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How to succeed in your New Year's resolutions 2024…

The New Year 2024 is coming.

Now is the time to get your goals in place.

New Year’s Resolutions are notorious for being broken. And when we think about it, it’s easy to see why. Say for example a New Year goal is to start a diet. Or to cut junk food. Or to cut sweets and chocolate. Or to do dry January. Ok, so the tendency may be to overindulge during the festive season, and view that some magical epiphany will occur on the 1st Jan that will transform our thinking, habits and psychology.

Unsurprisingly, this magical epiphany doesn’t happen and very often the resolutions are broken.

So how do people succeed? What’s the best way to approach your goals for the New Year and to stand the best chance of living by them?

I have listed some of my top tips below:

1)Think gains not losses. I don’t just mean in a weight training sense (although that may be your goal in itself), I mean in a general sense. We are more likely to stick with new habits if we think about them in terms of the benefits we are gaining rather than what we are losing. So take the gains mindset. If I take more exercise in the New Year, I will gain better mental health, better sleep, better ability to function in my job, better cardiovascular fitness. Think extra not less. Count the blessings not the losses.

2)Find things you enjoy doing! If you really think about things you would enjoy doing, and aim to start doing these things, there is a higher chance you will stick to the changes. Ever fancied trying boxing? Ballet? Wild Swimming? Circus skills? Aquarobics? Golf? Or perhaps you used to play netball, football, rounders, cricket and would like to start again. There are adult classes available across the UK, and some will allow you to try out for free. Take a friend with you. Make a vow to try new things and actually schedule them in to your diary.

3) Plan ahead. Now is the time to set the goals. If you need more time to plan which means that you can’t begin your lifestyle change until mid-January: so what? It’s better to begin and continue that to begin and stop just to meet some arbitrary traditional deadline.

4) Seek advice. This is important. If you are planning to start an exercise regime and you have not exercised for a while (or ever), have any known underlying health conditions, have high blood pressure, are over 60, have high BMI (body mass index) and waist to hip ratio etc you might need approval from a GP to begin exercise. If you are able to have these conversations with your health provider in advance, it will mean that you can start an exercise programme in a timely manner, or be referred to someone who is qualified to work with you. This is the same for any drastic change of diet: please consult with a healthcare professional before you begin. If you are planning to cut out alcohol and you are a heavy regular drinker it could actually be really dangerous, even fatal to suddenly stop. Make sure you have taken medical advice and that you have psychological support in place (more on this later).

5) What will my new lifestyle look like day to day? This is such an important point to consider and one that is often overlooked. How will I make my resolutions work on a daily basis? What when I am tired, stressed? What when life gets in the way? What if I need to eat out or go to a party? What if I am hormonal? What if at some point I can’t afford my new lifestyle due to the cost of living? I feel it’s crucial to create what I am going to call a “safety plan”. It can be in your head or on paper. It can be short, it can be long. Use it as a way to figure out how you will incorporate your new lifestyle into your existing one. Because the challenges that you have in your life now, and those that are to come, will not magically disappear on 1st Jan.

6) Psychological capacity to cope with lifestyle change. Are you psychologically prepared for the changes in your life? Are some of the things you are planning to give up actually coping mechanisms / emotional crutches? And if so, how will you replace those or cope without them. It’s important to consider what informs your current life choices. It may be that you need to embark on a course of therapy alongside your lifestyle changes. Or perhaps you need to embark on the therapy before attempting to change your mechanisms. We are all marked by our life experiences and we all need to get the right support.

7) Make your goals SMART. This is vital. Give yourself some direction and plan to hold yourself to account. S= specific M=measurable A= achievable R= realistic T= time-measured. Work out a specific goal, for example, you might wish to enter a 5km run by Easter. Give yourself monthly goals to reach, break it down to smaller distance targets. See what you are able to do to begin with and take it from there. If you are new to running, begin with a walk of 1km. Then, when you can walk 1km, take it to a mix of walking and jogging. Take it to 2km, a mix of walking and jogging. Etc. Measure this in terms of weeks, and how many times a week you will exercise. This will help you to establish whether it’s realistic to reach 5km by Easter. This brings us to the Achievable and Realistic part. Can it be done? Is it realistic for you? If you factor in any barriers and obstacles that you might face , is it reachable in the given Timeframe? And if not, go back to the drawing board and work out what is. You will need to review and adjust your goals as you go along, nothing needs to be set in stone. Who knows, you might be able to achieve 6km by Easter?

8) Enlist help. This could be in the form of a friend or a fitness professional. Someone to hold you to account. Someone who will bring out the best in you and who won’t allow you to make excuses. Someone who wants the best for you and wants you to reach your goals. Please note though, someone cannot help you achieve without the necessary commitment and effort from yourself. Fitness professionals and gym memberships are not magic bullets. They can be a costly waste of time if you aren’t able to do the work.

As a qualified personal trainer, with a specialism in women's health, I can help you to create a sustainable and realistic lifestyle fitness plan, taking into account the time that you have available, and the things that you enjoy doing.

Why not contact me to arrange a free explorer call, where we can discuss your needs, goals, and how I can support you to make lasting changes in your life.

Best wishes


Please add your own tips in the comments section. I would love to know what works for you ⬇️⬇️

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