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New Year’s Resolutions. Making Lasting Change.

Updated: Mar 25

new year's resolutions

It’s that time of year again, for some ‘holidays’ have already started in November and within a couple of weeks Christmas, the New Year and new year's resolutions are upon us. For many of us, this writer included, changing health - changing habits – living healthily - is an ongoing process.


The festive season and the Holidays are a time that we can plan ahead for, so that we can celebrate and avoid the excesses. And then that brings us to the New Year, a time when many make their resolutions. Resolve that lasts until about February, March or maybe even April. For some, especially from Asian communities, the festive season also includes Chinese (Lunar) New Year, all the way into mid to late January, extra weeks of excess.

 

Popular New Year’s Resolutions


Last year ‘revenge travel’ ranked highly, seemingly many have had their fill and are focusing on the old favourites:


  • “Get fit”

  • “Eat better”

  • “Lose weight”

  • “Reduce stress”

  • “Improve work-life balance”

  • “Enjoy better relationships, get in touch with old friends”


Of note, financial concerns, adding to stress, have been a more common theme this year than last. Especially in Singapore, where housing rental prices have risen so dramatically.

 

While the new year signals a fresh start, resolutions only provide a vague target. Articulating goals and focusing on what one wants to achieve turns the vision into an achievable target. This can spur us to take meaningful steps. Importantly those steps must match the deeper values that we hold and fit into our lifestyle and preferences. If not, the mismatch between goals and values, experience and want, often lead to failure.


  • Starting exercise is a common goal, and for many people it is really difficult for perfectly good reasons.

  • There is no point joining the gym if you don’t like the gym. Find exercise that you enjoy, experiment. Just getting some basic bodyweight exercise done is a great place to start; or try yoga, or pilates. Whatever takes your fancy.

  • Don’t try to run 5km if you cannot run for 5 minutes. Walking or walk-jogs are a better way to start running than diving straight in and risking injury, or just hating the process!

  • Most weight loss diets do not succeed, as there is no plan for when the goal is achieved. This can lead to yo-yo dieting weight gain. Often it can be more valuable to focus on healthy eating rather than caloric restriction, certainly at the outset.

Are we really willing to make change and how do we focus our efforts correctly?

Putting self-care into practice and taking the first steps is not easy. Nor is sticking to the plan, especially when the plan is often misaligned with your unique lifestyle and experiences. When it comes to health it is worthwhile to use the pillars of health as a basic checklist before delving deeper into evaluating and setting actual goals. This is where our consults and programmes support our clients’ own unique journeys to health.


Stay Healthy,


Alastair

 

Achieve your Health Goals


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Take the first step. Contact us to arrange an introductory call, to discuss how we can support your journey to health. We are based in Singapore and work with clients globally.


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Related Studies


Oscarsson M, Carlbring P, Andersson G, Rozental A. A large-scale experiment on New Year's resolutions: Approach-oriented goals are more successful than avoidance-oriented goals. PLoS One. 2020 Dec 9;15(12):e0234097. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0234097. PMID: 33296385; PMCID: PMC7725288.


Norcross JC, Mrykalo MS, Blagys MD. Auld lang syne: success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year's resolvers and nonresolvers. J Clin Psychol. 2002 Apr;58(4):397-405. doi: 10.1002/jclp.1151. PMID: 11920693.





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