With every New Year comes new resolutions.  Top of most people’s lists is to get fit, lose weight and become healthier.  January 1 starts with good intentions but old habits sneak in, usually by Australia Day.  So why is it so hard to follow through on those New Year resolutions and what achievable health goals should we be setting for the New Year?

Statistics show that only 8% of us actually achieve the goals we toasted to as the clock struck midnight on December 31. Quite often, we set big goals that are too vague to achieve and we often underestimate what we need to do to achieve them.  To stick to your New Year’s resolutions this year, do some preparation and follow our simple tips:

  1.  Set SMART goals (Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) to help maintain motivation.Ask yourself, what is it you want to achieve?How will you tell if you are on the way to reaching that goal?Is it realistic?Is what you want to achieve relevant?Define how long it will take.

2.  Write down your goal and each step or target you need to reach it.This makes your goal tangible, especially when you cross off each step from your list once achieved.

3.  Celebrate your achievements along the way.

4.  Be prepared, think about any barriers that may prevent you from achieving your goal and plan a work around.

Making simple lifestyle choices each day will help your reach the achievable goal of maintaining your health.   Here’s our list of simple lifestyle choices that will ensure you achieve the goal of a healthier new year:

Reduce stress

Stress is a common condition that affects your health significantly and occurs when an individual feels they are unable to cope under the pressure.  Stress can come from factors such as work, relationships, finances or loss.  Our bodies react to stress causing symptoms including; headaches, nausea, mood changes, difficulty concentrating, changes in weight and muscle pain.

It is important to recognise the signs of stress.  Make time in your day to do something you find relaxing, maintain a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise and talk to someone if life becomes too stressful.

Unplug

We are constantly exposed to screens whether it’s social media or watching television. Although technology adds convenience to our lives, some distance from it can be good for us.  Pause, put your phone down and give yourself a break. Instead, go for a walk, grab a coffee or workout. The more you unplug, the more charged you become.

Get more shut-eye

Sleep makes us feel better, more alert and energised. Poor sleep can contribute to long-term health problems such as obesity, diabetes and poor mental health. It is recommended that adults get 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night, whilst children, teenagers and young adults get at least 9 hours per night.

If you are sleep deprived, you may find it difficult to concentrate, feel fatigued, grumpy or drowsy and forget things easily.  Sleep deprived people often overeat to compensate, affecting weight loss efforts.  If you are concerned you aren’t getting enough sleep, chat with your local Ramsay Pharmacist who can assist in providing tips and treatment options.

Maintain a healthy diet

A well-balanced and nutritious diet improves quality of life and wards off chronic diseases. A diet should consist of vegetables, legumes, fruits, wholegrain cereals, reduced fat dairy products, fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds and protein.  Increasing your protein intake has been shown to keep you fuller for longer and increase the number of calories your body burns, helping with weight management.  We should limit alcohol intake, sugary drinks and drink plenty of water instead.   If you feel you may be deficient in vitamins or minerals, a supplement can often help.  Chat to your friendly Ramsay Pharmacist for advice.

Wear more sunscreen

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers. Be sure to wear an SPF 30+ sunscreen and re-apply every 2 hours, even in the winter months. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, sunglasses and hat. Find a shady spot under a tree, umbrella or marquee and look for shade when walking outside.

Move more

You may not feel like working out but there are so many benefits! It can assist you in controlling your weight, reducing risk of heart disease; improve your mental health and mood.  Exercising can also reduce the risk of some cancers; improve your sleep and more!

A recent study showed that older adults who performed aerobic exercise (the type where your heart really starts pumping and you break a sweat) for 30-60 minutes, three times a week over six months had significantly better cognition (thinking) and improved memory.  There is also some evidence to show that even a single exercise session can result in improved brain function in older people.  The main message is that any movement is good movement, and break a sweat if you can!

Make exercise a part of your routine by being active with friends and family.  Plan social activities that involve exercise or make simple swaps such as taking the stairs instead of a lift or parking further away from your destination.

Check in on your health

Keep on top of yearly health and dental appointments.  If diseases or chronic health issues are caught early, treatments are usually much more effective.  Before your appointment, make a list of questions you would like to ask if you have any particular health concerns.  Ramsay Pharmacy can assist you with blood pressure monitoring, vaccinations, weight management and more.

Check in on your medicines

Your Ramsay Pharmacist is your local medicines specialist – we work with medicines all day, every day!  If you are on several regular medicines, ask your Ramsay Pharmacist to review these medicines to make sure you are taking them correctly and to check for any potential problems you might not know about.

Quit smoking

We have saved the hardest til last but the health benefits far outweigh the difficulty.  Smoking is linked to multiple chronic diseases and within days of quitting, you will notice the positive effects of your decision.   Benefits include rediscovering smell and taste, reducing your risk of heart disease and healthier lungs as well as the added benefit of saving more money.  Speak to your local Ramsay Pharmacist for advice on quitting smoking.

To find your closest Ramsay Pharmacy, Click here for locations.

References

https://jeanhailes.org.au/news/the-power-of-change-creating-new-habits

https://sydney.edu.au/medicine-health/news-and-events/2019/01/15/5-new-years-health-resolutions-based-on-real-research.html

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/Blog/BlogCollectionPage/New-Years-resolutions

https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2016-01-07/new-years-goals-harder-to-stick-to-than-you-think/7066774

 https://jeanhailes.org.au/news/the-power-of-change-creating-new-habits

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5241294/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190826110409.htm