How to Keep a New Year's Resolution

Hello 2018! Are you the year when many of us will keep those self-development and other lofty goals we drag from one year to another with little success a reality? After a festive season of binge eating and drinking, it's easy to resolve to lose weight and get fit as the new year dawns — but all too often such desires quickly fizzle out amid the tectonic maelstrom of work and home life.

It doesn't, however, have to be that way. And if you consider this brief guide as a way to achieve your New Year's resolutions, by the end of 2018 you could be sitting by your Christmas tree with a deservedly smug look that says, "I did it!"

First off, let's take a look at the most common New Year's resolutions, and see where they fit in with what you want to do this new year. In a world where the peoples of most countries are drastically overweight and adverse to exercise, it's no surprise that many people are unhappy with their weight and overall health -- perhaps taking medications to treat weight-related conditions such as diabetes, and other pills. Let's be brutally honest: no one likes to be out of shape, or unfit and unhealthy, and if they're like that and tell you they like it, they're flat-out lying. So losing weight and doing exercise (or more of it) are habitually at the top of New Year's resolutions -- especially when our girths may have grown during the excesses of the holiday season.

It then follows, on New Year's resolutions lists, that many people want to eat better, by making more informed choices in the types of foods they buy in supermarkets and order in restaurants, so they will boost their health and feel much better. A trend in recent times is for people who may already eat healthy to turn to a vegan diet to take their health and fitness to a whole new level. Depending on what and where you read, veganism has exploded in the last few years to over 600% in the United States and 360% in Britain.

Other usual New Year's resolutions include learning a new skill or hobby — perhaps a language ahead of a trip abroad — and spending more time with friends and family. Many people attempt to kick-start their stop-smoking plan on January 1, while others want to drink less booze or even ditch it altogether in the first month of the year, with such initiatives as Dry January.

Whatever your New Year's resolutions, how to you keep them so you're not again moaning at year's end that your goals shrivvled and died in the opening days or weeks of 2018?

Tip No. 1: It’s not a marathon

Twelve months is a lot of living. All sorts of things can happen, and there are lots of stresses, disappointments and even despair along the way — all events that can quickly derail any New Year's resolution and see people reach for the bottle or cigarette in a supportive flash. The key is not to think of this year-long period as a marathon you have to endure, but to break it down into weekly or monthly blocks that are far more manageable. Say to yourself: "I will not aim to run for a year but on a weekly basis, and see how I feel." You will doubtless feel much better and want to continue. It's the same with healthy eating and cutting down on booze or quitting smoking. If it helps, use an app or draw up a weekly planner and tick off activities or goals on particular days of the week with a deserved sense of satisfaction as you go.

Tip No. 2: Early does it

If like many people at this time of year you're embarking on a new fitness regimen and either going to the gym, swimming pool or running on the roads, make it a habit to do it early in the day. It's simple, as we have more energy at the start of a new day and fewer issues to get bogged down in, such as work and family problems or general tiredness at the end of a day at the office that could totally put you off going to the gym. Working out early will fire you up for the rest of the day and have you running rings around your colleagues and family members.

Tip No. 3. Recognize that you'll falter

Look, we're all human and bound to trip up with whatever we do. Nothing is going to be 100% plain sailing and we will make many mistakes with any resolution or plan we devise. There will be dark days during 2018 when we don't want to work out, can't bear to eat another arugula salad and will run a mile from the prospect of spending any more time with family members — and that's fine. The key is to let it go for today and get back on that New Year's Resolution Wagon tomorrow. And don't forget to reward yourself when you do well, with an excursion, cheeky feast or a tipple or two on a Friday night — you deserve it!

Happy New Year and resolve to be a better you in 2018 — and keep it.

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