Healthy resolutions: New Year, New You?

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New Year, New You? How can you really make the most of a new year to make some resolutions and reach some goals? Here’s how to keep it simple so that you give yourself the best chance of success

There are no prizes for guessing that, in a recent YouGov survey, the top three New Year’s resolutions are to:
– Lose weight
– Get fitter
– Eat more healthily

Or that the same survey showed that 32% of people had broken their resolutions within a month – and a flaky 3% of those within the first day!

So, what is the best way to achieve your goals and hopes for 2018?

Don’t get stuck on a date
Didn’t start on 1 January, so think you’ve missed the boat? You haven’t. You can choose to start making the changes you want on any day of the week.

Plan ahead
As with most things in life, planning ahead increases your chances of success. If you’re making a change, such as fitting in exercise at three times a week, or eating healthier meals, you need to look at your schedule to work out which days to exercise and when. Or, before going shopping, look up some healthy recipes so you know what you need to buy before going to the supermarket.

Just the one
Rather than making lots of promises that are going to be hard to keep, choose one aspect of your life that you would really like to improve, and stick to it. If that is to eat more healthily, then you’ll find that the other things, such as getting fitter and losing weight, will naturally follow.

Break it down
A long-term goal is great, but to be achievable it’s good to break it down into smaller, manageable goals. So, if you want to get fit, don’t start off by promising yourself to get down to the gym five times a week. Start by walking for at least 20 minutes at least three times a week. You can then build this up until you feel fit enough to try a gym.

Have a routine
If you stick to a routine, particularly when setting aside time to get more fit, you are so much more likely to succeed. Set aside time each week that is ‘just for you’ – a chance to improve your life and help you to get to where you want to be.

Do it differently
Tried and failed a few times before? As the above statistics show, almost a third of people had broken their resolution within a month. But that means two thirds didn’t! What did they do to make them more successful – and what did you do that made you give up? How can you change it this time? Think about at what point you started to waiver and how you can avoid this time round.

Shout about it!
You are more likely to want to succeed and avoid failure if you tell your friends and family about it. You’ll get more support and be less likely to give up.

Allow treats
It’s often easier to stick to a resolution if you factor in the odd treat and a little bit of flexibility. Allow yourself a Friday night small bar of chocolate and enjoy – but don’t buy a big bar and think you’ll stop after a couple of pieces. It just won’t happen. And if it’s pouring with rain on your designated walking day, see if you can fit it in on another day – even if it is shorter, you will feel so much better for having done something rather than nothing.

Try, try again
Slipping up on a Saturday night with a few glasses of wine when you’d promised yourself not to drink for the whole of January; or having a slice of cake when you’d sworn off sugar until Easter does not mean you’ve completely failed (and therefore may as well go back to your old ways). Accept that you caved in and move on. And try and avoid situations which might make you weaken again.

It’s not a punishment!
When it gets tough (and it will), remember that you are trying to improve your life, not punish yourself. When you feel you are waivering, remind yourself of why you started in the first place. To lose weight so that you can go to that wedding and feel fabulous? To get more fit so you can do that 5k with your friends (and possibly, maybe one day, actually do a marathon)? To eat well so that you are setting an example to your children and so that they lead a healthier lifestyle, too?

Go on, you can do it!

Pippa Duncan

You can find more health articles at www.livinginmagazines.co.uk/health

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