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Stick to your New Year’s resolutions with these easy tips

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Humans have been celebrating the New Year for at least 4000 thousand years, with various cultures honouring the tradition in their own ways, usually with feasts and revelry.

Some serve legume-based foods such as lentils, as these are considered to represent coins and thus a prosperous financial year ahead; in others, pork is served because pigs are seen as symbols of wealth; others attend celebrations involving fireworks, and one of the biggest New Year’s celebrations in the modern world is the famous giant ball drop at Times Square in New York, a tradition that is more than a century old.[1]

For many people, a new year signifies the time to start over, and this can take many forms. Some might be inclined to go out and buy a new motorbike; others might be a little more conservative in their new beginnings by simply taking out new vehicle insurance. New beginnings may also mean that you’d like to reshape yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.

If you’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution, you’ll know how hard it is to sustain that inspired and driven feeling that caused you to commit yourself to a new habit in the first place. Indeed, research suggests that only 8% of people ever achieve their New Year’s resolutions.[2]

If you want to be in that 8%, here are some ways to help you stick with some of the most common New Year’s resolutions[3]:

Eat healthier

For many people, the holidays are a time for over-indulging in food and alcohol. After all, you’ve worked hard all year, so you want to enjoy the precious time you’ve earned. But when the holidays are over and it’s back to reality, you vow to eat more veggies, drink less alcohol, cook at home more often, and get your eight glasses of water a day.

If you’re not sure how to eat healthily, you can visit a dietician. He or she will examine your weight, height, BMI, and body fat percentage, and take any health issues you have into account, and then create a meal plan designed just for you.

If you find it easier to design your own diet, you can check online to see what you need to do to get all the nutrients you need. But keep the following in mind:

  • For a diet to work, it needs to become a lifestyle. If you are serious about becoming healthier, be honest with yourself about the long-term commitment it will require from the get-go.
  • Don’t eat when you’re not hungry. It sounds so simple, but as you watch that moist cake soak up the sticky chocolate fondant that’s trickling down its side, suddenly your brain finds any excuse to just gobble it up.
  • Snacking is OK, but they need to be healthy snacks. If you need a pick-me-up in the late afternoon to make it through that last hour of work, reach for fruit or vegetable snacks, and save the chocolate bar for a reward moment.
  • Reward yourself. It’s fine to indulge occasionally, and this can even be good for you. It can take the pressure off and help you stay motivated to continue.

Quit smoking

We’ve known of the dangers of smoking for decades now, but close to one billion people still smoke.[4] If you’ve tried quitting before with little success, here are some tips to make it through those tough days and months:

  • Ask for help. Tell a few people whom you trust that you’re trying to quit. Ask them to hold you accountable by checking in with you every day, or every few hours if you need, and have them remind you why you’re quitting, because when a craving hits, it can be hard to remember why you wanted to stop in the first place.
  • Speak to your doctor. Your GP can prescribe a drug that will help reduce cravings.[5]
  • Don’t beat yourself up. If you succumb and have a cigarette, don’t let it stop you from picking yourself up and trying again. You’ve only failed if you give up entirely, not if you keep trying.

Exercise regularly

If you want to become a regular at the gym, here are some tips for staying on track:

  • Every little bit helps. Your exercise goals will depend largely on your age, gender, weight and health. But no matter what you want to achieve, every extra bit of exercise you get will help. If you normally take the elevator, take the stairs. When you visit your local grocery store, walk instead of driving there, and remember that carrying the groceries back can tone those arms as well as lifting weights. Still not convinced that these small changes can make a difference? Remember that you’re doing more than you were yesterday, and that’s always good.
  • Make your goal visual. If there is a fitness trainer whose body you like, put a picture up and look at it every day. But don’t let the media fool you into thinking that it was easy for that person to obtain that body. Many trainers exercise for a living, so they have many hours to spend in the gym each day. Use the picture to motivate you, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t look like that in three months. With patience and effort, you’ll get there.

Stop overspending

It’s easy to say, “I’m going to spend less and save more,” but it’s much harder to actually do it. The best way to change your spending habits is to keep track of your finances. Start off with a budget that includes your income and all of your expenses, no matter how small they are. Only then can you see where and how you need to make changes.  

  • Cut unnecessary expenses. This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a night out ever again or splash out on a fancy restaurant, but cutting back on luxuries is the best way to save. If you enjoy one night out every weekend, try cutting it down to two weekends a month. If you find yourself spending more than you intended to when you go out, draw out the money you’re comfortable spending and leave your bank cards at home.
  • Try to pay more than the monthly minimum on your debts. You’ll pay them off quicker, which will free up extra money sooner, allowing you to save.
  • Use debit orders to save. Put one on your cheque account to transfer an amount into your savings account each month. That way, the money will be out safely before you can even miss it.

Hopefully, these tips will make it easier for you to stick to your New Year’s resolutions so that this time next year, you can look back on your progress and feel proud of what you’ve done with your time.

At Dialdirect, we’re all about making your life easier. That’s why you can get car insurance quotes online in minutes, and you can manage your policy online anywhere, anytime.

The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.

[1] http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/new-years

[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years- resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/

[3] http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

[4] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/

[5] http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/guidetoquittingsmoking/guide-to-quitting-smoking-help-phys-rx-drugs