IT’S that time of year again – the time we all start vowing to make better choices next year and set our New Year’s resolutions.
But how many times have you told yourself you are going to quit smoking, or you are going to drink less and exercise more?
How often have you got half way, or even less, through the year and just given up altogether?
But don’t fear, this year Dr Pixie McKenna from Embarrassing Bodies has shared her eight tips to sticking to your New Year’s resolutions.
“I think we’re all very reflective at Christmas time coming in to the New Year,” she said.
“We see a lot of patients who have had over the dinner table conversations and now want to get things checked out, and come in for advice for anything from how to give up smoking, or how to get rid of a mole they have been meaning to all year.
“It’s also a time where we take stock.
“We’re all so busy that often we don’t stop and think about things, but a lot of people slow down over the festive break, spend more time with family and friends, and reflect on things they want to change.
“One of the key pieces of advice I can give people who want to change things, or give something up, is to enlist someone to help you.
“You’ve got to be motivated to stick to New Year’s resolutions – if you’re not motivated, it will never work.
“If you can’t find that motivation from yourself, or find your motivation dwindling, you can often find it in others.”
1. Be prepared
It is one thing to say you are going to do something, but it is another to actually do it.
“Once you’ve made your plan, make sure you get your surroundings ready to make life easier for yourself,” Dr Pixie said.
“So, if your plan is to eat healthier, or cut down on alcohol make sure you are not surrounded by temptation.
“Be organised by getting in the things you do want to eat or drink, and getting rid of the things you don’t.”
2. Do it with a friend
As mentioned above, making a big change in your life is easier when you have the support of someone else doing it with you.
Dr Pixie, who is also a GP at Harley Street, said: “Whether that’s finding a friend, colleague or family member who shares the same goal as you or their own goals which you can support them with, set up a Whatsapp group to keep each other going.”
3. Record your success
If you have been doing really well at sticking to your goals it is important to note it down.
It will not only show you how far you have come but will provide motivation to keep going.
“It’s not only satisfying but also motivating to see where you have made progress, so keep a record of how well you are doing as you go along,” she added.
4. Be realistic about your goals
You may want to completely overhaul your lifestyle but sometimes that’s just too much to take on.
It is important that you aren’t overwhelmed by you resolutions before you have even started them.
“The average person can’t give up a lot of things at the same time,” Dr Pixie said.
“You need to be realistic.
“If it’s not realistic to start on the first day of the new year, then don’t.
“I never start by new years resolutions on January 1, I start on January 4 when I’m back in work.”
5. Reward yourself
If you have done well in achieving your goals don’t forget to reward yourself for it.
It doesn’t have to be a big reward, just something that shows you recognise how hard you have worked.
It will keep you on track to keep achieving.
“Give yourself rewards when you achieve milestones for your goal, and don’t feel guilty for doing so,” she added.
6. Don’t just do it for January
It is far too easy to make sure you are strictly following your resolutions for all of January, only to fall off the bandwagon when February rolls around.
But long-term changes take time and it is important not to lose sight of your end game.
Dr Pixie said: “See it as a way to make changes to your lifestyle in the long term.
“Rather than finding a short-term solution or extreme detoxes as these are harder to stick to.”
7. Don’t punish yourself if you have a bad day
Everybody slips up every now and then.
But there is no point punishing yourself for it because it will only make it harder for you to keep going with your goals.
“Don’t worry if you have a bad day, remember that every day is also a new day too,” Dr pixie said.
“If you fall off the wagon, don’t dwell on it, just get straight back on.”
8. Be competitive
If you can make your resolution more competitive to keep you motivated then go for it.
“Bringing in some competitive element to your new resolutions can be a good thing to keep you motivated, and make it fun,” she added.