New Year Resolutions

Family Health Diary

It’s something about the calendar rolling over to a new year that makes us take stock of our lives. Perhaps it’s simply the enforced holiday season where we collectively stop for a week or two and usual life gets disrupted, and then wonder about starting it back up as it was.

I’m sure even those who say they don’t make resolutions secretly inside have a few private thoughts about what they want to achieve, change, or do more of ‘in the future’. I reckon the top candidates can be grouped into these areas:

  • Fitness: Getting in shape is often the #1 resolution
  • Food: Eating better, eating less
  • Money: Earning more, saving more, using it better
  • Vices: Stopping a bad habit
  • Self-improvement: Being the person you’d like to be
  • Connecting: Relationships with family, friends, colleagues
  • Something new: be it a hobby, job, or skill

Then it’s how you achieve it! I’ve been considering some opinions on what makes a resolution stick and although the thoughts and research on it all varies, there do seem to be some common threads to success amongst them all. Here’s the top ten tips I think address the pitfalls, using ‘getting fit’ as the example.

  1. Pick one thing to address, rather than many
    ‘I am going to start walking regularly’, as opposed to ‘I am going to walk, run, swim, do press ups…’
  1. Do some research and planning
    ‘Where can I walk and when in my neighbourhood, and with whom?’
  1. Make a goal
    Something specific like ‘I’ll walk 5 x a week for 30 mins’ for the next 6 weeks at least, rather than ‘I’ll get fit’ this year.
  1. Get it on the record
    Write it somewhere / tell your mates, make it outside of your thoughts so you have support and accountability. Even if it’s just being accountable to the calendar on the kitchen wall with the box to tick for ‘walk done today’.
  1. Measure progress
    Seeing how you’re tracking against your goal shows you how you are going which is either inspiring or gutting, but at least you know rather than operate in fairy land.
  1. Plan for the hurdles
    Life is not uniform. Some days turn to custard. Routines change. Know they will happen and pick up the slack another day so you’re still largely on track.
  1. Pick a start date
    Yep, make an actual date with yourself.
  1. Pick a date you’ll get a reward with a goal achieved
    After 6 weeks with an 80% achievement rate for walking 5 days/week for 30 mins a pop, we’re going out to dinner to celebrate (and set the next goal!)
  1. Doing some of it, is better than doing none of it
    If I can’t do 30 mins today and I only have 15 available, I may as well do 15, and try and do longer another day.
  1. Failure is ok, but persevere and don’t give up
    It’s the old getting back on the horse after a fall that is important.


And why the getting fit example? Well that’s my one. It’s been rather cathartic writing out the plan here, (and you’re welcome to rob it!) Now I must stick to it…seems my walking buddy Angela and I need to make a date, a route and a timetable and get on with it.

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