IMHO, New Year's resolutions are a truly terrible idea. January is almost certainly the most awful time of the year and, smack bang in the middle of it, we're expected to make major changes to our lives just because society tells us to?
Hell, if it were up to me, I'd give you a medal just for
getting up on mornings when it's cold, rainy and dark, let alone getting up and going to the gym.
The issue most of us have with New Year's resolutions is that we aim too high. Going from eating a bacon sandwich every morning to breakfasting solely on overnight oats is a nice thought but really, it's a big ask.
Instead, aim for the middle – if your goal IS to eventually dine in the AM only on overnight oats (although this sounds like a very boring idea), then how about trying to make and eat them just once or twice a week? It's a much more realistic goal, one you're likely to stick to and therefore, not end up feeling like a failure. Because if you feel like a failure, how likely are you to try the healthy eating thing again in the future?
Click through to find ideas for some realistic resolutions.
Photo: Alexandra Gavillet
Bring in lunch twice a week It's a nice idea to think that you'll bring a packed lunch to your office every single day but realistically, unless you're some sort of culinary wizard, it's not going to happen and you'll just feel bad. Aim instead for the middle. Go for two days a week. And don't fret over which days it should be; any day you've got leftovers from dinner, bung them in a Tupperware and bring them along. If you're getting to the end of the week with no leftovers in sight, then go and buy the bits from Sainsbury's for a sandwich. The bread and ingredients will last you the rest of the week.
Photo: Ted Cavanaugh
Do Meat Free one Day Meat Free Monday is probably called "Meat Free Monday" because alliteration sounds better. Therefore, don't get in too much of a tizzy if your flatmate kindly makes you a huge, delicious, bacon-filled carbonara as a surprise on a particularly depressing Monday. Dig into it and go meat-free on Tuesday instead. Literally no one will care.
Photo: Caroline Tompkins
Exercise once more a week than you're already exercising If gymming isn't in your current lifestyle then committing to go to the gym every single day of the week is an absolute disaster of an idea. By day two, your legs will be so destroyed from squats that you'll be forced to take the rest of the week off and boom; you'll feel like a failure. Instead, commit to just one sesh a week. Find out how the gym works, what time of day you do your best gymming and what kind of exercise suits you. Once you feel comfortable with that, the option is there to build up but as long as you never go under that once-a-week commitment, you've never failed. If you already exercise a fair bit, then commit to one more 30-minute exercise a week. Remember though, fast walking counts, so if you can't get to a class or do a run, get off the bus a few stops earlier and fast-walk to your house like the champion you are.
Go two consecutive days each week without drinking
Many people make the mistake of resolving each new year not to drink during the week. It's a sensible idea, although people I know who've tried and succeeded have found themselves, in the words of mid-noughties lad-rock band Hard-Fi, "living for the weekend". Being chaste throughout the week is pointless if you're just going OTT as soon as it's Friday night.
If you are a regular drinker and you do want to scale back on your drinking, though, this piece of
government advice from 2012
can be quite helpful; make sure that each week, every week, you have two consecutive "dry" days. That's not to say you'll drink for the other five days, it's just that the "consecutive days" element forces you to add a level of mindfulness to your alcohol consumption that you may not have previously employed.
Most likely, you're already doing the two-day thing anyway – if you are, then congrats; you've nailed another resolution.
Photo: Meg O'Donnell
Save just one type of money Saving is not an easy thing to do. Personally, I've got a direct debit that goes into a savings account every time I get paid but, realistically, by the end of the month, I've dipped my greedy mitts into it and extracted almost as much as I've put in. So yeah, don't do that. Choose a low denomination you rarely get – a pound coin, a two pound coin or a fiver – and put it to one side each time one comes into your possession. At the end of the year, add it up. Chances are you'll have made a couple of hundred at least.
Photo: Kate Anglestein
Switch your coffee for a cheaper coffee Another money-saving technique; rather than forgoing your morning coffee altogether (another outrageously tough resolution to make), instead opt for a filter coffee. At Pret they cost just 99p (rather than £2.05) and they taste pretty darn good tbh. Also, if you bring in your own cup (environment saving and all that), plenty of places give you a discount for being a good friend to Mother Nature.