The start of a new year often feels like the perfect opportunity to bring your health back into balance. Whilst there’s nothing at all wrong with that, if you’re anything like us, you might have a tendency to be overly ambitious with the goals you set this month. Let’s face it—there’s nothing like the arrival of January 1 to get even the most run-averse amongst us signing up for marathons, joining gyms, and pledging ourselves to #veganuary.
But what’s the success rate of these idealistic, lofty health promises? Research conducted by YouGov last year suggested that only a quarter (27%) of people who made resolutions actually managed to keep them. Definitely not so promising then. To help this year, we’ve asked seven wellness experts to share the health goals that they think you’ll actually keep.
1. Wake Up Earlier
Yoga teacher Nadia Narain knows this goal is possible. “I tried it myself last year, and it was one of the best goals I kept,” she explained. If, like Nadia, you’re not a natural early riser, make like her and get rid of your mobile alarm in favour of an old-fashioned alarm clock, and set it to run 20 minutes early: “By the time you catch onto the fact that it’s actually 20 minutes earlier, you’ll have not only got used to it, but you’ll actually find you’re enjoying not rushing in the morning. Now I’m up happily at 6 a.m. daily, whatever time I go to bed."
2. Move to Feel Good
Rather than committing to exercising a certain number of times each week and then feeling intimidated about the prospect, Jayne Robinson, PR and brand manager for London fitness studios Frame, advises you to move your body in a way that makes you feel good every day: “No matter how busy your life is, adding some kind of movement into your daily routine is achievable.”
The secret to this goals success? Making sure that you genuinely enjoy doing it! “This is key to making it become a habit,” Robinson told us. “This might be as simple as getting off the tube a couple of stops earlier, or even dancing in the kitchen with the music up high while you’re waiting for your dinner. You’ll be surprised how much extra energy you have from nailing this goal.”
3. Show Your Skin Some Love
When we think about wellbeing, most of us tend to think about either our body or our mind. But, as the skin is your largest organ, why not resolve to look after it better in 2019? Make like Sobia Ali, MD, and resolve to wear SPF every day this year. “
Sun is the number one enemy of the skin and one of the most damaging factors associated with ageing skin,” explains Dr. Ali. “The British Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a sunscreen with SPF 30 and a 4- or 5-star UVA rating.” Be sure to reapply regularly—even on cloudy days—to keep your skin protected.
4. Take Time Out
Our busy lives mean that between work, socialising and sleep, there’s very little chill-out time. So why not make this year the one where you prioritise “me” time? Hilary Rowland, co-founder of Boom Cycle, thinks that you should take 15 minutes a day for yourself: “This means not working and doing something calm or happy. I read a non-business book or go for a walk.”
5. Create a Morning Ritual
Taking just 20 minutes in the morning to set your intentions can do wonders for your inner well-being. Intuitive coach Jody Shield recommends creating a powerful morning practice for the purpose of raising your energy and focusing your mind. That can be as simple as taking a few minutes to sit quietly to collect your thoughts ahead of the day. “Things like saying ‘yes’ 10 times raises your energy and clears your mind,” Shield told us. “Tapping with your fist on your heart centre (between your breasts) and deep breathing, then meditating for 20 minutes are all the things that I do in the morning.”
6. Make Your Exercise Tangible
Signing up to the gym just doesn’t cut it when it comes to sticking to your fitness goals. Instead, Luke Worthington suggests setting a fitness challenge that involves achieving a new level of physical performance: “Whether that’s completing your first pull up or running your first 10k, a performance-based exercise goal is tangible, and you’ll know when you’ve achieved it. This a surefire way to maintain continuing motivation.”
7. Get App Happy
Finally, whatever area of wellness that you choose to focus on this year, we can guarantee that there will be an app to help you on your way. Joslyn Thompson, Nike global master trainer, told us how important it is to track the area of your health you’re working on. Having tangible data to help track your progress and identify any shortcomings is highly valuable. “The more information you have about yourself, for yourself, the more in tune you’ll be with your body,” Thompson believes. “You’ll recognise patterns, triggers and feel more in control of random occurrences.”
Next up, want to make 2019 the year that you get your sleep sorted? Here’s how to recover from a bad night’s sleep.