With the forthcoming New Year, many people make New Year Resolutions. The most popular new year resolutions are to lose weight, get fit, eat right and reduce stress.

All these four goals are actually intrinsically linked to one another. The lose weight, you must start to exercise more (get fit) and start to eat healthier, more nutritious foods to provide you with the energy required to be more active, without putting on even more weight. It is worth reminding you here that to lose weight may actually require you to eat a little more in the long term, assuming you do not exercise now. Stress can be caused by many factors, but generally people that feel that they are in greater control of their personal lives find it easier to control stress in their working lives. So being more confident as a result of being fitter and healthier can lead to a reduction in stress. So, how do you stick to the plan?

Let’s break the resolutions down, and look at each in isolation.

Lose Weight
OK, as already mentioned, to lose weight we merely need to increase physical activity and eat a healthier, more balanced diet. The best way to do this is to set yourself goals. If you know that your diet is not ideal, but are not sure exactly where you are going wrong, then you must keep a food diary for a couple of weeks at the start of the New Year. This will quickly highlight where you are going wrong. Make sure that you write down everything that you eat and drink during these two weeks. It is best to keep a note of when you eat too, so that at the end of the two weeks you will have a picture of your eating habits in the morning, afternoon and evening. Many people eat too much in the evening after a busy and stressful day. This is most likely going to be the area you need to concentrate on!

Get Fit
Getting fit is a life long goal for many people. So how do you stick to a New Year resolution to get fit? The best way is to set goals, write an exercise schedule (and stick to it) and keep a training diary.

Goals
Goals can be based on endurance (exercising for longer periods each session), strength (lifting heavier weights, or lifting more repetitions of the same weight), frequency (exercising more often, such as 3 times a week, twice a day). When setting goals, always set goals that are attainable. If you have not exercised for 5 years, then setting a goal of running 5 miles a day by the end of January, or running in the London Marathon in the Spring, will be very difficult to achieve. And failing your own goals does you no good regarding self esteem and motivation. So keep the goals simple. My personal goals generally include the following:

1. Exercising more each week (by attending an extra kick boxing class, or by going for a run at the weekends).

2. Lifting heavier weights – when weight training it is impossible to achieve this goal without a lot of hard work, so again I do not specify how much heavier the weights should be, but simply be happy if they are heavier after a month.

3. Performing more repetitions of an exercise. This is very useful when doing circuit training in the gym or at home. For example, you could aim to do one more repetition each day you exercise. This seems like a very small increase, but if you exercise 3 times a week, with just press ups, sit ups, star jumps and squat thrusts, and you start by performing 10 exercises of each in one session, then by the end of January you will be performing 22 of each. By the end of February it will have increased to about 35 of each, and by the time spring comes you will be performing maybe over 50 repetitions of each exercise 3 or 4 times a week. So, small incremental increases are to way to make steady, attainable, progress.

4. Exercising for longer. This can again apply to circuit training at home, such as exercising for an extra 5 minutes each session each week. So start by exercising for 15 minutes, and by the spring you will be exercising for 1 hour and 20 minutes each session, which could be 3 times a week! You will soon get fit, if you stick to the plan!. If you prefer to cycle, run, walk or swim for fitness, then the same applies. Spend a little more time each week, and the improvements will keep coming.

Eat Healthier
This is possible the hardest thing to do well. Most people are well aware of what food is good for them, and what is not. If you are unsure check out our diet pages. The problem is sticking to the plan.