How to keep to your healthy New Year resolutions

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

We’ve all done it. Made New Year’s resolutions and only managed to keep to them for a few weeks before reverting back to our old familiar yet less healthy routines.

According to a research study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, it takes anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit¹. This can vary widely depending on the behaviour, the person, and the circumstances.

So how can you keep to your new resolutions and change them into your new way of life? Here we look at the healthy new year resolutions that people often make and how you can fully implement them for the long-term.

Top tips for the most common healthy New Year’s resolutions


Exercise more

Become more active and you could boost not only your fitness but your mental wellbeing too. Try fun ideas to help you become more active and in better shape. Being physically active is easier than you think if you make activity part of your daily routine. For example, you could walk more. If you’re a busy mum you could walk your children to school, if you’re an office worker you could walk to work or get off the bus one stop earlier, and if you’re a pensioner you could walk around the house whilst chatting on the phone or arrange to go for walks with a friend.

Try and find an exercise that you enjoy. You’re far more likely to stick to it if you find it fun. If you exercise with friends they are likely to encourage you to continue and you won’t want to let them down.

You could always set yourself an achievable challenge, such as a 5k run in twelve weeks’ time, to spur you on.


Lose weight

This is always a popular resolution and to succeed you must be truly committed. Set yourself realistic and specific goals, aiming to lose around 0.5kg to 1kg a week (1lb to 2lb), until you achieve a healthy body mass index (BMI). But don’t expect overnight success.

Make realistic, long term healthy changes to your diet and look to increase your physical activity to achieve a steady weight loss. It might be that you: swap an unhealthy snack for a piece of fruit, find some easy, healthy and tasty recipes to incorporate into your diet each week, or you eat smaller portions.

You might find it useful to keep a food and activity chart to record your calories, exercise and weight loss. This will let you see how well you're doing at a glance. Put it somewhere you’ll see it, such as the fridge or a kitchen cupboard, and update it each day.Drink plenty of water. Often people confuse thirst with hunger and this can lead to extra calories being consumed when your body just needs a glass of water.


Eat more healthily

A nutritional and balanced diet can help you stay healthy. You may choose to eat healthier in general, such as swapping ready meals for more nutritional homemade versions, only having a take-away once a month, or trying to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day.

You can learn how many calories are in some of your favourite foods and compare them to some more healthy options. You may find it easier to plan your meals ahead so that you don’t make unhealthy choices when you’re hungry.

Most people don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables. They provide a vital source of vitamins, minerals and fibre as well as decreasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Try adding fruit to your breakfast, it’s a great start to the day, have fruit as snacks instead if a chocolate bar, and choose meals with plenty of vegetables in.


Spend more time on your personal wellbeing

Personal wellbeing can mean many things to different people. It could mean spending more time with or chatting to your family or friends, planning a trip away, leaving work on-time or having a better work-life balance, or arranging to have some ‘me time’ out of your full-on agenda.

Whatever you choose, it needs to be achievable. Make sure you plan it into your week, so that you can look forward to it. Have a regular time slot when you ring your friends, or perhaps meditate. If you need to stay late in the office one day, take the time back to balance your wellbeing.


Drink less alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can cause a number of adverse outcomes on your health. It can cause you to put on weight as it is often high in calories and drinking to excess is often coupled with eating more, and less nutritional, foods.

Drinking alcohol can also increase your risk of depression and memory loss. Chronic heavy drinking boosts your risk of liver and heart disease, hypertension, stroke, mental deterioration, and cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, and breast.

So, reduce your alcohol intake by reducing the days and volume you drink alcohol. Perhaps only drink one day of the week, for example on a Saturday night, and don’t drink to excess. Choose to drive on more occasions so you won’t be tempted to drink alcohol. Take up some other activities, such as a new sport, that will distract you from the fact that you are not drinking. Arrange a movie night or social events that do not involve drinking alcohol. Join a new club such as a book club. Don’t buy alcohol to drink at home. Instead stock up on alternative non-alcoholic options.


Stop smoking

Stopping smoking will provide many health benefits including: breathing easier, having more energy, better sex and improved fertility, younger looking skin, living longer and reducing your risk of smoking-related diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. You may need to try different methods to find the best one for you.

Think of the money you’ll save. If you smoke a packet a day, you could save around £250 each month! Plan what you will do with this extra money to help incentivise yourself.

References ¹

Register your interest to hear from us