Many of us make resolutions each year, and with the best intentions, but the secret is to pick one thing that you really wish to achieve, rather than the range of things we often feel pressured to promise as we enter the New Year.
The key thing to remember is that you can always make a positive change in your life, any time of the year, and as long as you feel passionate about it, make a plan and don’t aim too high (with a huge list of vices to tackle all at once) then you can feel optimistic about your chances of success.
Think carefully about one change you could make this year that may benefit you, your friends or family.
Here are some thoughts on a new approach to this year’s resolutions:
Most of us base our resolutions around our health. Lose weight, stop smoking and drinking, exercise more often, detox – the list goes on. It is important when you are thinking about choosing this kind of resolution that you are realistic.
Firstly, take one thing at a time. If you try to do too much, you run a high risk of failure – which isn’t the best way to embark on the road to the ‘new you’ that you are hoping for! Pick one resolution and make a plan, tell people about it so that you have maximum support and start gently.
If it is drinking that you are concerned about, start by cutting down. Pledge to drink sensibly, or maybe try limiting alcohol to a sensible amount at weekends. This is far more attainable than giving up altogether and unless your doctor has told you otherwise, the odd glass of wine can actually benefit your health – so don’t be so hard on yourself.
If you are aiming to get fit, start with half an hour of gentle exercise three or four times a week before you commit to that expensive gym membership. Better still think of an activity that you really enjoy and join a class or group. Dancing, paint-balling, kickboxing, horse-riding, rock-climbing, swimming – the list is endless and you can custom-build your fitness programme without ever feeling that you’re doing anything but having fun with a new hobby and meeting new people.
When it comes to diet and detox a few basic changes can make a huge difference without having to do something unnecessarily dramatic like live on grapefruit juice for a week. Denying yourself food will leave you lethargic and frustrated and, though you may lose some weight in the short term, it is fairly common knowledge these days that diets don’t really work. The reason for this is that while you are eating less your body adjusts the amount of calories that it burns and as soon as you go back to your old eating habits the weight piles back on.
To sensibly lose weight a permanent, sustainable lifestyle change is required – so think about this carefully and consider what you feel you could really cut out of your diet long-term. Try replacing your mid-morning donut and latte with a green tea and banana or swapping milk chocolate snacks for small bars of dark chocolate. There is always one thing you can change so make it easy on yourself and think about which one thing would work best for you.
If you are concerned about smoking I’m afraid there’s not much of an easy way out here.
Of course cutting down would help but we all know that this very seldom lasts. The truth is that you need to quit. Yes, even if your granny smoked and could still bike to the post office and back aged 103! Get some support and quit if you’re serious about facing this vice head on, there is plenty of help these days if you are serious about giving up smoking.
Other resolutions that often seem to be forgotten are ‘make time to relax’ and ‘do something altruistic every week’.
These two life changes will benefit you hugely and are easy-peasy to stick to!
Relaxation and altruism are now known to be two of the best things that you can do to immediately improve your physical and mental health, so at the very least – call your mum to see if she needs a hand with anything this weekend, then curl up on the sofa with a good book, and soak up the benefits!