It is that time of year when people start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. After the year we have had maybe you have plans to make next year the best it can be, so the question is, do New Year’s resolutions work and what should you do instead?

There has been a lot of research around New Year’s resolutions – why we make them and if they work with no clear answer. We often make resolutions around lifestyle and health such as weight loss, diet changes and becoming fitter. Research shows no clear pattern of success. What we do know is that success may be determined by your goals themselves and how you approach it rather than the day of the year you start. Working toward more good things in your life may be more effective than avoiding bad things. Some simple examples might be eating more vegetables rather than eating less fat, or being fitter rather than thinner.

A good goal is one that is SMART – a simple, able to be measured, achievable, goal that is relevant to you with a clear time frame is more likely to succeed. Chance of success is affected by what you believe. If you set out to quit smoking at a time when you are stressed and don’t think it will work then it probably won’t. Likewise, setting a goal to please someone else is unlikely to motivate you for long.

 If you have a health or happiness related New Year’s Resolution, feel free to talk to your Doctor. They may be able to help you set your goals and achieve them. If January doesn’t work for you, come and see us later in the year. January 1st is not magical after all. Hopefully, we can all have a happier, healthier 2021!