Where England goes, Jersey often follows. Public Health England says that too many adults are overweight, drink too much or get too little exercise. Reasons for this include many forms of stress, an obesogenic environment, poor information and not recognising what healthy bodies look like.
Let’s assume then, like many, you want to get healthier this year and you have already made your resolutions two days ago. It may be time to revisit them already! Cheerful and well-meaning New Year’s lists of ‘I will stop eating cakes, only drink at the weekends, go to the gym thrice weekly’ and similar can engender a warm, determined feeling when they are made… but tend to fail. Why?
For those of you who don’t like to multi-task, the first main reason may be good news: we do much better when dealing with one resolution at a time than we do with multi, concurrent ambitions. The second main reason is type of motivation: for most people the fear of pain/illness is a far greater motivator for change than the desire for pleasure.
What to do? Here are some top tips for your 2017 New Year’s resolutions.
Use chunking to make your goals achievable. If you’re sedentary and want to run a marathon in the autumn, rather than facing the yawning chasm between where you are now and needing to run 26.2 miles, you’re better off getting a pedometer, aiming to add a hundred or more steps a day until you’re fit enough to jog 100m, and building up from there.
Focus on single resolutions. If you have made 10 resolutions for 2017, pick one and put your effort into that. When it becomes second nature, pick the next one. You might find sorting one thing (eating real food, for example) may sort out other things anyway (such as losing weight and gaining energy).
Harness the pain. For example, acknowledging the fear of getting type 2 diabetes (or making existing diabetes problems worse) will probably be a far more powerful message to stop your hand straying to the daily junk food temptations than thinking warm thoughts of ‘I’ll get back in my jeans by summer’.
Finally, get a buddy. Being accountable can make all the difference. That buddy can be a diary, a personal trainer, or a friend you’ve agreed to progress with: you’re more likely to keep on track.
Here’s to your successful resolutions!