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Five ways to set New Year’s health resolutions you’ll actually keep

16th December 2019

A Time for Reflection

As the end of another year rolls around, it’s easy to become reflective on what you’ve achieved (or haven’t achieved...). Your mind may turn to what you want the new year to bring, or how you plan to change yourself and your life for the better this January.

Enter, the New Year’s Resolution.

Many of us see these personal pledges as our chance to change what we don’t like about our lives and finally become that better version of ourselves we just know is hiding inside. In 2019, nearly three quarters of Australians made New Year’s resolutions. Nearly 30% wanted to lose weight, and 10% resolved to eat better.

Enter, reality.

Studies show that only a quarter of us are still sticking to our resolutions after 30 days, and only 8% will go on to achieve them.

The bit we often forget when we’re flush with the optimism that a new year brings, is that change is HARD. Improving ourselves and our lives takes ongoing and consistent work and a lot of support from those around us.

However, you don’t have the write off the idea of resolutions altogether. There are ways to make them work, and we’ve pulled together our top tips below.

How to Make Your New Year's Resolutions Stick

Break your resolutions down into small goals

The biggest mistake people make when it comes to sticking to their resolutions is trying to do everything at once. It’s great that you’d like to quit smoking, lose 10 kilos, slash your intake of Sav Blanc and run a marathon. However, if you decide to work on all these goals consecutively from 1 January, you’re almost certainly doomed to fail. Trying to wean yourself off nicotine, alcohol, junk food and a sedentary lifestyle all at the same time is an almost-superhuman feat.

Instead, break your resolutions down into manageable goals. Either choose to focus on one area only, or stagger your goals them in stages. For example, you may decide to just leave your diet where it is until you’re over the worst of your nicotine withdrawals. Then, you might decide just to reduce your intake of chocolate and increase your vegetables for a month, rather than changing up your whole diet overnight.

Write it down

Start a journal and write down all your goals and why you want to achieve them. Track your progress daily. If your resolution is to start exercising more, then track your fitness goals, activities undertaken and your thoughts and feelings. When it gets hard, write about it. Keeping a journal is a great way to celebrate your wins along the way and keep yourself accountable.

Bring others along on the journey

Find a friend with a similar goal as yours and work on it together. You might arrange to meet a group of friends three mornings in the park to walk together. You could start a Facebook or WhatsApp group to discuss your progress and share your feelings about your journey. Or, you could look around for an already-established group to join to keep you motivated. Either way, finding other like-minded souls to stick with is important to success.

Share the load

Tell your friends and family what you’re trying to achieve and why it’s important to you. Make them understand that you want to succeed in what you’re doing and that you’d appreciate their help to get there. Whether it’s telling your husband that you’d appreciate if he’d stop stocking the fridge with Tim Tams, or explaining to your sister that turning up every Friday night with two bottles of Prosecco is not helpful, bringing people into your confidence can make a huge difference. Remember to keep them in the loop as you celebrate your wins along the way, too.

Be realistic

Aiming to drop three dress sizes by February is not only unhealthy, it’s almost certainly doomed to fail. Remember, you are not a Hollywood star with an army of nutritionists, personal chefs and a trainer at your disposal. You are human and you’re likely trying to change some long-term habits. Break your goal down into manageable chunks and allow yourself the room to take a misstep here and there along your journey, without beating yourself up too much. Tomorrow is a new day and you can pick up where you left off.

If you’re struggling to build healthy habits that will last, contact Dr Phil Lockie today for a consultation. We’re experts at helping people turn resolutions into lifestyle changes that will last for a lifetime.

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