New Year, New You?
Written by Soodeh Akhondan Bsc (Hons), Msc, Dietician
Setting New Year’s Resolutions
How often have you added ‘Get fit’, ’Lose weight’ or ’Join the gym’ to your New Year’s Resolution? And how often have you managed to achieve these goals? Research shows that despite good intentions, only a small percentage of people follow through and successfully achieve their resolutions – for physical health-related resolutions, 70% of people report failure (Oscarsson et al. 2017).
Ever wondered if setting New Year’s Resolutions is healthy? Worth it? New Year’s resolutions can have a positive impact on physical health by encouraging people to adopt healthier habits, such as exercising, eating more fruits and vegetables, and quitting smoking. Additionally, setting and achieving resolutions can boost self-esteem and increase feelings of control and confidence, which can lead to improved mental health and well-being.
So how can I stick to my New Year’s Resolutions?
First, not all goals are equal. Evidence shows establishing new goals can prove more successful than breaking bad habits, leading to a 59% success rate compared to avoidance-oriented goals, which only lead to a 47% success rate after 1 year (Oscarsson et al. 2020). In addition, the more established the bad habit, the harder it is to break that routine (Kirshner, 2013). So, if you want to quit smoking after being a smoker for 30 years it will be a lot more difficult than if you had only been smoking for a few months – difficult but not impossible!
It is important to remember that making and keeping resolutions can be difficult and that slip-ups can be expected. The key is to stay focused on the goal and to persevere.
Tips on how to achieve your goals
To achieve your 2023 goal, there are several recommended methods that can be followed.
- Don’t trip up on the first hurdle – the first key step is to turn your intentions into action and start your journey to achieving your goal (McManus, 2004).
- Approach your resolutions is in a specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely (S.M.A.R.T) manner. For example, instead of setting a New Year’s resolution to “start exercising” instead set a specific goal e.g., do 30 minutes of cardio at the gym at least once a week.
- Break down your goals into smaller parts – evidence shows that having subordinate goals alongside your overarching goal increases the likelihood of you achieving your goals long-term (Hochi et al. 2019).
- Take a holistic approach – the likelihood of achieving resolutions successfully increases when a holistic plan is devised that includes monitoring and reviews at regular intervals (Harkin et al. 2016).
- Adapt and adjust over time – Consider altering your goals over time to changes in your lifestyle whether that be mood, stress, holidays, working hours, scheduling, finances, motivation levels or anything else. Regularly reviewing and altering how you achieve your goal will make it easier to achieve milestones and see real results.
Uniquely Health can help you prioritise your 2023 health goals and develop a plan that works for you to make achieving that goal more likely and sustainable.
How Uniquely Health can help you achieve your goals
Uniquely Health provides a holistic and multidisciplinary approach personalised to you, your needs and your lifestyle. Our dedicated team includes access to a GP, Dietician and Sports Scientist who will be part of your personal support team, to help identify achievable changes to reach your goal packaged into a personal wellness plan. Not only will the Uniquely Health clinical team guide you through your wellness plan but will also provide you with continued support in each area through reviewing and monitoring your progress and adjusting your plan so you can reach each milestone in a way that works for you. With genetic and blood testing we can understand your body and what action will work for you as well as providing you with monitoring devices to keep track of your health from the comfort of your own home. Our approach is unique to you, supporting you to reach your goals in an achievable, sustainable, and realistic way.
Want to know more? Book your free exploratory call with the Uniquely Health team.
Harkin, B., Webb, T.L., Chang, B.P., Prestwich, A., Conner, M., Kellar, I., Benn, Y. and Sheeran, P., 2016. Does monitoring goal progress promote goal attainment? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence. Psychological bulletin, 142(2), p.198.
Höchli, B., Brügger, A. and Messner, C. (2020), Making New Year’s Resolutions that Stick: Exploring how Superordinate and Subordinate Goals Motivate Goal Pursuit. Appl Psychol Health Well-Being, 12: 30-52.
Oscarsson, M., Rozental, A., Andersson, G. and Carlbring, P., 2017. New Year’s resolutions: A large scale randomized controlled trial. In 9th Swedish Congress on Internet Interventions (SWEsrii), Linköping, Sweden, November 3, 2017 (pp. 11-11).
Oscarsson, M., Carlbring, P., Andersson, G. and Rozental, A., 2020. A large-scale experiment on New Year’s resolutions: Approach-oriented goals are more successful than avoidance-oriented goals. Plos one, 15(12), p.e0234097.