For millions of people, the arrival of a new year feels like a good time to make a fresh start. However evidence suggests that our natural inclination to eat and sleep more in winter can make it a tough time to start a new health regime. So if you’re planning to set yourself a health-based New Year's resolution, here are a few tips to help make it a success.
- Start small.
Having a small goal that you succeed in will motivate you to continue or extend it. Try setting yourself a more achievable goal, or a series of developing goals. For example - try eating more grains, fruit and vegetables for just one day a week – and add more days as you get used to it.
- Focus on one thing.
It’s easy to find lots of things we’d like to improve about ourselves. Aim to choose one thing that you haven’t tried before and that you know will have the most health benefits.
- Try something different.
The classic New Year’s resolutions – losing weight, running a 5km race, giving up alcohol - are all very well, but finding something that really works for you is more motivating. If you want to be more active - set yourself a time to be active and try different things – a walk, a class or a swim.
- Do it for yourself.
Try not to set a resolution with someone else. It may seem like a nice idea to have a running partner for example, but if they give up it’ll make it harder for you to continue. Instead, find people who already pursue that activity like a parkrun or campaign like Dry January to encourage you if you flag.
- Be patient.
Studies show that developing a new habit – the key to making successful health changes – takes at least two months - and often more. So stick with any changes you make – the more you do them, the easier they’ll get.
Above all remember that nobody’s perfect – so don’t put too much pressure on yourself and if you slip up, just start again – don’t give up. You won’t regret it.
Reviewed by: Asimah Hanif, Lead GP, Livi