With the new year come thoughts of resolutions and goals to achieve. So, start 2020 the right way and think afresh and focus on making positive changes.
Top of the list for new year resolutions has to go to the mantra of ‘lose weight’ and ‘stop smoking’; but whatever your new year resolutions, the key is to make your goals achievable, otherwise they will ultimately fail before you even get started.
So, whatever your aspirations, whether it’s to get fit, try a new hobby or make that move, take time to think about what you can do to make a change.
Get fit and healthy
Changing your appearance can often help build confidence, whether it’s just a fresh new haircut or something more drastic like shedding some pounds. Of course, this can’t happen overnight, so if getting fit and losing weight is a goal, think about how you can achieve this. Are you going to join a gym or start walking the school run or to work? Planning in exercise to your routine will help ensure that you stick with your new plan.
And why not organise a group activity to encourage you to stay committed? A study by the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine suggests that exercising with a group makes people feel physically and mentally better than if they were working out alone: “The communal benefits of coming together with friends and colleagues, and doing something difficult, while encouraging one another, pays dividends beyond exercising alone,” says lead researcher Dr. Dayna Yorks. “The findings support the concept of a mental, physical and emotional approach to health that is necessary.
In fact, researchers discovered that working out in a group actually lowers stress by 26 percent while significantly improving quality of life.
Advice from the NHS says that those aged 19-64 should aim to be active every day and do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week – as well as strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles, such as legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.
According to the Office of National Statistics, 14.7% of people aged 18 years and above in the UK smoked cigarettes in 2018. This equates to approximately 7.2 million people in the population; and is a decline of more than five percentage points since 2011.
Before quitting, it’s important to ensure that you actually want to quit and remind yourself why, each day. Taking a more positive approach will encourage you to keep going – whether you want to quit straight away, or by naturally cutting down on your usage.
There’s also support available from your local stop smoking service – www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Stop-smoking-services/LocationSearch/1846. Data shows that you’re up to four times more likely to successfully quit smoking with their expert help and advice. You can also call the NHS Smokefree helpline on 0300 123 1044.
Try something different
Taking up yoga can be a great way to kickstart your new year with a focus on positive energy, and there are plenty of free tutorials online. Take in your surroundings by walking a little slower and appreciate what is going on around you, rather than rushing through each day. However, it doesn’t all have to be about changing habits; just trying different things can help with taking time out and having some ‘me time’. Keep your life positive and aim to be thankful for at least one thing every day – even if it may seem like a small thing, such as a hug from a loved one.
Focus on what you want
If making new resolutions are not for you, why not write a list of things you want to accomplish throughout the year? These can range from learning to play a new instrument, to donating blood. And if your 2019 wasn’t as great as you were hoping, look back, reflect and think why? You may find that 2020 could be a great time for a career change, starting a family, going on an adventure or finding your dream home. It’s all about what makes you happy and how you can achieve it!
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