As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, you can feel a sudden wind of change. It is time to embrace a new array of good deeds and resolutions – new year, new you. From joining a charity and running a marathon to learning a new language and picking up a musical instrument, the list of possible resolutions is endless.
It is fair to say, however, that one of the most recurrent objectives is to lose a few pounds, keep fit, and stay in shape. In this respect, there are many reasons why you might decide to abide by a healthier lifestyle. But there is no hiding that health-focused resolutions can be relatively challenging to keep going. The temptation to give up and ditch your health plans can feel like it’s always just around the corner.
Therefore, how can you stick to your new healthy lifestyle behaviours throughout the year? Here, we take a look at some useful tips that will help you stay true to your resolutions.
Focus on one resolution at a time
With the arrival of a new year, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can completely revolutionise your habits from the outset. The truth is, though, that having too much on your plate all at once can be pretty daunting. Instead, focusing your energy on one resolution at a time – rather than on a wide selection of different ambitions – can help you achieve long-term success.
Ultimately, establishing certain behavioural patterns will take both time and effort. If you want your running routines or your fruit and veg diet to endure, concentrating on one specific aim will make your goals easier to reach.
Begin with small steps
Getting off to a flying start is not always the wisest strategy. It may make you feel good at first but overdoing it at the gym or following a strict diet from day one will soon become overwhelming. The best way to keep your resolutions rolling is by not getting too far ahead of yourself.
Take small steps to start with – it will actively help you pursue your larger objectives. Are you hoping to run a marathon in a few months’ time? Go for regular, slow-paced jogs initially and work up to longer sessions as you build your strength and stamina. Sticking to a healthier diet? Don’t add too many vegetables to your menu or reduce meal sizes from the start. Instead, begin by replacing some unhealthier options with more nutritious food.
Easing yourself into your new habits will increase your chances of success in the long term. As the famous saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race”.
Sometimes, it is important to consider what we are capable of achieving – and, ultimately, what we are not. Setting overly ambitious goals can be detrimental to the success of your resolutions. If you have never been swimming before, but expect yourself to smash several pool laps in a very short amount of time, you may find it discouraging to discover that you are unlikely to succeed.
Therefore, make sure to plan more realistic targets. Reaching your weekly or monthly goals will work wonders on how motivated you feel. Results at hand, you will be more prone to stay loyal to your resolutions.
Whatever your New Year’s resolution, it should never become a burden or a sacrifice. Instead, it should always be viewed as an enrichment. One way to persevere and reach your goal is to reward yourself from time to time as an incentive.
Are you going for a long run in the park? Give yourself a flavoursome rush of energy by drinking a sugar-free lemon coffee when you return. Are you cooking a green, healthy meal for dinner? Invite some friends over and enjoy it in the company of others. By rewarding yourself for your hard work with something you really enjoy, healthy resolutions can become both fun and long-lasting.
Add resolutions to your hobbies
There is no escaping the fact that resolutions require a good dose of effort and commitment. However, this does not mean that they should prevent you from carrying out your favourite pastimes. In fact, rather than giving up a hobby, see your resolution as an activity you would like to add to your routine.
If you have a soft spot for film and TV, keep binge-watching your favourite movies – but you may want to go for a jog before you relax on your sofa. By balancing your old hobbies with your new ambitions, you will find it easier to stick to your healthy resolutions.
Remember “why” you are doing it
If you are struggling to keep up with your resolution plans, try hard not to throw in the towel. Tired of cooking nutritious meals from scratch? Tempted to skip your gym sessions or your daily walks? Remind yourself why you have decided to get into these healthy, new habits.
It is crucial to renew your motivation every so often. Jot down a list of the reasons for which you have started a balanced diet and look back at it for inspiration. Is it because you are running a half-marathon for charity? Are you doing it to recover from a past health issue? This will help you freshen up your goals and keep you going for the rest of the year!
Change is a process
One last piece of advice to always bear in mind is that change is a process. It would be fantastic if we could all regain our lost fitness in the space of days, weeks, or months. But the reality is that new habits and routines take time to develop and become fruitful.
Hence, be easy on yourself. Do not give up if you do not achieve the results you want within a fortnight. Working towards your ambitions and resolutions requires patience. Even if you trip once in a while, do not be disheartened – you can restart with confidence. With the right mindset, you will be able to stick to your health goals no matter what.
There is no denying that keeping up your New Year resolutions is no easy task. It requires strong will, commitment, and great effort. The good news, however, is that there are many ways in which you can make sure your plans do not crumble as time goes by. We hope these tips will inspire you to continue embracing a healthy lifestyle throughout the year. Good luck!