Top Five New Year’s Resolutions and How to Keep Them

2012 raced through and before you know it, it’s 2013! Before you begin the arduous task of remembering to write “2013” in the date instead of 2012, there is the matter of New Year’s resolutions. This is an annual tradition that some are better at than others, but that’s not to say this year isn’t your year! Here are the top five most common resolutions courtesy of Time magazine, along with some handy tips on keeping them.

1.Lose weight and get fit. It’s at the top of the list for many after a silly season of delicious baking and baked ham. Gyms and fitness clubs know this, and take advantage by offering cheap deals. However often these annual memberships only get used for a month or so, which makes it a very expensive month at the gym.

How can I keep it? Get it out of the way! It should be your first activity of the day, and therefore you won’t be able to make any excuses after work such as being too tired, or having plans. Not only will you feel more energised for the rest of the day, studies indicate exercising right before sleeping can actually interfere with your sleeping patterns. Routine is also important. If you tell yourself these are the days you exercise and treat it as a given (and not an option), you are much more likely to keep to your new regime. Remember it takes about 66 days of regular exercise to form a habit.

2. Quit smoking. As more information emerges about the damage smoking does to our bodies, now is as good a time as any to quit the sticks. It takes a massive amount of willpower to overcome an addiction however, which is why only 15% of people who quit smoking are still cigarette-free six months later. It’s a surprising statistic, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t be one of the 15%!

How can I keep it? Luckily New Zealand has a whole range of free and low-cost support services available. Call Quitline or visit their website to find out the different options. It’s also a good idea to rally a support group of friends and family around you to help you quit. Also try and keep busy, anything that takes your mind off smoking is a bonus!

3. Learn something new. This is a very broad resolution, and so easier to keep that some of the others. The most common thing that holds people back from achieving this is time. However you don’t have to practice for hours become a professional at it, as long as you’re moving forward, you’re winning! Even half an hour a week is a great start to learning a new skill.

How can I keep it? Choose something you’re truly interested in! Don’t learn French just because you feel you should know another language, and don’t learn chess if it bores you silly. Do you scroll through Pinterest for hours at a time, but all the craft ideas are too much to handle? Why not focus on one area, such as knitting or painting. Don’t try and do it all at once! Trying to find time? If you are learning a language, why not get an audio CD and listen to it in the car while on the way to work? Want to expand your cooking skills but the kids are a handful? Incorporate them into your cooking lesson. You never know, they might just end up doing the cooking for dinner.

4. Eat healthier. This often goes hand-in-hand with resolution number 1, getting fit and losing weight. Especially when Christmas has just been with many lunches and dinners, all bursting with a bounty of food, it can be hard to remind yourself you can’t eat like that all the time.

How can I keep it? While there are fad diets a dime-a-dozen out there, you should remember there are no quick fixes. You should be aiming to create a healthy diet that you can you can adhere to for the rest of your life, while not feeling like you are constantly ‘missing out’. Don’t think of eating healthy as a ‘diet’, as this will just give a negative slant to your new, healthy eating plan. Try to incorporate more vegetable and fruit into your diet slowly while cutting out some sugar and fat. It will eventually become a habit and you won’t even notice the change.

5. Get out of debt and save money. Some of us can go overboard with the holiday season, and spend money on gifts, food, decorations and holidays that we can’t really afford. Unfortunately this follows us straight into the new year, but the good news is you can do something about it.

How can I keep it? There is plenty of good financial advice out there. A good government-run website is Sorted which has handy tips, facts, and financial calculators that will put you on the right path. Want to save? Why not create an automatic payment for each pay check, that diverts a set amount of money into a savings account. If this happens on the same day, you won’t even notice the money going out!

Bonus: Here is a great article by LifeHacker on forming good habits. A must read when keeping your resolutions. Click here to read.