So it’s a brand new year. A time for new beginnings, a fresh slate, a new start. But it is also a time when we reflect on the past year and our achievements – or lack thereof.  In short, it’s New Years’ Resolution time and although making them might be fun, they are notoriously difficult to keep if they are unrealistic.


‘The good news is there is no “New Year resolution police” so be kind to yourself’ says Bonitas Medical Fund. ‘Resolutions are not about judgement or criticism from others but about feeling better for your own sake. Although resolutions might differ, surveys over the years confirm that the top five remain around health, weight loss and fitness – whether it’s to make moves on that muffin top and get fitter, to stop smoking and drink less –  the underlying theme is about improving our lifestyles.’


We all know that there is a flurry of ‘activeness’ in January and that health clubs and gyms are at their busiest with everyone trying to shake off bad holiday habits and festive season excesses.  The difficult part is maintaining this regime. Bonitas gives some tips on improving your lifestyle by getting your mojo back.


Don’t make a resolution unless it is achievable

No you can’t lose 5kgs by the weekend or run a half marathon in two weeks’ time!  Assess yourself, see what you are realistically capable of and take into account what could stop you from achieving that goal. When you have your goals, write them down and put somewhere where you can see it daily. Break your goals into bite sized chunks, check your progress and if you are on track great, if not re-evaluate and adjust to keep you motivated.


Write down the benefits that will result from keeping the resolution

Don’t let other people decide what your resolution is.  Knowing the reason you want make this lifestyle change whether its quitting a habit, losing weight, cutting out sugar or salt, getting fit or reducing stress.  Fulfilling the resolution will give you a great sense of achievement.


Get active

South Africa is ranked one of the world’s top 20 overweight countries, with half of men and almost two-third of females physically inactive. Now’s the time to change that and you will find that exercise also helps strengthens your mind and improves your mood – it teaches you to persevere when you are at your most tired.  It keeps us energised and mentally focused and improves work productivity. And of course exercise releases endorphins and dopamine the ‘happy’ chemicals in your body.

Getting fit does not have to be an hour’s workout every day on cardio machines or lifting weights. There are so many ways to keep fit including swimming, brisk walking, mountain biking and of course yoga or pilates. Mix it up so you don’t get bored.


Goals achieved = rewards

Sticking to your programme – or resolution and goal – will allow you to track your progress and reward yourself. No, we don’t mean a double decker hamburger but rather a reward that doesn’t implode your resolutions.  There is no greater motivation than success.


A positive attitude helps

Remember, no one is perfect.  We all have bad days and in the case of dieting ‘cheat’ days but don’t let that hamper your motivation. Congratulate yourself for completing the goal you set for the day.


Yes, you have got time

If you can’t get to a gym, try to walk every day – but briskly.  Take the stairs rather than the lift, take ten minutes in the morning to prepare healthy snacks and make looking after yourself physically and psychologically as important as those board meetings..


Don’t forget the kids

If you have kids, remember they too need to keep healthy. Go for walks together, challenge each other’s achievements and make eating healthily a family habit.


Focus on what you are gaining not losing

Don’t mourn being a couch potato or indulging in your sweet tooth – think about the advantages of eating properly and exercising and stick it out for a couple of months so you can feel the difference.

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