It’s not exactly a secret that the majority New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within weeks, especially when it comes to health. Whether it’s a complicated new diet or going cold turkey on one of your favourite vices, an abrupt lifestyle change is a very difficult thing to stick to. A much better idea is to introduce healthy changes which are small and manageable; ones which you can implement and maintain permanently, rather than overcommitting yourself in a flurry of New Year enthusiasm.
With that in mind, we’ve thought up a few health-related resolutions that are a bit different to the usual fad diet, and are focused on making you a healthier person overall – if only a little.
Diet resolution: Go easy on the soft drinks
Whilst this may seem contradictory to the ‘small changes’ mentality, removing fizzy, sugary drinks from your diet is surprisingly easy to do , and it’s one of the biggest positive differences you can make. According to a 2014 survey, 35% of New Zealanders think they consume too many soft drinks anyway.
Sugary drinks contain lots of energy, but with neither the nutritional value nor the feeling of fullness and satisfaction which food gives you; there’s basically no benefit to drinking them beyond their sweet taste. If you’re feeling thirsty, the best possible way to hydrate is just drinking water. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to stop drinking milk, coffee, alcohol or other drinks – all of these are fine or even beneficial in moderation. But next time you’re out buying lunch, grab a drink of water instead of a coke: you’ll be surprised how little you’ll miss it.
Mental health resolution: Take some time to reflect
In our modern lives dominated by constant activity and connection, it’s becoming a rare thing to actually spend some time each day just thinking, rather than being in a constant state of ‘doing’. Try taking as little as ten minutes every evening to meditate, write a journal entry or just sit and think; It can do wonders for your peace of mind, as well as help you remember and clarify what you’re doing in life and why. Set aside some time at the end of every day to reflect, and see if it changes your outlook for the better.
Social and exercise resolution: take up a sport or activity
Every January, gyms around the country are filled with people starting their brand-new exercise regime, yet within a few months these resolutioners are mostly gone. Building good exercise habits is a difficult thing to do – here are five ways to get yourself motivated – and it’s a good idea to find an environment that makes it easier to stick to it.
There is no better way than taking part in organised sport. Whether it’s playing social touch, going hiking with some friends or joining a club, team environments do two main things: they’re a safe, helpful place which allows you to be unafraid of failure, and they hold you accountable for your contributions – you’re a lot less likely to skip training if your team expects you to be there!
Furthermore, team sports are fun, and a lot more enjoyable than going on long, lonely runs or sweaty solo gym sessions. Doing things as a team allows you to make new friends who share your interests and to have fun with your existing friends, all while building a healthier lifestyle. So go find a sport or activity you love to do and commit to it – you’ll reap the benefits in no time.