You can do it! How to keep your New Year’s resolutions

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You’re here, reading this now, because you’ve made a promise to yourself to create healthy changes to your lifestyle in 2018.

Breaking bad habits can prove a little tricky, especially at this time of year when everyone else seems to be living it up and digging into boxes of gifted choccies, so we’ve come up with six easy ways to help you stay on track.

 

• Don’t be too ambitious
Aim to make small positive changes (a half-hour walk late in the evening, taking a healthy lunch to work each day) and build from there.

Full-scale lifestyle overhauls are only likely to last a week before you feel as though you’re overwhelmed and/or missing out.

 

• Organise for success
If your aim is to make better food choices, spend a day cleaning out your fridge and pantry. Having only healthy wholefoods available when you need a snack means that’s what you’ll eat.

The same applies if you’re addicted to the snooze button of your alarm, but have decided to get up early to exercise or meditate. Move your clock or phone to the other side of the room so you need to physically remove yourself from beneath the doona to switch it off.

 

• You’ve got to want it
If you think it’d be kinda cool to run a 10k or be able to fit into that great dress you bought two summers ago, but you’re not really fussed either way, forget about it. You need to be motivated and focused.

 

• Be precise
Saying you want ‘to be healthier’ or ‘lose weight’ is so general, you’re almost setting yourself up for failure. What you need is a precise, measurable goal and a timeframe within which to achieve it.

Be specific about weight-loss goals, whether you feel as though you’d like to take off five kilograms or your doctor has said you need to lose 20. Then give yourself a timeframe. If you’ve got a holiday or big event coming up, that could be it. Otherwise pin down a date. (For 20 kilograms, it might be exactly six months from now.) Now, turn it into manageable chunks. Six months breaks down into 12 two-week periods.

That’s 1.7kg every fortnight to reach your goal within the prescribed time. If you follow a healthy diet and exercise plan this is a perfectly attainable goal, especially because you’re checking in with yourself on a regular basis.

 

• Track your progress
Of course, you need to write down those precise goals, but it’s also a great idea to keep tabs on the day to day.

Stick a piece of paper on the fridge with mini daily goals for two weeks (eat five serves of vegetables, drink two litres of water, do 20 minutes of moderate exercise) then tick them off each day as you achieve them. It’s a great way to build good habits.

 

• Be kind to yourself
You’re not always going to meet your goals, and sometimes you might slip up. When you do, dust yourself off and keep going. One setback does not equal failure.

On the flip side, when you achieve your goals, give yourself a pat on the back. Rewards work, too – a massage, perhaps – when you reach a major milestone.

 

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