How to keep your health resolutions

Notepad with 2017 goals on a wooden table

Turn good intentions into actions with our top tips

Shout about your goals

According to Professor Wiseman, author of The Luck Factor, telling friends and family about your resolutions means that if you do fall off the wagon, they are there to put you back on track and offer support. Friends can reassure you that a carb-binge is just a temporary blip and not total failure. Finding a workout partner within your circle of friends can boost motivation, too.

Join an online community

Online communities, which give support to people making resolutions, can make a huge difference. Research by Brown University Medical School in the US showed that a structured online community programme, which gave users valuable feedback and access to discussion groups, meant the users lost three times as much weight in six months than those who surfed the web for weight-loss information. So find an online community to support you.

Keep a diary

Write down how you are doing. By keeping a journal, or completing a spreadsheet or graph, you are making your plans and progress concrete as well as giving yourself time to focus on your goals and achievements.

Think about the reasons behind your resolutions

Think about what your goal is and why. The Economic and Social Research Council found in a review that long lasting change is more likely to happen when it comes from positive thinking and is self-motivated, rather than inspired by guilt or fear. You have to be doing it for the right reasons.

Don't give up

The fact you didn’t stick to your resolutions to get fit and healthy last year doesn’t mean it won’t work this time. One scientific study found that smokers on average quit three or four times before managing to stop. It’s important not to dwell on these and think of them as failures. Instead, see them as an essential part of the route to your goal.

Start again... and again

In fact these 'failures' are signposts that illustrate that you need to change other elements of your life to become a non-smoker/slim/healthy person. If you didn’t succeed with your New Year’s Resolutions last year, keep the resolution, just change your path to help you get there.

How to fit it all in

The best resolutions will fail if they won’t fit in around your lifestyle. The school-run, work and other commitments are all important and it’s easy to see how a visit to the gym becomes ever lower on the priority list. Be realistic. Try to fit your exercise routine around your life. That might mean not going to the gym but instead cycling to work, or running back from the school run.

Enjoy it!

If you are not particularly competitive, don’t take up triathlons. If spending ages on your own with your thoughts is your idea of hell, don’t take up running. Whatever type of person you are there is a sport that suits your personality. Tennis is great for sociable types, swimming is perfect if you value time on your own.