Seven tips to make your New Year's resolutions stick.
Here we are again, a new year with new resolutions. But how committed are we to keeping them? Well, the odds are stacked against us unfortunately: approximately 80% of people give up their new years’ resolutions by February. So why do we even bother? Well, because it’s a positive way to start the year off and gives us that extra spring in our step so we can accomplish the things that we may not have managed to do last year.
And while there are success stories from those who did stick to their resolutions, for many of us the goals are unachievable or they’re resolutions based on what someone else (or society) is telling us to change. We need to be kind to ourselves and keep a healthy balance, otherwise feelings of failure, stress, and self-pity can kick in.
The trick to keeping them is to be realistic and there’s also a strong argument to be made for the value of simply starting off slowly, rather than going for the ‘all-or-nothing’ approach.
So let this year be about re-evaluating those goals, setting realistic boundaries, and taking small steps to gradually ease into them. That way, come December, you may not even realise you’ve actually ticked them off your list! Here are 7 ideas for you to embrace a ‘New Year, New Me’.
Cut down, not out
When it comes to maintaining our health and wellbeing, rather than going on a ‘detox’ or doing dry January for instance, consider moderation instead - i.e. reducing or cutting back. The reduction tactic means you can still have the perks of that cheeky wine, or two pieces of chocolate, but you’re not overdoing it and in control. Furthermore, the need to detox and cleanse isn’t actually substantiated, so the best approach is to just focus on treating our bodies like a temple by drinking lots of water, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep - more of the good and less of the bad. Our mind and body will appreciate both the immediate shifts and longer-term changes, so think of it that way.
Eat in, not out
Despite spending a lot of time at home recently, the temptations of takeaway and pre-prepared meals still exist. If you’re keen on not only eating healthier this year and also saving some pennies, home-cooked meals are key. Not only can you dictate what ingredients go in, but it’s also a good way to upskill and learn new recipes and techniques in the kitchen. Win!
Make a resolution with someone else
We all need a bit of support and encouragement, especially when times are tough and motivation is lacking. People can stick to realistic goals when they’re made with others - research has shown that exercise specifically is one such example. So if you’ve got a family member or friend that is keen to undertake a wood-carving course, or body combat class this year, buddy up with them and see if you can both hit the nail on the hammer and achieve your goals. The added bonus is that you can then pat each other on the back and celebrate together.
Take time to look after your mental health
Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on our lives, interfering with our mind and body in a way that sometimes can go unnoticed and untreated until breaking point. Over time, stress can have harmful effects on our bodies - our nervous system, muscles, heart, and gut all react differently, so we need strategies in place to reduce stress and form building blocks towards a healthy lifestyle. It’s incredibly important to allow time for ourselves - have a bath, practice 5 minutes of meditation, sit down with a cup of tea - and be mindful that you’re allowed to take time out and relax, and in order to achieve your goals and get that job you’re after, a healthy mind is key.
An obvious one, but worth reiterating only because it really can stick. Harking back to the idea of easing into things gradually, how about signing up to one yoga class a week, or setting yourself a goal of reaching 20 laps in the pool, then 25? Or dancing around the kitchen while the kettle is boiling? Getting off the bus one stop early?
Our emotions live in our bodies, and when we get the energy flowing through movement, our moods lift and our thinking, learning, and judgment skills stay sharp. Other benefits include better sleep, combat heart disease, and other health conditions, and controls of weight. Need we say more?