An alternative to New Year’s Resolutions

Unless you lock yourself away with a book today, you can’t escape the messages about New Year’s Resolutions, New Year New You, this diet, that programme. It’s clear that the indulgent period of Christmas is over and now is the time to make healthy changes that will see your dreams come true.

But, according to a research study by the University of Scranton, only 8 percent of people achieve their new year’s goals, and most have given up by March. Whilst there are many blogs available with lists of alternatives to new year’s resolutions, I would like to give you just one idea, the approach that I use to tweak my behaviour.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions

I’m not planning to run a marathon, lose two stone, be on the cover of Women’s Health magazine, speak to each of my friends every week, exercise every day, never go out in clothes that haven’t been ironed, write a book or give up booze completely. I might like to do all of these things, but it’s not realistic, especially if I set off working on them all on 1 January.

Tweaking behaviour

So, I don’t make new year’s resolutions, but rather I watch and tweak my behaviour. After a few days away from my every day life, I have a clear head and able to pay more attention to the behaviours I exhibit each day, and the decisions I make.

Decisions, decisions

Every day we make thousands of decisions: Shall I put the bins out tonight or leave it until the morning? Will I order a latte or have a green tea? Will I give the dog two walks today, or see if I can get away with just one? Shall I clean the bathroom or hope my flatmate will do it? Shall I eat that cake, or simply just pass? The list goes on…

But, what if every time you are faced with a decision, no matter how small, you took a moment to consider which action would best serve you? Some examples could be:

  1. Instead of reaching for your morning sugary cereal that you do on auto-pilot, you instead made yourself a green smoothie.
  2. Rather than slump down in front of the TV ready to binge watch a box set, you only watch one episode and spend the next 40 minutes working out, or following a yoga programme on an app.
  3. Instead of playing Candy Crush on your phone, you called a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while, and arranged a date to meet up.
  4. How about passing on that glass of wine, and it’s follow up glass and instead read through some healthy recipe books, and plan a couple of healthy meals for the week.
  5. Before you go to complain about someone, think about what’s good about them and mention that instead.
  6. Give up scrolling through Facebook and Instagram tonight, and instead batch cook some healthy soups for the freezer and make some energy balls for snack-attack moments.

Get off auto-pilot

These are just a few examples, but you get the idea. If you just stop, and think about the action you’re about to take on auto-pilot, you may find a better way of spending that time, or approaching that situation that will ultimately serve you better. And, all of these small actions, over time, will add up and you will achieve much more than hitting that big list at the beginning of the year.

I wish you a very happy new year, filled with happiness and health.