Axios Denver

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Happy Sunday, neighbors. We hope you're having a wonderful weekend.

  • Today's newsletter is all about how to make the most of 2024.

🎵 Sounds like: "This Will Be Our Year" by The Zombies.

🎂 Happy birthday to our Axios Denver members Randi Makley and Andrew Smith!

Today's newsletter is 743 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: How to keep your New Year's resolution

Illustration of "2024" written on four sheets of paper on a corkboard.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

So you've made it through the first week of 2024 with your New Year's resolution intact.

  • Now comes the hard part of keeping it going.

Details: Many people make resolutions as a way to mark time's passage and give it more meaning, University of Denver psychology professor Kim Gorgens tells Esteban.

  • Common goals revolve around health-related achievements, including weight loss, increasing exercise and quitting smoking or drinking.

By the numbers: Gorgens says research suggests about 55% of people set resolutions, but less than half of those folks actually succeed in accomplishing their goals.

State of play: Fulfilling your goals is manageable if you follow a few steps.

  • First, you need to be purposeful: If you say you want to accomplish something, try to schedule time in the day to do things that will help toward your goal; it can be in small increments.
  • Gorgens says it's easier to complete a resolution if you "hack" your brain's reward system. Instead of saying you want to do less of something, you need to tell yourself you want to do more of something else that's helpful toward your goal.

For example, if you want to lose weight, you will set yourself up to fail if you don't have targets.

  • Benchmarks don't necessarily need to be weighing a certain amount. Instead, they could focus on doing something else, like walking more.

Of note: For fitness-related goals, it's important to set reasonable targets, says University of Denver professor of sport and performance psychology Jamie Shapiro.

Reality check: Remember it takes time to see results, so don't get discouraged if you're not seeing the outcomes you expected.

Be smart: Share your goals with family and friends, because they can help you stay motivated, accountable and supported.

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2. 💪 Your '24 resolutions

Illustration of a to-do list with boxes filled with smiley faces. A hand is checking the boxes and the red checks look like noses on the smiley faces.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Over the last few days, Axios readers have sent us their intentions for the new year.

Why it matters: Writing down and sharing our goals is an important step toward achieving them — especially if we set realistic, reasonable ones!

Here are some of your resolutions for 2024:

🥄 "New Year's resolution this year will be to feed 1,000 more people for free in Denver." — Chase D.

❤️ "In 2024, my non-profit, XFoundation, is determined to save lives in our local Colorado communities by raising awareness on the harms of fentanyl poisoning while funding healthy and creative outlets for the youth of our community in hopes of helping them find passion for their hobby and life itself." — Madison G.

📱 "Less screen time! (mostly social media). And use the additional time in my day to read more books, work out more, and sleep more. #newyearnewme." — Elliott H.

👗 "I plan to donate, sell or give away 365 items this year. Since I don't want to add to a landfill, I will take time to repurpose things. My house will have less clutter, my children will have less to deal with in the future and others can benefit from my stuff." — Paula P.

☀️ "At 77, I want to minimize the head trash of worrying about getting older by focusing instead on all that I have and am now." — Joe G.

Our 2024 resolutions

3. 👟 Find your formulas

Illustration of a sneaker with one straight lace, and one loopy and wavy lace.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Lindsey Erdody, an Axios Local editor, looks back at her '23 resolution — and offers us advice on sticking to our goals this year:

My New Year's resolution for 2023 was to walk at least 10,000 steps per day — and with the year fully behind us, I am celebrating and reflecting on my success, she writes.

  • By the numbers: I figured out formulas to hit 10,000 — one dog walk + one 3-4 mile run; two dog walks + leaving the house for errands; one 5-6 mile run.

Reality check: It wasn't always easy. There were plenty of days I didn't — or couldn't — follow a formula and paced around my house before going to bed.

  • On vacation in April, my fitness watch, which I used to track my steps, broke. I borrowed my boyfriend's watch to ensure I hit the goal every day until I could get a replacement.

Between the lines: Being motivated to move more (the overarching goal) is great.

  • But it's kind of silly to hold yourself to a strict standard that doesn't account for illness, fitness watches breaking or other physical activity that doesn't involve steps (cycling, swimming).

And don't forget: New Year's resolutions should have some flexibility for when life happens.

Her 2024 goal

Our picks:

🥶 John highly recommends his new Rab Infinity Alpine down jacket for these cold days.

🦋 Alayna is headed to the Butterfly Pavilion for another "Rainforest Yoga" class with butterflies — one of her favorite things to do during winter.

🍺 Esteban is enjoying the nonalcoholic Athletic Run Wild IPA.

Thanks to our editor Ross Terrell and copy editor Bill Kole.