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Looking for some extra motivation for your New Year’s Resolution?

As February draws near, many of us who made New Year’s Resolutions will be assessing how well we’ve done.

The statistics say that at least 20% of people in the UK made resolutions this year, with more exercise, losing weight and improving their diet as the top three aims.

We also know that 3 in 4 resolutions don’t make it to February.

So if you’re struggling to make the change you want stick, or are thinking about trying something new, here are some tips and ideas that we hope will help.

Setting yourself for success

Firstly, define what your aim is. If it’s to lose weight, put a number and a time on it, but make sure it’s realistic. Without a target, it’s hard to measure your progress, and an unrealistic target sets you up for failure.

Make a plan. Set out what you are trying to do, how and when. This could be planning out your food for each week or writing regular exercise slots on your calendar.

Use a mixture of short- and long-term goals to see your progress, and the end target doesn’t seem so far away. Setting yourself smaller, achievable goals and rewarding yourself in some way as you achieve them can be beneficial in working toward longer-term aims.

Don’t try to do it alone. We are all influenced by people around us, and having support is vital. Whether encouraging each other to reach targets or picking each other up if you are struggling, your chances are better when working together.

Make use of resources that already exist. The NHS Better Health website has many resources, guides and programmes covering weight loss, quitting smoking, getting active and drinking less, amongst others.

Be kind to yourself

It’s essential to not put too much pressure on yourself too. If, for whatever reason, a plan doesn’t work, you can reassess and try again at a different time.

Take Dry January as an example. It’s held in that particular month as it fits nicely with new year’s resolutions and follows on from the indulgence of Christmas. But it need not be January at all.

What is important is the month-long break you give your body from alcohol. It doesn’t matter if that break starts on 1st January or any other day throughout the year.

Your liver can begin healing from the damage alcohol does in that time. Most people save money and say they sleep better as well.

Tools to help you

Amongst the resources you can find on the NHS Better Health are a series of smartphone apps. They are all free to download to your iPhone or Android device.

Drink Free Days and the NHS Quit Smoking app help you track your progress, giving daily support and encouragement. 

Couch to 5K is a beginner’s guide to running. The programme starts gently with regular workouts that gradually increase, with the aim of being able to complete a 5-kilometre run within 9 weeks. 

A new and different tool, the NHS Food Scanner app makes it easier to eat healthily. When you scan the barcodes of items you regularly eat and drink, the app will offer a healthier alternative to add to your shopping list.

Discover the whole range of support available on the NHS Better Health website.

Looking after your mind as well as body

It’s equally important to look after our mental health as well as our physical health. Like our bodies, we can do things to keep our minds well rather than take action when we feel ill.

Throughout our website, there are resources, ideas and self-help tools that you can explore.

Follow the link above, or visit the Resources section and use the categories filter to find mental health resources available to you.