2019 Resolutions?

What will you be doing in January – Veganuary? Dry January? Will you be making some new years resolutions and trying to stick to them? ‘Will they include ‘starting a fresh or ‘positive healthy changes’?. . But should we be thinking in terms of ‘resolutions’? What is the actual definition of a resolution? On looking this up it is defined as ‘a firm decision to do or not to do something’.

This seems very final. Very strict even. There isn’t a lot of room for movement. You resolve to give up chocolate. You have a sneaky chocolate from the box in the staff room at work. You have wavered and failed at your resolution. You’ve done what you said you wouldn’t. This can be very disheartening and often as human beings we do tend to see the negative in a world of positive. Often the easiest thing to do is to give up. Well you’ve failed so may as well continue failing!!

Going cold turkey is a tricky thing to do without a slow, staged response. Firm resolutions can be easily broken. Often we do seem to go for the all or nothing approach. Giving up something for a month and then going back to your old ways, this is not teaching you healthier ways!

Short lived resolutions

Dry January is something I do not entirely agree with. Many of us tend to drink more than normal over the festive period and in general alcohol consumption and binge drinking are high in the U.K. The Health and Social Care Information Centre published statistics on alcohol in 2016. Fifty-eight per cent of the population had an alcoholic drink in the previous week and 2.5 million people drink more than the recommended units on their heaviest drinking day. So, instead of vowing to cut out the booze for the whole of January and then go back to old habits come February, why not plan to cut down as a whole for the future? One month with no alcohol will, of course, help but many months of reduced drinking is even better.

Setting Goals

Setting resolutions should perhaps not be the plan for 2019. Instead of this goal setting should be approached. The definition of a goal is ‘the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.’ When I trained as a dietitian, goals had to be SMART. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Achievable and realistic are key.

New Years Resolutions

The truth is in the definition of a goal. You are striving to fulfil an aim but there is no strong pressure and a goal is not as black and white as a resolution. You may have a goal in mind for this year. It may be to eat more plant-based foods. You could start with include a couple of vegetarian meals a week. This is much more achievable than the resolution to become vegan. It doesn’t matter if you eat some meat. There isn’t that pressure to only eat vegan foods, you will still be working towards increasing the amount of plant-based foods you eat. You won’t have failed, which can be hard to stomach on these cold, wet, dark nights.

So whatever you are planning to achieve this 2019, whether it being to improve your health or life in general. Try to think of your end result as a goal. Break it down into achievable steps but don’t resolve this year. Its hard work and we are all human. That odd chocolate or missed gym session isn’t a failure, its part and parcel of achieving our end goal. Much easier to get there and to keep on working at it.

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