Are your New Year’s resolutions already starting to fall by the wayside? Research shows that one of the most common reasons for giving up on resolutions is a failure to set realistic goals. Many of us spend the tolls of midnight declaring how we want to spend the next year ‘getting healthier’ or ‘finding happiness’ – but these goals are very broad and mean little on their own. If you really want to see a new you in 2015, you’ll need to get focused on some more tangible goals. Here’s our guide to achieving real change!
Change from the inside out
Vowing to eat better, healthier foods is up there among the most popular of the New Year’s resolutions every year. And it’s true that if you’re wanting to transform your life, putting the right things into your diet is a great way to start. A lot of people these days are picking up on the trend for intense ‘juice fasting’ regimes where they consume only juice for a number of days, but these can be dangerous and leave you feeling tired and lethargic. They’re also off-putting for many people that want to be healthier but feel that a full fast is a step too far. Instead, why not try to add more fruit and vegetables into your current diet? Stores like Argos stock fantastic juice machines that will transform any fruit and vegetable combination into a delicious nutritious juice – try and drink at least one of these a day and you’ll soon see and feel the difference. Look at what you can cut out of your diet too – try switching white bread for wholemeal or rye, and cutting out refined sugars and fats.
Learn something new
Always wanted to learn a new language, practice a martial art or develop a creative skill like knitting or painting? Now is the time to get started! The months of January and February are popular times for courses to start, so keep an eye out in your local paper to see what’s on offer. Your local college should also be able to give you a summary of any evening classes they offer. Learning a new skill is a great way to kick-start yourself into change: you’ll meet new people, step out of your regular routine and achieve something special into the bargain. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone either – challenge yourself to try something you’ve never even considered before. Don’t have the time in your schedule for regular classes? Have a look online. From learning to code to developing business and enterprise skills there are thousands of free courses to choose from online, and if you find something you really love you can go on to earn real qualifications in your spare time from institutes like the Open University.
Exercise is one of the most important things we can do if we want to be healthier and happier. Not only does regular exercise ward off health problems, help you lose weight and bust stress, it boosts your serotonin levels, which reduces the risk of disorders like anxiety and depression. Government guidelines recommend that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, combined with regular muscle-strengthening activities 2 days a week – which can seem a lot at first. The key is to make exercise something you enjoy rather than a chore. When cycling, why not choose a scenic track around a local park or use your bike to travel to a day out or evening event? Like swimming? Outdoor venues such as seaside beaches, rivers and lakes are fantastic in summer, and so much fun it won’t feel like exercise at all! For your muscle-building activities you can choose traditional exercises or lifting weights – but bear in mind there are plenty more to choose from. Everything from yoga and pilates to Zumba counts, so take some time to pick a regime that’s right for you.
Expand your horizons
One of the main catalysts for change is the feeling of being stuck in a rut or a routine that never changes. And while making changes to yourself can help alleviate these feelings, sometimes more drastic measures need to be taken. Feeling unhappy about your job? Speak to an independent careers advisor about what might be a better path for you. Unlucky in love? Get proactive about it! Online dating agencies have never been more popular, while every major city has several events designed to help singles meet and mingle. Bored and need a change? Why not travel and see the places you’ve always wanted to? International air fares are cheaper than ever before, and there are still plenty of places around the world where your money will go a lot further than you might think. Check sites like TripAdvisor for ideas on where to go and what to see.