26 January 2017
As the New Year comes around lots of us think about kick-starting a health regime with a resolution or two, but they can be difficult to maintain throughout the year. A recent Bupa survey showed that half of all respondents had made resolutions to get fit and healthy, lose weight, exercise more or give up smoking, but most people quit their resolution before the end of January!
So what’s the best way to keep on track? Dr Steven Luttrell, Bupa Cromwell Hospital’s Interim Director, has some tips....
Why are resolutions so challenging?
‘It can be really tough to implement change, especially as we all lead busy lives and juggle numerous work/family commitments. People often set huge goals which are overwhelming and unachievable. It's much better to set small targets which are easier to sustain, and have realistic expectations about what you can incorporate into your existing lifestyle.
How can you succeed?
If you set yourself a small goal, for example going for a five minute walk 2-3 times a week, you'll find it much easier to build that into your routine. Once this routine is established you can then build on it; going for a walk 4-5 times a week or upping it to ten minutes. By starting small you'll reach key milestones which will help build your confidence.
It's natural to make excuses to avoid our resolutions - "it's too cold to out go for a walk" or "I've had a bad day at work" - so give yourself prompts. Make sure your trainers are visible and set aside 15 minutes for exercise before you start making dinner or doing the housework. You'll probably feel better from the fresh air, and a quick walk is a great way to unwind after work.
If you're keen to make a lasting change, let your family and friends know what you want to accomplish. If you're struggling, their encouragement can give you a real boost to help keep you motivated.
What if I break my resolution?
We're all on a journey to improve our health and wellbeing, and there are no set time frames, so keep your end goal in mind, and you'll start to feel the health benefits after a short period.
Focus on your achievements, however small they may be. If you’re looking to lose weight for example, be committed to your end goal but celebrate little wins along the way (a couple of pounds lost for example) in order to stay motivated.
Finally, make the most of your phone - there are countless apps to help manage your diet, get active or improve your sleep quality, so why not give them a try!’
If you're interested to know why we struggle with change and the science behind it, why not listen to a Bupa webinar on this topic.