A survey found 69 per cent of us intend to make at least one New Year's resolution come 1st January every year. And while less than a quarter of us will stick to achieving our goals, there is a secret to succeeding. The key to keeping your resolutions varies according to your gender. For men, it is about being specific, such as "lose three kilograms", rather than just "lose weight".
Women should share their resolutions. They like the social support of friends and family. "If you halve your goal you'll be more likely to achieve it," dietitian Kate DiPrima says. "Instead of saying you'll exercise every day, make a commitment for three times a week. This way you'll have a sense of achievement rather than failure."
Be realistic. Aim for a sensible weight loss of 0.5 to one kilogram per week and keeping motivated with "mini goals". "Instead of wanting to lose 10 kilos, focus on reaching milestones. Aim to lose two kilos in 30 days. You’re much more likely to achieve the results.
Cut down on the alcohol
Rather than going cold turkey, cut back on your overall intake and choose cleaner options. Choose red wine instead of beer. "Making better choices is the first step and then you'll be more likely to make permanent health shifts," nutritionist Emma Sgourakis says.
Start each day well
When you are eating healthily, Sgourakis says, you'll be less inclined to want to pollute your system with toxins. "Start the day with a fresh vegetable juice of celery, cucumber, spinach and carrot. Add fresh lemon juice, ginger and a green apple for a bit of sweetness. I call it intestinal soap to clean out your insides!"
When you get eight or more hours of sleep a night your mental and physical health dramatically improves. Turn your phone, iPad and TV off and snuggle in.
Before you write your letter of resignation, do your homework. "Be prepared to get what you want by knowing what you want," wellness and performance coach Fiona Cosgrove says. "Write down in as much detail what your new job would consist of. Don't worry about the 'how'; make it as exciting as possible."
Spend more time with family and friends
"As a family, make a commitment to each other, such as promising to eat Sunday breakfast together every week, or have 'date' nights with your children - one on one - without any other family interruptions," says Maggie Dent, author of Saving Our Children From Our Chaotic World (Pennington Publications). Look for areas in your life where you can socialise with others: walking the dog, movie nights or bike rides. "These are all activities you can do together that won't cost anything and require little organisation," Dent says.
Start small for big results. "Take a look at a few of your weekly habits to see where you could free up some cash," says Penny Collicoat from Women with Edge Financial Planning. "The easiest budget cuts to make are on takeaway foods and coffee. Buying just one takeaway coffee less a day, at $3.50, adds up to $840 a year." Collicoat also adds "fresh food doesn't attract GST so is 10% cheaper and also good for you!".
Make your list
Writing down your resolutions is a positive step towards achieving them.
- What do I want to change and by when?
- Why must I make this change?
- What are the steps I need to take?
- Who can support me?
- How will I motivate myself?