10 Best New Years resolutions
30 December 2011, 09:47
It's getting to that time of year again. Reflection. Resolution. Disappointment. Many of us set ourselves up for failure every year by making super-ambitious, unrealistic New Year's resolutions. We trawled through all the wit and wisdom on Health24 regarding New Year's resolutions and came up with the 10 best.
They're not impossible to achieve. Most of them don't require complete lifestyle overhauls (OK – except the quit smoking one) – just a slightly new mindset:
1) I will value my partner. He/she is not just part of the furniture. Your partner (unless completely useless, in which case the question is what you're still doing there?) does stuff for you. Is there when you need support. Helps out in a crisis. Likes you when you don't feel very likeable. Loves you. Don't wait until this person is gone before you show your appreciation. And remember that nobody is perfect, not even you.
2) I will avoid fad diets. There's no quick fix for weight loss. You gained it slowly and you're not going to lose it fast, whatever the ads may say. Combining a balanced diet with exercise is the only real way to lose weight. Fad diets mess up your metabolism. Just don't go there.
3) I will stop smoking. This is a biggie. Despite all we know about the destructive impact of smoking, addicted smokers find it incredibly hard to quit. Make it your choice to be more healthy. And to smell better. And not to expose your kids to secondary smoke. Just think of all the money you'd save. Do whatever it takes – you really will be glad in the end, however impossible it seems right now.
4) I will listen to my body's stress signals. When things get too hectic, your body tells you. The warning signals include insomnia, heartburn, headaches, skin disorders, anxiety, depression and high blood pressure. Ignoring these is a bit like taking no notice of the grinding sound in your car engine before going on a 1 000km trip. And then being surprised if everything packs up. Learn to destress – exercise, yoga, therapy, me-time. It needs to go to the top of your list.
5) I will give my body what it needs. Your body needs healthy food to fuel it. It just doesn't run well on junk. It also needs five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, at least six glasses of water, high-fibre foods, enough protein, little fat and the odd treat. It also needs enough sleep, something - like exercise - that will get your heart rate up, and a commitment to safe sex. It's the only body you have, and will ever have. If you treat it well, it will treat you well.
6) I will take some me-time. We often do far too much for other people and far too little for ourselves. Set some me-time aside in which you nurture yourself in any way that works for you. And don't let anything interfere with it, unless there is a real crisis. It's not a real crisis if your child can't find her swimming costume, or your husband has burnt the mince.
7) I will take a 10-minute walk. Not everyone can commit to an endless gym regime, but everyone can go for a 10-minute walk every day. Even you. Researchers have found that it cuts your heart attack risk by as much as 50%. There's no better investment you can make towards your health and fitness.
8) I will spend time with energising people. Cut contact to a minimum with negative and difficult people who drain you. Rather spend your time with people who make you feel good and energised, and with whom you have interesting conversations. The most demanding people often leave you feeling depleted. Avoid them as far as you can.
9) I will not overwork. Overworking is a killer. The possibility of a promotion or extra income that all that overtime creates is simply not worth it. Meaningful time with your family, or with friends, or just with yourself, is more important than more money. Effective workers do what they need to do in the eight hours they're at work. If it means less shopping, fewer toys or more modest holidays, then it does. Don't become a victim of our consumer culture. It creates its own stresses.
10) Get help. Call the professionals when you need them. Whether it be a handyman, a therapist, a dietician, a fitness instructor, a marriage counsellor or a massage therapist. In the long run it always saves you pain or money to ask the people who really do know best.