trainer says. “A couple of weights, resistance bands, and a foam roller is pretty much all you need. What’s more important is that the space becomes the designated workout area — always free for you to step in and move,” he instructs. Having to clear out space each time you want to exercise reduces motivation, he adds.
If you want to create a dedicated fitness room, Pasadena, California-based interior designer Gail Jamentz recommends starting with your fitness goals, which will inform your space plan and flooring materials. Next, she advises analyzing your storage needs. “This is one issue that homeowners often struggle with because they underestimate the amount needed,” she shares. After you’ve considered these two key components of a fitness area, you’re ready to tackle the aesthetics. This should include natural light and ventilation, room light (for night workouts) and at least one mirror for monitoring your form.
“If designing your workout space involves upgrading electrical, improving plumbing, addressing sound mitigation, or adding windows, doors, or skylights, to name a few, it is best to retain a trade professional to help,” the designer cautions. “This will give you the peace of mind that all items are installed properly and meet local building codes.”
2. Healthy Eating Resolution
“Improving my diet” was a top five goal last year, Statista reports, with 39% of respondents citing it. Cooking at home is an important component to achieving this goal, but dark, cluttered kitchens keep many people from wanting to prepare healthy meals in unpleasant spaces.
Clutter can include expired spices and staples and kitchen gadgets you bought but don’t use, Milwaukee area organizer Joal Derse Dauer observes. Before rushing out to buy a new tool or small appliance to support your renewed weight loss resolution, the organizer recommends asking yourself if you “really need another device that you may only use once or twice per year?”
If you’re planning to remodel or update your kitchen, you have more opportunity to optimize the space for healthy cooking. “Think of the kitchen as your personal health center,” Jamentz declares. “The goal is to create a functional and beautiful space that supports nutritious cooking through careful appliance and plumbing selection, thoughtful space planning, and design that supports slow and mindful eating, while engaging all of your senses.” This includes having designated prep zones with sufficient counter space and a welcoming aesthetic, so you enjoy the time spent there.
A few appliance recommendations Jamentz offers include the versatile combi-steam oven, a refrigerator with advanced food preservation technology (to keep your produce fresh longer), and an indoor plant growing system.
3. Getting Organized Resolution
Clutter can add stress to your life and clearing it out with an organizing strategy is another popular resolution. To make it less overwhelming, Dauer suggests asking yourself either: “Which room or space bothers you the most?” Or “Which room is front and center that you see most often?” You don’t have to redo the whole house at once; that can be truly daunting. If you have a particular goal to start exercising or eat healthier, decluttering an area for fitness or tackling your kitchen can increase your chances of success in achieving those resolutions.
If you need support in achieving your organizing goal, consider a professional to “get you jump started,” Dauer suggests. This also gives you a deadline, resources, ideas and an investment incentive to complete the process.
4. Smoking Cessation Resolution
One of the most challenging resolutions — and a top 10 goal on the 2021 Statista list — with the highest stakes for your health is quitting smoking. There are many medical programs worth considering, but the experts in charge of those point to home changes like replacing your “smoking chair” with a new seat, adding an air purifier and reorganizing the space as strategies to help break the habit and support your success.
Jamentz suggests repainting the “smoking room,” or entire house, if budget permits. “This transformation would mentally signal a fresh start, while also eliminating odors that may be living on the drywall. I would also suggest having window treatments and area rugs professionally cleaned or replaced, placing an aromatherapy diffuser in your home or nice scented candles throughout.”
Another idea the designer suggests is to place some visual cues around your home that reinforce why you want to quit — such as framed photos of meaningful people in your life such as your children, grandchildren, or a parent. “This helps remind you of why you want to live a long and healthy life.
“Nutrition and exercise can help with quitting smoking, but most smokers do it because it helps with stress,” Hsieh comments. Making sure your home is clean and clutter-free can help decrease stress, the trainer points out.
5. Quality Time Resolution
The goal of spending more quality time with loved ones has been showing up lately (and came in sixth on the 2021 Statista list), possibly in response to the pandemic that has kept so many families apart and created so much loss.
“This is such an important topic, especially as depression and anxiety are at an all time high in this country and the need for connection is greater than ever,” Jamentz declares. She sees spaces that foster more engagement — especially across generational lines — and entertaining as essential. “This means spaces have a fluidity to them, as well as the ability to serve multi-purposes, such as cooking, playing games, dining, and doing homework, so people stay together and engaged.”
Setting your home up this way can include small, light furnishings with casters that can be moved and used as needed, tables with leaves for expanding capacity, an organized closet for games and craft supplies for fun, patio heaters and lights for outdoor socializing, storage near your entry for hand sanitizers, extra masks and booties to cover shoes and portable air filters for the home.
If you live in an area where outdoor entertaining is a near year-round possibility, optimizing your home for spending time in nature is ideal. “Try to make your space flow nicely from indoors to outdoors so you can spend time in both,” trainer Hsieh suggests. And make sure everything in your home space — indoors and out — has its own space. That will make achieving all of your resolutions easier. “Clutter happens because items don’t have a home,” he comments.
Author’s Note: Hsieh, Dauer and Jamentz will be participating in a Clubhouse conversation on Wednesday, December 15 at 4 pm Eastern (1 PM Pacific) to share more home-based resolution advice, and answer participant questions. This session is open to everyone. Those who miss the live event can find a recording the following Wednesday on the Gold Notes blog.