SETTING ACHIEVABLE HEALTHY INTENTIONS FOR 2020
According to research from finder.com, of the 79 per cent of Australians committing to a New Year’s resolution, over half (53 percent) of them want to lose weight or ramp up their fitness regime, 46 percent want to improve their diet, and 6 percent want to drink less or quit smoking.
Worthy resolutions, no doubt, however making them is the easy part. Sticking to them, not so much.
After analysing 822 million online global activities from 2019, social network Strava predicts that most people will have given up on their resolutions by January 19.
The reasons for this are varied, but can be distilled down to a few simple points:
1. The resolutions are too broad, and not specific enough
2. The resolutions are unrealistic
3. We make too many resolutions
4. We don’t have a clear idea of why we are making the resolution
5. We have no support or accountability
New Year’s resolutions can bring about sustainable change – the key is to be clear, realistic, genuine and accountable.
Think it through
The first step to creating achievable resolutions is to invest time and thought into creating them.
A simple way to do this is to look at the things that are working in your life – the things that give you pleasure and purpose, and vow to increase these; and to look at the things that aren’t working in your life, and vow to decrease these.
From here, you can set realistic, achievable goals, with measurable results.
So, rather than making a resolution to ‘lose 10 kilos in 2020’, you could make a resolution to walk for 30 mins a day, 3 days a week, and commit to a specific healthy eating plan. Rather than resolving to ‘drink less in 2020’, you could commit to 4 alcohol-free days each week.
Understand your ‘why’
Be clear about why you have chosen these resolutions. What is the payoff?
If your resolution is to lose weight, have a clear understanding of why you want to lose weight. Do you want to feel better about yourself? Take up a sport? Or be able to play with your kids?
Understanding why you are doing something is a vital part of actually doing it.
Write it down
Once you have decided on your resolutions, write them down to keep a record of them. Be sure to include your ‘why’ for each resolution. Keep this list handy so you can see it and reinforce it regularly. Save a copy to your phone, put a copy beside your bed so you see it each morning, or stick it to your fridge.
Make sure it includes smaller goalpost that you can achieve in shorter increments.
Your GP can be a great help in measuring results of any health-related resolution, making you accountable for your resolutions, and ensuring you are working toward them in a healthy and sustainable way.
Let a trusted friend or family member know your resolution. They can be there to help keep you on track in times when your resolve starts to weaken. You can set up a buddy system where you support each other in achieving your individual goals.
The NSW Get Healthy website and free telephone coaching service (www.gethealthynsw.com.au/) provides people with a personal health coach for six months to guide them to achieve their health goals.
Smokers can call the Quitline on 13 78 48 or visit icanquit.com.au to get help in achieving their goals.
Measure your results and celebrate milestones
Keep track of how you are doing each week, and celebrate the smaller milestones that make up the larger resolutions as you achieve them.
If you fall, get back up
Resolutions often come undone at the first stumbling block. It’s important not to lose sight of the big picture. If you have a setback, don’t give up. Try to identify what caused the setback, readjust and get back on track. A resolution is a marathon, not a sprint.