Many people consider saving money, volunteering, or spending more time with family when making new year resolutions, but the most popular resolutions always relate to health. Dieting and eating more healthily is the number one resolution at the top of everyone’s list. Closely followed in second is quitting smoking, and third is cutting back on alcohol. Why are these the most popular new years resolutions, though? And how can these goals be reached, instead of ditched early in the year?
Dieting is top of the list because it’s the hardest commitment to keep. Almost every single person who has this goal are impatient and want results straight away, which can be their downfall. Also, people can look at that resolution as a whole and think it’s too difficult to stick to throughout the year.
The best way to keep on the right path of dieting is by setting small targets for yourself. Keep a food diary and make a weekly food plan, so it’s harder to stray from the diet. If eating healthy (as opposed to losing weight) is your goal, then remember the golden rule recommended by doctors – eating five fruit or veg every day.
Joining a gym or an exercise class is a good way of sticking to diet goals, because most classes/sessions are daily, which means you can make a weekly exercise schedule. By creating diaries and schedules, it’s easier to stick to your small targets, such as a goal weight by a certain date. Exercise classes gives you the opportunity to be social, share your dieting concerns and have a support system.
Quitting smoking is the second most common new years resolution and is up there on this years list! Giving up cigarettes is challenging due to habit, but the health risks associated with smoking can be catastrophic, from asthma to cancer. Admittedly, this is not one of the most manageable new years resolutions, but can be manageable if you take the right steps to achieve your healthy goal!
Stopping smoking is all about figuring out what works for you. Some people prefer to join support groups or see a counselor. Other people are open to trying more drastic measures, such as hypnotherapy or acupuncture. Cravings will be your number one enemy when giving up smoking. Beat cravings by using electronic cigarettes to mimic the physical gesture, or use nicotine patches, which are a lot more healthier! Patches come in an array of strengths and most doctors suggest starting strong to start and replacing them later with the weak.
Having a cigarette after a meal is the most tempting time to light up, so change your routine by getting up from the table and do something to distract yourself. Try cutting back on alcohol consumption to help conquer cravings, or use electronic cigarettes instead. If you’re planning on having a meal with wine, then stick on a stronger nicotine patch beforehand. One of the golden rules to quitting smoking is distraction, so make sure you change your routine and think of the money you can save!
Cutting back on alcohol is also in the top three most popular healthy new years resolutions, and is arguably the most manageable (depending on how much you drink!). Despite health officials stating that the odd glass of red wine can be good for you, too much drink can affect your health and not in a good way. There are many negative effects of overindulging with alcohol from depression and addiction to liver damage, and even death.
Taking steps to reduce alcohol intake is similar to smoking in that change in routine is vital to sticking to your healthy goal. If you’re an avid Friday night bar-goer, then changing that habit is important to your success. Either find something new to do other than drink on a Friday or Saturday night, or if you do go out, then limit the amount of alcoholic drinks you’re allowed and switch to soft drinks. Leaving the bar early is also a good way of conquering your goal as it allows you to have downtime, but ensures you don’t go overboard!
Social situations can contribute to alcohol consumption, but you don’t always have to drink when you meet with friends. Start a new hobby with friends to replace old drinking habits, such as a painting or exercise class. Not only will you be distracted, but you’ll be learning something new and keeping fit.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with a huge list of new years resolutions and feel that you will fail unless you’re the healthiest person on the planet! One of the biggest mistakes people make are choosing goals that they think they should do, rather than what they want to do. Have one main goal and remember to achieve this by setting small targets for yourself that you know you can hit. Allow yourself to have the occasional slip up, but make sure you don’t give up altogether when you do make the odd mistake. Health is important, so choose wisely when picking your goals. Good luck with your new years resolutions and remember to take small steps.