New Year’s resolutions often reflect the aspects of our life we wish to improve. But making a number of resolutions can be ineffective and dilute our ability to keep them. Here are some tips on how to make resolutions that will offer the greatest health benefits.

Assess Your Intentions

List out all of the resolutions you would like to make. They might include learning to drive or to give up smoking. List everything that comes to mind that you would like to achieve. Once listed, go through your list and categorise each one to define whether it improves your body or mind. If potential resolutions do not fit in these categories discard them. As we all possess physical and mental health, the potential resolutions left are all relevant to your health. Now go through your list and prioritise which you believe will have the biggest impact on your health.

If you are unsure of the impact of any of them research it online. For example, cutting out fatty foods will decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. Taking dancing lessons with a partner will improve your physical health and promote better mental health, as well as strengthening your relationship.    

As exercise and diet are the biggest factors affecting our physical and mental health, consider what resolution you could make to improve these. The simple act of assessing your life could help you to realise where you can make improvements.

Make One Solid Resolution

Whether you promise yourself that you will make time to exercise every week or that you will quit smoking for good, it is best to make one resolution to stick to. That way success is more likely as you can focus your will and energy on upholding it, rather than trying to achieve many.

Eliminate the Negative, Accentuate the Positive  

Often people struggle with changing their habits, such as smoking cigarettes, because it is so embedded in their daily activities. Rather than phrasing your resolutions as negatives, such as ‘I will not smoke’ try to phrase them positively, such as ‘I will chew gum instead of smoking during my 11am break’. The sub-conscious responds better to affirmations than prohibitions. It can also help to write out your resolution and stick it on the wall to encourage you to succeed. Such visual reminders are prompts to success and studies show that merely by writing your intention you are more likely to achieve it.  

Be Specific

One of the difficulties of resolutions that help our health is that it is easy to generalise and be vague about what we want to achieve. Rather than telling yourself ‘I will exercise more’ be specific. State ‘I will do two exercise classes each week’ so you can hold yourself accountable to your intentions.

Whatever you hope to change in your life, the very act of assessing your living habits and conditions can help you to improve your health. For maximum success in resolutions it is advisable at the end of each month review your resolution to see how you are performing against it.  

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