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Health Matters - New Years Resolutions

Paul Bowen Standard
Health Matters - New Years Resolutions
27 December 2018

Many of us will make a healthy New Year's resolution – maybe to lose weight, quit smoking or get active – but what's the best way to stick to it?

Psychologists have found we're more likely to succeed if we break our goal into a series of steps, focusing on creating smaller milestones that are concrete, measurable and time-based.

Top 10 goal-setting tips

  • Make only one resolution. Your chances of success are greater when you channel energy into changing just one aspect of your behaviour.
  • Don't wait until New Year's Eve to choose your resolution. Take some time out a few days before and think about what you want to achieve.
  • Avoid previous resolutions. Deciding to revisit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment.
  • Don't run with the crowd and go with the usual resolutions. Instead think about what you really want out of life.
  • Tell your friends and family about your goals. You're more likely to get support and want to avoid failure.
  • To stay motivated, make a checklist of how achieving your resolution will help you.
  • Give yourself a small reward whenever you achieve a milestone, which will help to motivate you and give you a sense of progress.
  • Make your plans and progress concrete by keeping a handwritten journal, completing a computer spreadsheet or covering a notice board with graphs or pictures.
  • Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time. Treat any failure as a temporary setback rather than a reason to give up altogether.

Below are some of the most common New Year health resolutions, to help you get started and achieve your goal.

Lose weight: get practical tips to lose excess weight, including getting started, healthy food swaps, download the NHS weight loss guide a free 12-week diet and exercise plan at assets.nhs.uk/tools/download-panels/data/weight-loss/pdf/all-weeks.pdf.

Quit smoking: There's a free local Stop Smoking Service near you. Studies show that you're four times more likely to quit with help. Developed by experts and ex-smokers and delivered by professionals, your local Stop Smoking Service provides expert advice, support and encouragement to help you stop smoking for good. For more information visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree or speak to your local pharmacist.

Get active: Walking is one of the easiest ways to get more activity into your day, lose weight and become healthier. Research shows people who fit moderate activity like walking into their daily life burn more energy than those who make weekly visits to the gym.

Try to fit walking into your routine by ditching the car for short journeys, walking all or part of your journey to work, getting off the bus or train one stop early, and planning longer walks at the weekends.