How to make your New Year's resolutions last
Our five top tips to turn your New Year's resolutions into long-term healthy changes.
Whether it is a new workout routine, eating more healthily, or crossing a few things off your bucket list, January has long been the time that many of us make resolutions for the year ahead. But how long do they last?
While motivation levels may be high at the beginning of the year, many of us find motivation dwindles as the weeks pass. Most of us scrap our New Year's goals by the end of February. So what is going on? And can you ever make a New Year's resolution stick?
Here at Medichecks, we thought it would be the perfect time to share our top tips for making resolutions a long-term change because the healthiest changes that you can make are the ones that are sustainable for the long term.
Following our five top tips for healthier New Year's resolutions will help you to keep motivated and make your 2024 resolutions a long-term success!
- Visualise your goals
- Talk to friends and family
- Allow for time off
- Create a successful environment
- Track and monitor your progress
How to make your New Year's resolutions stick
1. Visualise your goals
Writing down your goals helps to visualise them. Do this in whatever way works best for you - it might be that you prefer to make a list somewhere that you can see daily or create a mood board of photos to keep you on track.
Capture your inspirations and what you want to achieve. You can then plan what you need to do to do. For instance, your goal might be to take part in a triathlon. You will need to think about when you'll train, where you'll compete, what equipment you'll need etc. Try to break it down as much as possible into manageable chunks and create the least amount of friction possible to achieve your goal (i.e., make it as easy as possible).
Think about what you need to do to achieve your goal, when you'll do this (I'll start swimming on a Sunday morning), where you'll go, how you're going to do it (I can get a membership), and who you need to be able to achieve it (for example, someone to go with or someone to look after the children whilst you go).
Without a step-by-step plan, goals can be overwhelming. As you accomplish achievements, tick them off or mark them with a small celebration to help you stay on track, focused, and positive.
2. Talk to friends and family
Family and friends can help keep you on track and help you stick to your resolutions. Although sharing your goals with people around you can be somewhat daunting, vocalising your plans increases your odds of success.
Letting people know your resolutions may inspire others. You may bag yourself a gym buddy or a friend who wishes to follow in your footsteps. Have you also noticed that it's easier to break a promise to yourself but much harder to break a promise to a friend?
Being open about your goals will also help in your planning stage. Your partner will then be able to understand why you need time every week to train and you can talk through anything else that needs to change to keep you on track. This will also allow you to listen and see if they've been thinking about any resolutions that they'd like to take up too.
3. Allow for time off
Understand right at the beginning that you're going to have a break. Whether it's planned or not, there will be times when you won't want to train or eat well.
You will miss a workout or eat more sweet treats than you planned, but this doesn’t mean you’ve completely failed and should give up. Allowing for time off helps you to think about realistic goals. The most valuable goals are the ones that you can keep up. It isn't realistic to work out every day of the week for the long term, so don't set yourself up to fail. It's about little, manageable habits and changes that will stick.
Allow for time off. Set realistic targets. And if something doesn't go to plan, reevaluate it and learn from it, but don't give up. It may be that you need to tweak your plan. For example, you may have thought you'd be able to work after work on a Thursday but you're finding that you're too tired, so you change it to a Monday when you have more energy. But don't chuck the whole plan out of the window.
4. Create a successful environment
Good habits are easier to build if they fit into your life. Create an environment where sticking to your goals is as easy as possible.
This point sums up the preceding three steps. If you've got clear goals and thought about how you're going to achieve them, have rallied support from people around you, and are being realistic, then you're well on your way to creating this successful environment.
The second part of this step is to set some of those action points into motion. This action could be taking ultra-processed foods out of your shopping basket, digging out your workout clothes, or signing up to a weekly running group.
5. Track and monitor your progress
If you are looking to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle in the new year, being able to track and monitor your progress can help you see how your efforts are affecting your health.
You can track and monitor your health in many ways, including:
- Taking external body measurements (BMI, waist circumference)
- Taking a blood test (such as a Sports Performance or Nutrition test)
- Completing an event (a couch to 5K or a British Triathlon event)
- Tracking how much you can lift, how fast you can go, or how frequently you work out (think about sustainability here)
- Increasing the variety of fresh or whole foods you eat
Blood tests can help you understand your baseline before you embark on a new health journey and give you a clear picture of your current state of health. This can help you to plan. For instance, if you learn that you are at an increased risk of a lifestyle-related condition then you can plan steps to reduce this risk. Testing again (either in line with the doctor's recommendations for an out-of-range result or annually) will help you monitor your efforts.
Seeing improvements to markers like cholesterol and blood sugar can encourage you to encourage you to adopt these changes long-term as part of a healthy lifestyle - and not as just a one-off fitness kick.
Read more in our next blog as we explain how blood testing can help you achieve your 2024 goals or head straight to our test finder.