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Making new years resolutions work


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What a cliché! You vow all through the festive season that you’ll go on a healthy living spree come 1 January, only to fall at the first hurdle and topple off the 5-a-day, jog-every-morning, no alcohol-or-chocolate wagon before the month is out. But were you really serious about turning over that new leaf?

If there is something you truly want to achieve or change in the coming year – from weight loss to a new career – then you need to find a better way to make it happen than the usual New Year’s resolution that you, and everyone else, expect to break. Here’s some tips on making new years resolutions work.

What do you want to achieve?

Start by making your resolution something that you enjoy doing rather than a stick to beat yourself with. So if you want to get fit, commit to an exercise class that’s fun for you and doesn’t feel like a punishment – think zumba not bootcamp! Or choose to work out at home in privacy, rather than sweating in shame at the gym. That way you can enjoy the journey not just the end goal, and you’re more likely to get there!

Be practical!

Make it easy for yourself to succeed by making your resolution practical and achievable (oops, veering into SMART goal management-speak, sorry). If you’re not keen on fruit and veg, then what’s the point of aiming for 5-a-day? You’re just setting yourself up for a fall. If you go for at least two a day instead, and bump up your water and fibre intake, you’re more likely to stick to it and still feel the benefits.

It’s all in the planning

Plan ahead and let Christmas work for you, rather than trip you up at the starting line. Ask for presents that support your New Year’s goal – some cool new work-out gear, vouchers for that photography course, supplies for your new hobby, and so on. And shop wisely for your festive fare. If you only buy what you really need, and ask people to go easy on the selection boxes too, then you’ll have less to lose on your January diet.

Get a resolution buddy

resolutionsSticking to a new regime or making a major change can be a lonely business. Why not recruit a partner or friend to be your New Year’s resolution buddy? You can spur each other on, work together, share tips and keep each other on track. Or you could make a family resolution – something that you all want to achieve, and that everyone can join in – from more activities and outings, to family bike rides or even fines for shouting!

Are you a carrot or a stick person?

Some of us might benefit from a personal trainer, a New Year’s resolution blog for everyone to view your progress, or a fine for every shout, swear word or sneaky cigarette. But you might find that treats are a better motivation. So be kind to yourself and reward your efforts. The promise of a takeaway after losing each half stone, a new top once you’re trained twice a week for a month, or a night out for taking that first concrete step toward a new career can help keep you motivated.

Who says a New Year’s resolution has to kick in on 1 January?

You’ve got a whole year to play with after all, so it might make more sense to start your challenge on Twelfth Night, 1 February, or a date that has some significance to you – an anniversary or birthday.  It’s a bit of a test of your resolve (kind of a ‘dog is for life not just for Christmas’ kinda thing), so if you do make a start it shows you mean it! Plus it gets you past everyone else competing to be the biggest winner or loser in the resolution stakes. And you’ll have finished off all those festive leftovers and chomped all your Christmas chocolates, so any healthy living resolutions will be that much easier.

And remember there’s no law that says you have to make a New Year’s resolution in the first place (nor that you have to tell anyone). So only do it if it makes you happy – and do it your way!


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About Alison McKay

About Alison McKay

Alison McKay is a charity PR professional with over 15 years' experience in full-time, part-time and jobshare roles. Since being made redundant while on maternity leave, she has divided her time between working for a local museum, freelance and volunteer writing, and being chief wrangler to a two-year-old mud-magnet and an almost-seven-year-old wannabe dog-care worker with a penchant for hair accessories. Alison's hobbies include yoga, reading cookery books and putting away just enough clean laundry to keep the pile below 3ft tall.

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