It’s good to have New Year resolutions. Taking steps to make positive changes to our health and wellbeing is important for securing our futures and ensuring a healthier, longer life. The problem with them however, is that many of us will have failed and forgotten about our resolutions by the time January is over. Why not make sure that 2016 is the year you finally stick to your resolutions, and make healthy changes for life? All it takes is a little motivation and a bit more thought.
Actions speak louder than words
It’s all very well to say that you’re going to do something, for example “I’m going to run a marathon” or “I’m going to give up smoking”, but saying and doing are two very different things. In order to stand a better chance of sticking to our resolutions, it’s important to come up with a plan. Write a plan of action as to how you’re going to achieve your resolution, setting yourself a goal a week or a day. Breaking an overall aim down into smaller, manageable steps makes it much easier to achieve, and you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction as you complete each step, giving you motivation to carry on.
Don’t go it alone
One of the best ways to make sure you stick to a resolution is to enlist someone to do it with you. If you and your partner both smoke for example, make a pact to give up together. Want to start running? Find yourself a running buddy who’s on the same level as you. With someone else on board you’ll care more about letting them down than letting yourself down, plus one of you will be sure to motivate the other on the day’s you’re not quite feeling it.
Get real help
Some New Year’s resolutions take a bit more help, particularly if you’re looking to give up smoking, alcohol or lose weight. Your doctor is there to help you to make these lifestyle changes, particularly if your dependency is high. The NHS offers free resources to help smokers quit through its Smokefree initiative and your GP will be able to advise you on decreasing your alcohol intake.
Document your efforts
Why not start a blog or switch the focus of your social media pages to document your efforts? By turning your resolution into something that’s a part of your life, people will be able to view your progress as well as feel inspired by your journey. With an audience expecting updates, you’ll feel more inclined to provide them. Fitness resolutions in particular are popular on Instagram, with people sharing their progress as they shed the pounds. These platforms offer plenty of encouragement and support, and are a great place to find ideas and inspiration from people with similar goals to you.
Don’t give up if you stumble
Too many of us are quick to give up our resolutions as soon as we ‘break’ them, but this shouldn’t be the case. For example, just because you gave into smoking yesterday, doesn’t mean that you can’t still quit. Start again the next day and remember that it can take months to shake a habit properly – it’s how you feel at the end of the year that’s going to make the difference. To form a habit, such as drinking more water or getting in your morning exercise, they say it takes 30 days of repeating an action for it to stick, but if it takes you longer than that, it doesn’t matter.
Write yourself motivational notes
Sometimes it only takes the smallest reminder to ensure that we stay motivated to achieve our goals. One way to do this is to write yourself some small notes to hide around your home, in places that you’ll see frequently such as the kitchen drawer, the bathroom cabinet etc. If it helps, you can get someone to hide them for you. Finding that bit of unexpected encouragement will keep your goals fresh in your mind and help you achieve them,
Sticking to your New Year resolution will not be an easy task, but with the right attitude, some support and a bit of planning, you can and will achieve them. If your goal is based around healthy eating or losing weight, the NHS Live Well website has plenty of great ideas for shedding the pounds through the recommended combination of healthy eating and exercise.