Realistic ways to make your 'new year, new me' resolution stick through 2016

As the clock strikes 12 on New Year's Eve the same words are muttered by revellers across the country: "new year, new me".

With 2016 rolling round, we all give ourselves those targets for the next year - whether it be to lose weight, stop smoking, eat healthier, go to the gym more, drink less or save money.

January is a tough enough month as it is, as pursestrings and waistbands are increasingly tighter after the period of festive indulgence.  It's no wonder so many of us break out New Year's resolutions just days, sometimes even hours, into January.

Sometimes, the pressure of something being a New Year's resolution means we are doomed before we even start.

New Year's Eve was a time to reflect on the year we leave behind - the good, the bad and the ugly.  Despite this reflection, we all find something that we want to change in the next year.

I have tried countless times to stick to my New Year's resolutions but to no avail.

This time, I started my New Year's resolution in November and joined Slimming World (I'm sure you already know this by my weekly updates!)

I knew that, come January, I'd want to start losing weight - same as any January.  But this year, I had put a lot on over a short period (comfortable relationship and all that) so knew I had to do something drastic.

I started in November, getting a head start on my 'resolution' to make sure I was well into the swing of things by the time January rolled around, and found myself over a stone lighter by Christmas.  I am now confident that I can keep riding high on the wave and keep up this resolution without any fear of falling off.

Setting ourselves a New Year's resolution can sometimes mean we are setting ourselves up for a fall.  If we really wanted to lose weight or stop smoking, we could do it at any time of the year.  But the start of a new year triggers something within us which makes us determined to kick that habit or change something about ourselves.

If you want to set yourself a resolution this new year, but aren't sure what, here are some easy, achievable targets to consider for 2016:

1. Find at least one thing to smile about everyday

The world really is a depressing place when you look at it.  Each day we turn the television on or open a newspaper and heard/read about acts of terrorism, despicable crimes and heartbreaking stories.

Sometimes, our own daily lives can get us down and we feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders.  It's only when we take a step back, and look at the bigger picture, that we realise our problems are usually not as big as we initially thought.

Even through the toughest of times, there will still be at least one thing a day that can make us smile. Whether it be something funny on the television, something a friend or family member has said, or a memory.

Finding that one thing a day may be easier some days than others, but it will be 100 per cent worth thinking about.

2. Have regular big clear outs

Empty out the wardrobes, drawers and cupboards and throw anything away that you've not used or worn in the last year.  If you think 'I forgot I had that' when you come across something, that's a sure sign that it needs to go.

If it's clothing, shoes etc that is still in good condition, bag it up and take it to a local charity shop.  You'll feel so much better for sorting through things and getting organised, and will even make room for some new bits and bobs in the process.

3. Eat more fruit and veg

This might seem hard to keep at first if you tell yourself you're 'on a diet', but if you make it your routine you'll be surprise how easy it is to stick to.

Whether it's as simple as chopping a banana on top of your weetabix or having a side salad with your chicken kiev and chips, introducing things slowly will make you feel so much better.

Before you know it, you'll be eating more without even trying.

4. Reduce your reliance on your phone

The culture we live in today is obsessed with social media., but our contact need to be logged into Facebook or checking our emails is stopping us from living in the moment.

Studies have found that depression and low self-esteem are common in those who regularly lose social media as a result of comparing their lives to everyone else's.

'Keeping up with the Joneses' is no longer about being on a par with your neighbours or close friends.  These days it's about competing with Facebook friends - who you may not have seen since school.

I had my phone pinched on a night out at uni and was without a replacement for three days.  At first, I felt like someone had chopped my arm off.  I literally did not know what to do with myself.  But after the initial shock, and the first few hours, I felt liberated.  It was so nice not constantly having my head buried in Facebook or Instagram or Twitter.

Over-use of our phones can also prevent us getting a good nights sleep.  The stimulation from scrolling and playing Candy Crush for hours on end before bed could be the reason why you struggle to sleep well.

Try putting your phone away an hour before bed and, whatever you do, don't sleep with it in the bed with you.

5. Set yourself a goal for this time next year

Whether that be a change of career, to have moved house, or to have visited somewhere new.  Write it down and, if it's something that will take a bit of work, list the steps you need to follow and a timescale in order to achieve it.  Having an action plan will make it so much easier and all the more likely of being achieved.

If you're feeling ambitious, set yourself a number of goals.  If you have more than one thing to work towards you may find that you spend less time focusing on one big goal and achieve all your smaller ones much easier.

6. Try something new every week

Go to your favourite restaurant and have something other than your usual, or finally get round to trying that sport you've always fancied.  Whether you absolutely hate it and vow never to try it again, or fall in love with it and find a new favourite food or hobby, you'll have great fun working through 52 completely new experiences.

You could, potentially, be opening up 52 new doors for yourself with 52 new friends behind.  Or 52 new ways to have fun and keep active.  Or even 52 new foods that you never knew you liked.  And 52 new places that you never knew existed.

Whatever you decide to set as your New Year's resolution - good luck.  Whether it is something life-changing like kicking a bad habit, or something personal like losing a bit of weight.  And to those of you who don't stick to it, or have broken it already, there's always next year!

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