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Common reasons why healthy lifestyle resolutions fail, and how to avoid it.

Common reasons why healthy lifestyle resolutions fail, and how to avoid it.

It’s already February. Spring is just around the corner, and Christmas is becoming a distant memory. But did you know that 80% of new year’s resolutions have been unsuccessful by the start of February? The most common new year’s resolutions are related to healthy eating and exercise, which is why exercise equipment tends to appear in every shop as the clock strikes midnight on the 31st of December. What then, makes the difference between succeeding at maintaining your healthy eating and exercise regime and creating a lifestyle change as a result? Here is a list of common reasons why healthy eating and exercise-related new year’s resolutions may not be successful, and how you can make sure that yours are!

New Year’s Day is just a day, at the end of the day!

We put too much importance onto the beginning of the new year; a healthy lifestyle is something which we can adopt any time of the year! Placing extra significance onto New Year’s Day adds an unnecessary amount of pressure and an enhanced feeling of disappointment if we fail.

Changing how you look at your new year’s resolution can help you to view it as a new lifestyle change, rather than something short term. Reducing the pressure that can come with setting a new year’s resolution can help you to focus on the behaviour change that you’re looking for, and to stick to your new changes for life!

We don’t plan what we’ll do if we relapse

We don’t plan how to change a behaviour sustainably and how we will react to a potential relapse. When we haven’t been able to stick to our new behaviour, a relapse can be disheartening, and lead to abandoning the new lifestyle altogether. 

To reduce the impact of a relapse, you should try to keep goals gradual and achievable, making sure you don’t overstretch yourself, or make the new lifestyle change too invasive in normal life routines. You don’t have to run outside for 45-minutes solid every single day. Breaking the exercise down into 3 shorter 15-minute sessions means that you’re much less likely to get bored with what you’re doing.  The key consideration is to aim to start gradually and this could mean breaking down 30 minutes of activity into 10-minute chunks, if this were more manageable.  There are also incidental forms of exercise that you can start to use. If you’re given the choice between escalators and stairs, take the stairs.

Temptation is everywhere, and motivation can be difficult!

Temptation is all around at the beginning of the year. We’re naturally drawn to high-calorie comfort foods, and the weather alternates between freezing cold and seemingly endless rain. In an environment where others may not be following the same healthy choices as you, it adds an extra layer of difficulty to maintaining your own new year’s resolution.

To keep motivated, you could consider including your nearest and dearest in your new lifestyle. If you include others, then you can motivate each other, and reduce the temptations around you! 

We don’t know how to measure success.

Weight loss can slow or stop for any number of reasons. If you’re sticking to your healthy eating and exercise regime, then you can help yourself stay motivated by using measurements to show your progress. It’s important to look at where you were when you started, how much exercise you’re doing, which you can measure with pedometers or by time. Doing so may help you to stay on track, even if the scales aren’t going down as fast as you’d like!

What are the benefits?

Adopting an achievable healthy eating and exercise regime could have significant benefits for your health. Losing weight can help you reduce your risk of type two diabetes, feel less tired, minimise impact on your joints, and help reduce your blood pressure. Weight loss can also be beneficial for our mental health, boost self-esteem, as can eating healthy and exercising in general.

Keeping a new resolution going is difficult. Try not to think of it as a new year’s resolution but as a new positive lifestyle change for the long term. Using the motivation that helped you make a start, you can set up a detailed and achievable plan to help you make your weight loss goals a reality. If you can’t measure your progress, then try to set a goal around how you feel after exercise. As you get fitter, the exercise will feel easier, and you can begin to push yourself to the next level.

You can find some quick tips about exercise, as well as local activity centres and a handy BMI checker here: www.justbecroydon.org/be-active/

Quick tips about being food smart can be found here www.justbecroydon.org/be-food-smart/

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