We have all done it – made a great long list of New Year Resolutions, written out neatly in a brand new notebook on the first day of January. And, we have all guiltily shoved that notebook into the back of a cupboard when February comes around. This time it can be different – you just need to resolve to adopt a new approach.
Popular resolutions, and why we pick them…
Lose weight. The festive season means chocolates, puddings, nuts, and nibbles. We eat loads more than normal and end up bloated and half a stone heavier. It is no surprise that many people resolve to go on a strict diet in January.
Give up smoking. The reason we pick January 1st to start our resolutions is that it is such an important, watershed date. Giving up smoking is the best decision you could ever make for your health, and the health of those around you. An important decision needs an important date.
Get fit. Slobbing around Christmas in front of the TV can make you feel fat and unfit. So you go and buy some sports gear in the Boxing Day sales and resolve to join a gym.
Give up alcohol. Most of us drink more over Christmas than the rest of the year put together. It is no surprise that pounding January 1st hangover makes most of us resolve to give up the demon booze.
Save more money. We love to treat family and friends over Christmas, but it comes after a difficult year with the recession still biting hard. Many people promise they will claw back all their overspending by cutting back in the year ahead.
Be healthier. This follows on from dieting and getting fit. After plowing our way through tins of Quality Street and boxes of biscuits, many people resolve to adopt a healthier lifestyle in the New Year.
Be happier/fulfilled/positive. If your year has been one of frustration and upset, it makes sense to want the next year to be different.
Why resolutions fail
We don’t plan. You wake up on January 1st after resolving to go on a diet, only to find the fridge full of trifle. If you have decided on your resolutions, plan for them. Make sure there is no alcohol left in the house if you have resolved to give it up. Don’t arrange to go out with friends if you are saving money.
We are not specific enough. ‘Get fit’ or ‘be healthier’ is far too vague. Think hard about what you want to achieve, and set a goal. Turning vegetarian may be too big a step, but resolving to eat five pieces of fruit a day is much more achievable. Plan what fruit this will be, from where you will buy it, and when you will eat it. Do you want to run the London Marathon or tone up your bingo wings? Choose a goal and plan up to it, drawing up a jogging schedule or signing up to exercise classes.
We are discouraged by failure. So you missed a workout and scoffed a Mars bar? Got angry instead of thinking positively? This is one of the major reasons people abandon their resolutions. No-one is perfect, and if you give up, all your hard work will be wasted. Put it behind you and move on. Resolutions are for the long term.
If you want to make changes in your life, making a New Year resolution is a great way of doing it. But successful resolutions need planning, so before you resolve to do anything else, resolve to make your resolution work!