Trying ‘too hard’ can sabotage the success of a good New Year resolution.
Marg Hegarty, a behaviour change spokeswoman for Queensland’s free healthy lifestyle program, My health for life, said New Year resolutions often fail because people are overly ambitious.
“New Year is ingrained in our psyche as representing a new start, so many people approach their resolutions with an all or nothing attitude,’’ she said.
“They rush into them in a burst of energy but without much thought and then it all fizzles.
“But if you are trying to change behaviours around your health and fitness, for example, failed attempts can actually impact negatively on your overall motivation and make future attempts at behaviour change seem even harder.
“It has been suggested 15 per cent of Australians abandon their New Year resolutions within the first three months, and that the percentage increases over time. Yet, I wonder if the outcome would be different if people approached their resolutions with a different mind-set?’’
To maximise success, Marg suggests these handy tips:
“New year resolutions can often be dismissed as trivial things but they can be also be powerful and useful if approached in the right way,’’ Marg said.
“There has been plenty of research to show that improved health is one of the most common resolutions people make, so good health is obviously important to many people.
“My advice is not to wait for motivation to strike because motivation is something you make happen for yourself.
“However, we know from working with so many Queenslanders on the My health for life program that people often look for a starting point to begin a weight loss journey, or to be more active or to eat better.
“If a new year provides the impetus to committing to new, healthier habits, then that has to be a good thing.’’ she said.
My health for life is a free $27 million State Government funded program developed and delivered by the Healthier Queensland Alliance for Queenslanders at high risk of developing chronic disease. The program is available in small group sessions in many local communities or is accessible by way of structured phone coaching to anywhere in Queensland.
Source: NQPHN Newsletter Issue 51