6 New Year’s resolutions everybody should make

MakatiMed health expert cites these simple, doable commitments to wellbeing

Lose weight, learn a new language, spend less, travel more: These are just four of the most popular New Year’s resolutions people make. Ironically, they’re also among the resolutions that rarely make it past the first few months of the year.

According to a 2019 study conducted by physical exercise tracker Strava, people are most likely to give up their New Year’s resolutions on January 19, known as “Quitters Day.” By the second week of February, a whopping 80 percent would have thrown in the towel trying to achieve the resolutions they so earnestly committed themselves to just weeks before. Why do we make New Year’s resolutions—only to break them?

“Because it’s the easier thing to do,” says Jon Edward B. Jurilla, MD, Section Chief of Psychiatry of the top hospital in the Philippines, Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed). “Change is hard. It takes you out of your comfort zone and requires effort to produce the desired results. If you made a resolution but are accountable to no one but yourself, then no apologies or explanations are needed when you fail or don’t even try.”

How do you make 2024 the year you become resolute about your resolutions? “Instead of making grand plans, commit to simple and doable tweaks to your routines. They help develop healthy habits that benefit you and those around you,” Dr. Jurilla points out. Unlike ambitious resolutions that can be discouraging to restart when you slack up, resuming these tweaks to your daily routine is easier. And their effects will impact you for a very long time.

MakatiMed cites six simple resolutions to make and keep beyond the new year:

Sleep well

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep for most of the week. “It’s this time when your body and brain rest, recover, and repair themselves to function optimally the following day,” shares Dr. Jurilla. “Studies have shown that getting the recommended hours of sleep improves your mood, lessens stress, and sharpens your ability to think and concentrate. Sleep has also been credited for keeping you at a healthy weight and reducing your risk for life-threatening diseases like diabetes and heart disease.”

Eat more veggies

Simply eating 4-5 servings of fruits and veggies daily is enough to reap the health benefits of nature’s superfoods. It’s certainly a delicious way to lose weight, reduce blood pressure, and lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. “Go for a wide variety and color. Make sure you include dark, leafy green veggies, yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables, beans, and citrus fruits in your meals,” reminds Dr. Jurilla.

Get an annual health screening

There’s truth to the old saying: Prevention is better than cure. “Certain diseases often go unnoticed because they do not present symptoms,” underlines Dr. Jurilla. “A yearly checkup, complete with diagnostic exams, can detect disease, hopefully in its early stages, so you can get timely and appropriate treatment. This saves you costly and stressful confinements in the hospital and prolongs your life.”

Exercise your brain

We’re all guilty of mindless scrolling on social media, but if you want to stimulate your brain, MakatiMed suggests doing otherwise. “Play word games, solve a puzzle, compute without using a calculator, read a book, or recite a poem from memory,” suggests Dr. Jurilla. “The benefits of regular physical activity extend to the brain, too. It enhances memory, prevents depression, and cuts your risk of dementia.”

Practice mindfulness

Whenever you worry yourself sick about what the future holds or seethe all day after recalling a painful past, it’s time to draw your thoughts to the present. “That’s mindfulness for you,” says Dr. Jurilla. “Open, active attention to the present, and objectively seeing your thoughts and feelings, without judgment. Mindfulness spares you from thoughts that only lead to anger, anxiety, and depression. It makes you more peaceful to the people around you and less obsessive over things beyond your control.”


For some, relaxing is a tall order, especially when there’s work to finish, bills to pay, and people to look after. “But relaxing—or chilling, as some people call it—actually prepares you to face the challenges of daily living,” asserts Dr. Jurilla. “When you are rested and recharged, you are healthier. Your breathing and heart rate slow, your blood pressure normalizes, and you are less of a candidate for heart attack and stroke. As such, you have the energy and mindset to deal with life’s stresses.” Chill on your own terms: Is it gardening, dancing, meeting up with friends, or meditating that uplift you?

Make time for what makes you happy. Now that’s a New Year’s resolution to fulfill!

For more information, please contact MakatiMed On-Call at +632.88888 999, email mmc@makatimed.net.ph, or visit www.makatimed.net.ph. Follow @IamMakatiMed on Facebook and Twitter.