If you’re one of the millions of people making New Year’s resolutions about health, the best advice anyone can give you is to pick one thing and then plan how you’re going to make it happen. Don’t base your resolution on deprivation and punishment as that’s the fastest way to break it!
If your goal is to lose weight, for example, rather than saying ‘I must lose a stone in weight’ and wind up skipping meals to achieve that goal, try, ‘I will improve my food choices by having fresh fruit and nuts for my snacks’, or ‘I will get up half an hour earlier to have a healthy breakfast’. By concentrating on adding healthy options into the diet, you change your thinking away from easy junk food options. Also, as the healthy food, which is rich in nutrients and helps you feel fuller for longer, displaces the empty junk food, weight loss will follow naturally. Similarly, rather than signing up for gym membership to fulfil your resolution to ‘get fit’, get together with friends and promise each other you’ll go for a brisk 2-mile walk, a yoga class or a Zumba class twice a week.
We find it easier to keep a promise made to someone else. In this way a single resolution can improve not just your weight and physical health, but your quality of sleep, your mood and your social life.
Be clear about your goals
People who make explicit resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t, so whatever your goal, write it down with explicit reasons. Tell others what it is so they won’t put temptation in your way, and look at it every day. Create a weekly table of your daily goals and review it to see if the boxes are being ticked. If your enthusiasm is waning, look again at the reasons why this was important to you on 1 January, and try again. Keep a diary to measure outcomes. Happiness doesn’t lie in the future, its right here, right now and in knowing that you are making these positive changes for your health.