February is often the month when all the good intentions from our New Year’s resolutions start to fade, or become harder to uphold. According to the NHS, around seven million of us make New Year’s resolutions but how many of us actually stick to them?
A YouGov survey, issued this time last year, showed that the most popular New Year’s resolutions have tended to be around our health and fitness. Many people start the year with plans to lose weight (47%); exercise more (51%); cut down on alcohol (12%); give up smoking (22%) and eat more healthily (41%), but many of us need help to keep those plans going.
Here are a few tips to help you to keep the healthy promises you made only last month, for at least the year ahead, if not longer.
Use practical tools, expert advice and useful Apps
Now that tablets and smartphones are part of everyday life, it’s easy to have helpful tools and tips constantly at our fingertips. There are online fitness monitoring devices, NHS Live Well advice tools and a whole array of Apps to log and monitor your intake and output. I really like SportsTracker, to keep you motivated by setting goals and recording your exercise type, times, routes and calories burnt. I also find MyFitnessPal to be an easy to use food diary where you can log what you eat and drink, to remind you how many calories are left of your daily allowance, helping you to balance exercise with your food and drink intake. But there are dozens of fitness Apps out there; you just have to find what works for you.
Boost your will power and stay motivated
Richard Wiseman, a professor at Hertfordshire University, says you can boost your will power and stay motivated by completely focusing on one new resolution, rather than lots, as well as taking the time to plan your goal in advance and make sure you reward yourself when you have achieved it. In his study of 5,000 people he said that the 10% who achieved their target did so because they broke their goal into smaller goals and celebrated each small achievement. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthychristmas/Pages/NewYearresolutions.aspx
Take it ‘little by little’
The Mental Health Foundation says that almost 80% of us fail to achieve our resolutions. They suggest we can be more successful in keeping them by having a support network of friends and family, as they can help you to stay focused, as well as ensuring you don’t obsess over small failures, but start afresh the next day. They also say you can make your resolution become part of your everyday routine after a couple of weeks, then it just becomes habit.
They also offer free wellbeing Podcasts, as well as food and mood diaries.
Set realistic goals
Many psychological studies support the fact that most of us fail to keep our New Year’s resolutions and mainly in the first few months. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor of business psychology at UCL, says it is because we have a tendency to set far too optimistic goals to feel better about ourselves, and then we see those goals fail shortly afterwards. So it is very important to set specific and achievable goals, then there is less chance of failure. He does, however, warn that most fail because we are often trying to change our innate personalities, character traits and common tendencies. That is why it is important to be realistic in the goals you set for yourself. http://www.drtomascp.com/
Good luck with your 2015 goals, including those to get, or stay, fitter and healthier.