10 TIPS FOR MAKING AND KEEPING NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
It’s that time of year again, when we make New Year’s resolutions after the excesses of the holiday season. Many will be linked to improving our health, from giving up alcohol or smoking to losing weight or joining a gym.
In some cases, a New Year’s resolution can lead to a positive and life-long change; in others, our resolve fails and we’re back to our old habits within a couple of weeks. A birthday at work means cake is on offer; a stressful day leaves you reaching for the bottle of wine; a cold morning puts you off going for a run.
So how can we resist temptation and stick to our guns? Here are our top 10 tips for making and keeping New Year’s resolutions.
READY, STEADY GO
Make sure you’re at the right stage of readiness (see our blogs on Stage of Readiness and Maximising behaviour change). Pick your battles and only make a resolution if you are ready to make a change. If you’re half-hearted, you’ll give up at the first hurdle.
Setting SMART goals is a recognised strategy for success. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Agreed, Realistic and Time-framed. See our blog What Are Smart Goals? to work out the best approach for keeping to your New Year’s resolution.
TRICK OR TREAT
Use any tricks you can think of to stick to your goals. Stick a picture of yourself at your ideal weight on the fridge; leave your gym bag by the front door as a reminder; make healthy food from scratch, such as homemade soup, and freeze it in batches so it’s readily available.
KEEP IT REAL
Don’t set unrealistic goals. It’s unlikely you’ll lose a stone in a fortnight and crash dieting is not a healthy or effective way to lose weight. Better to formulate a long-term strategy and make small changes towards an all-year-round healthier lifestyle, such as walking to work, cutting sugar out of your tea or joining a local sports team.
HELP IS AT HAND
Ensure you have support, whether it’s a friend making the same resolution or professional help, such as working with a personal trainer at your local gym to help motivate you.
BREAK THE HABIT
Changing your routine can help you stick to your resolutions. Make a list of when you eat unhealthy food (Friday night takeaway, anyone?) or are particularly inactive and switch things round for long-term benefits.
IT’S GOOD TO TALK
If you tell friends or family about your resolution you’ll feel obliged to carry it out, as you know they will ask how you’re getting on.
SKILL PLUS WILL
It’s not enough to have willpower, you also need the skills to carry out your resolution. A personal trainer can help you get the best results at the gym and prevent you from picking up injuries.
REAP THE REWARDS
Give yourself small treats along the way, for example enjoying a meal out or buying a new pair of jeans when you reach a certain weight.
KEEP AT IT
If you do fall off the wagon, don’t use this as an excuse to give up altogether. Instead, treat the lapse as a blip and start again afresh the next day.
Good luck with your resolution – we hope you stick with it!