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Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

By Dr Sagar Patel (General Practioner)

Are you setting a new year’s resolution for 2020? 

It’s that time of year again when many of us make a commitment to ourselves and set goals for the year ahead. General Practitioner Dr Sagar Patel offers his thoughts on new year’s resolutions, their benefits, some challenges and a few tips on how to try to maintain them through the year.  

We all recognise that there are areas in our life we can improve upon, as well as having aspirations and goals we want to reach one day. A new year gives you a clean slate to refocus your attention on these goals. However, it’s important we try and keep our resolutions and setting overly ambitious targets on day one can set you up to fail. A focus on small, achievable targets gives you the best chance for a long term lifestyle change that you will both enjoy and keep up.  

A lifestyle change can have enormous benefits on both your physical and mental health and any change, however small is a great achievement and one to be applauded. 

Here are Dr Sagar Patel’s top tips for keeping your resolutions this year: 

  • Be specific – have a clear change in mind rather than a general aim such as ‘getting fitter’. It will allow you to focus, remember and meet your resolution. 
  • Start with small changes – resolutions can be adapted through the year! Start with small steps and then build from there over time. 
  • Know yourself and choose activities or changes you think you will enjoy. It will help you keep them! 
  • Tell everyone! If your friends and family know about your resolution, they can support and prompt you over time and you’re more likely to keep it up. 
  • 12 resolutions instead of 1? What about setting 12 small changes, one for each month? This is a fun way of challenging yourself with focused resolutions over a set time frame.  
  • Find a partner. If you plan on starting a new sport this year or targeting a race in the summer, find a training partner so you can push each other along and make it all the more fun. 
  • Be realistic – we all know how hard a resolution is, so be fair to yourself and your needs. For example, if cutting out alcohol for the year is never going to work, perhaps cut down on weekday drinking, allowing you to improve your health while still maintaining your enjoyment of certain activities. 
  • Think about your mental health as well. A new year is a great time to think about some of the neglected areas of our life beyond our physical health. Remember the importance of mental well being and don’t be afraid to seek help or advice and make a positive change.  Meditating, learning about mindfulness and improving your sleep hygiene are some simple ways of improving your overall health. 

Good luck for 2020.