Monthly ArchiveNovember 2018

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10 Unusual New Year's Resolutions

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1

Get your photo taken in five interesting places

If you’ve got the travel bug and want to see a bit more of the world, why not make it a New Year’s resolution to visit five interesting places you’ve always wanted to see? Even better, make a visual record of the year by making sure you get a photo of yourself taken in each place. Good photo opportunities include inside an igloo in Lapland, on the Great Wall of China, inside a volcanic crater or floating in the Dead Sea, but use your imagination to think of your own – the world’s your oyster after all.

2

Learn a decent party trick

You know that party trick you’ve got, the one that always comes out after a couple of drinks? Think about it; is it really so impressive in the cold light of day? If the answer is no, it’s about time you learned a new trick; one that will really impress. Mastering a new skill – no matter how pointless – can increase your self-esteem, as well as earning you some serious social kudos next time you reveal it in public. For a physical challenge, why not work on your flexibility for a spot of contortion, or give yourself a mental challenge and learn how to recite the alphabet backwards in less than 10 seconds.

3

Break a record

Want to give your confidence a boost and work towards a new challenge? Then make this the year that you break a record! You could aim at breaking a personal fitness record or, if you want to aim a little higher, set your sights on a world one. With lots of diverse (and bizarre) records there for the taking, this may not be as difficult as you think. Perhaps you could burn off some calories with the world’s longest kiss, the longest time spent bouncing on a bouncy castle or the fastest one mile run completed wearing swim fins… Yes, these are all real world record titles if you fancy your chances!

4

Make a new friend a month

Fact: friends are great for your health, and the more you have of them the better. So, why not make it a New Year’s resolution to start collecting them? To expand your social circle, try to make one new friend a month by making a conscious effort to attend more social events, chat to strangers and get introductions to friends of friends. Making friends with people with different personalities and interests from you can be particularly beneficial in helping you to broaden your horizons, explore different sides of your personality and find new ways to get the most out of life.

5

Develop a good relationship with your body

Many traditional New Year’s resolutions centre around improving our bodies in some way, whether by taking up a diet or joining a gym. Next year, make it your resolution to start to love the body you’ve got instead. While this doesn’t mean you can’t make changes to your diet and fitness regime if your health requires it, it does mean starting to love who you are in the process. Work on improving your body confidence by focusing on the things you do like rather than those you don’t, and learn to dress according to your body shape, showing off your favourite features.

6

Learn something you never learned as a child

You may run your own company, pay your own bills and parallel-park like a pro, but do you know how to do a handstand or ride a bike? For this New Year’s resolution it’s time to nurture your inner child and learn that thing that you never learned to do. Whether it’s the number of days in each month, how to spell ‘necessary’ correctly, how to ride a bike or swim, we all have something we never learned as a child that everyone else seems to know. Set this to rights and have some fun at the same time by redressing this gap in your knowledge. Your younger self would be proud!

7

Try a new food each week

Rather than cutting out foods from your diet as with so many New Year’s resolutions, opt to add more foods into your diet next year instead (bonus points if they’re green!). Many of us don’t eat a varied enough diet, so ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs – as well as enhancing your enjoyment of food – by making a resolution to try a new food each week. Try hitting the fruit and veg aisle first to sample some exotic fruit and vegetables you may have yet to try, such as dragon fruit, lychees, romanescu and plantain.

8

Make the usual unusual

It’s easy to get into a rut where we do the same things day in, day out, with our days passing us by as a routine-filled blur. Next year, spice up your routine by vowing to do one small thing differently each day or week. Wear something you wouldn’t normally wear, run a different route, or order a different coffee perhaps. Also, don’t fall into the trap of postponing your happiness by saving everything special “for best”. Instead, brighten up a routine day every so often by donning your diamond earrings, swapping faded comfy knickers for your favourite silk underwear, or eating those fancy chocolates washed down with a glass of champagne!

9

Sort out a financial worry

To help get your year off to a good start, try getting your finances in order by making a resolution to sort out one area of financial worry. Perhaps you spend a fortune on petrol or maybe it is your food bills that are blowing your budget? Try to think of some alternatives to the main causes of financial stress, such as cycling to work instead of driving, growing your own vegetables or making your own beauty products. Not only will coming up with alternative solutions help you save some money, you may find that you enjoy them and that they boost your health too.

10

Do something nice for others every day

Many of our resolutions (these included) are inwardly focused, concentrating on ways to become thinner, healthier, wealthier people. However, while there is nothing wrong with improving yourself, it’s worth remembering there’s a whole world out there too. Next year, why not make a resolution to focus outwards instead and help make the world a better place. Plan to do one nice thing a day for someone else; whether it’s something small like giving a compliment, or something potentially life-saving like donating blood or sponsoring a child in need. By knowing you are making a difference, you will also indirectly boost your own happiness and sense of achievement.

New Year's Eve Survival Guide

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Throwing a boring party

Throw a boring New Year’s Eve party and you’ll soon notice your guests are anxiously looking at the clock for all the wrong reasons. Alarm bells should be ringing when people decide to call it a night at 9:30pm, and start asking questions like “when is everyone else getting here?” and the witheringly apathetic “is this it?” If you don’t want to be known as ‘that person who ruined New Year’ (hint: you don’t), read on.

Solution:

Putting a group of people together in a room with a bit of alcohol is not enough for a good party, especially if they don’t all know each other. As the host you need to make sure your guests are always entertained, which you can do by setting up party games or end of year quizzes. Once the ice has been broken the party should follow its natural course, and all you’ll need to provide is a bit of food, drink and upbeat music.

Overdoing it

Picture the scene: Midnight approaches and a beautiful stranger gazes your way. Your eyes lock and there’s an instant spark of passion. They walk towards you. You smile seductively. Their pace quickens. You are sick in a plant pot. They quickly walk in the opposite direction, disgusted. The odd drink or two on New Year’s Eve is expected, and even encouraged, but there is a fine line between being tipsy and ruining your whole evening.

Solution:

The most obvious way to address this problem is, of course, to drink less, but that is not always possible. That means preparation is your best bet. Do your best to eat a sensible amount of food all day, so that you won’t be consuming alcohol on an empty stomach. Staying hydrated is also a good idea, so drink plenty of water throughout the day and in between drinks at the party if possible.

No midnight kiss

Nothing can make or break your evening quite like the midnight smooch. Bringing in the new year moping on your own as you cradle a drink and jealously watch other couples puckering up is never a fun experience, especially if you’ve gone to the party looking for love. By no means are we saying a midnight kiss is a necessity, but if it is what you’re after then we’re here to help.

Solution:

You can’t expect to spend the whole party quietly sat in a corner only to have the opposite sex swarm towards you come 11:59pm. Unless you’re the most attractive person at the party, a midnight kiss is going to require some groundwork. Try to talk to as many people as possible throughout the evening and find someone you want to lock lips with. If you seem to be getting on well, confidently approach them come midnight and go for the kiss.

Spending too much money

“Go on then, it’s New Year’s Eve!” If you hear these words coming out of your mouth at any point in the evening, take a step back. It’ll usually be accompanied by the purchase of an extremely expensive bottle of champagne to impress that girl you met five minutes ago, or treating the whole party to a round at the bar. Waking up in the morning with a severely depleted bank account won’t be a good start to the next year – here’s how to avoid it.

Solution:

It might not seem very rock and roll, but planning a budget for the evening beforehand (i.e. when you’re sober) is always a sensible idea. Leave your cards at home and stick to cash and you’ll ensure you aren’t able to overspend, no matter how tempted you are. Some taxi companies will even let you pre-pay for your ride home, so when you inevitably spend all of your money on the night you’ll still have a way to get back.

Not making it to midnight

How do you want to start the next year? Dancing with your family and friends? Smooching a good-looking guy or girl? Slumped in the corner collecting a nice patch of drool on your shoulder? We’re betting not many of you went for that last answer. Falling asleep before midnight can happen to the best of us, but is pretty much the ultimate anti-climax to the year if you didn’t intend to.

Solution:

See that super comfy couch in the corner? It is your worst enemy. Alcohol and soft furnishings are a recipe for disaster when you’re trying to stay awake and alert. Caffeine and energy drinks are also a bad idea, as they could leave you dehydrated, and cause tiredness later on in the night when you least expect it. Instead, try to get a good night’s sleep on the 30th, drink plenty of water, and stay as occupied as possible throughout the party.

5 Small Resolutions That Make A Big Difference

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Although losing a fifth of your body weight might sound great, is it really achievable? The chances are that come February your New Year’s resolutions will have been ditched until next year. But it doesn’t have to be the case! Small resolutions can lead to bigger things.

1

Drink herbal tea

After consuming a month’s worth of food and two months’ worth of drink within just one week, it’s no wonder that after the Christmas period we all vow to be healthier and lose weight over the coming year. Yet, how many of us manage it and how many of us come up with excuses about why we can’t stick to our resolutions?

Research shows that the weight we gain at Christmas is not usually lost over the ensuing 12 months and that every year we get heavier. To change this predictable pattern, get into drinking herbal tea. Some herbal teas, such as green tea, are thought to aid weight loss, and the antioxidants within herbal teas can help improve your skin and protect your heart and blood vessels.

2

Book a course

The long, festive break can make going back to work harder and many people want a career change or a new job come January. Although this might be a good thing, finding a new job is not an easy task. To make this New Year’s resolution achievable you should book onto a course at your local college.

Take a look at the jobs you would like to have; what qualifications or experience are employers looking for? If you see a gap on your CV that could hold you back from getting the career you crave, then book onto a course. Before you do so make sure that the course is recognised within your industry and that it suits your style of learning.

3

Count the cash

Most people’s bank accounts are not looking too healthy after the dozens of presents you have just forked out on. Therefore most people make a New Year’s resolution to improve their finances over the coming year. Although this sounds like a simple resolution, it’s one that most people fail to stick to after February.

To make sure this year is different, buy a piggy bank and when you get home from work stick in some coins you have loose in your wallet, purse or pocket. It is surprising how quickly and how much money this saves. After two or three months you will need a new piggy bank. Do not open the money boxes until December next year. Chances are, if you’ve stuck to the daily money-giving routine, you’ll have enough saved to cover the costs of Christmas.

4

Start a new chapter

Now that you’re no longer at school, it can be difficult to find the time and energy to read. Once you’ve settled into bed with a good book it can only be a few minutes before you’ve nodded off. Yet, reading can improve your memory and help prevent mental decline, so not only is it relaxing and enjoyable it’s also great for our mental health.

To make sure you get to read more this year why not buy a collection of short stories? You could also join a book club to make sure you stay focused every month. Another way to make sure you read more this year is to download a book list that has been voted for by others, so that you have a stock of well-written and gripping books to read. Finally, you can always start a book review blog and write your opinions on the books you’ve read.

5

Get the travel bug

After slipping back into your normal routine after the excitement of Christmas most people are desperate to break out of the rut they feel their life has fallen into. Most people yearn to travel in order to break free of their normal restraints, but quitting your job, leaving your home and tying up other responsibilities like rehoming your cat means that traveling around Thailand for six months is not a realistic New Year’s resolution. 

Yet, other forms of travel are achievable and can make a big difference to your attitude towards your current lifestyle. For example, rather than going on your usual vacation this year why not volunteer on an overseas project for two or three weeks? You can also travel within your local area. Pack a bag and head out exploring for the weekend. Don’t book any accommodation, just head to the train station and catch a train somewhere new. Although not the most glamorous of trips, you will still get a thrill from the unexpected and will not feel like your life is so predictable or planned out.

Top 10 Ways To Improve Your Diet This Year

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We all have a vague concept of what constitutes healthy eating, but we may not have a good idea of how to do it in practice. To help you out, here are our top 10 tips on how you can simply and effectively change your diet for the better.

1

Eat more fruit and veg

You may have heard it a thousand times before, but eating more portions of fruit and veg a day really is the most valuable dietary habit you can develop. Fruits and vegetables contain a vast range of health-giving vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – including carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, folate and zinc. Remember that the wider the variety of fruit and veg you eat, the wider the range of nutrients you will get. You should aim for as colourful a plate as possible – so think broccoli, bananas, green apples, or pumpkin. And you don’t have to eat these ‘straight’. Instead, try them in soups, sauces, salads, smoothies and desserts, or with dips.

2

Reduce your saturated fat intake

Saturated fats have been widely implicated in the development of heart disease because they increase levels of harmful cholesterol in the body while simultaneously reducing beneficial cholesterol. Saturated fats are predominantly animal fats. You can cut down on your intake of these by buying lean cuts of meat, trimming visible fat, and avoiding high-fat dairy products. Alternatively, avoid reliance on meat as the main constituent of your meals, and instead try pulses or other sources of vegetable protein.

3

Reduce your trans-fat intake

Trans-fats are chemically altered fats that are now thought to be as harmful to health – if not more so – than saturated fats. Fast food companies and mass food producers tend to use these – so if you avoid fast food and processed or pre-packaged foods such as cakes and cookies, you should go a long way to cutting these out. Trans-fats do not exist naturally.

4

Increase your unsaturated fat intake

Unsaturated fats reduce the levels of harmful cholesterol in the bloodstream. In fact, some even increase the amounts of protective cholesterol as well. You can find unsaturated fats in nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil.

5

Increase your omega-3 oil intake

Omega-3 oils are powerful anti-inflammatory agents which can help to protect the heart, lubricate the joints, and may even help to maintain good mental health. These can be found in seed oils (such as linseed) and oily fish (such as herring, mackerel and sardines). Those found in oily fish are more ‘bioavailable’ than those found in plant sources (that is, they are more available to use by the body). Aim to have two portions per week of food containing omega-3 oils.

6

Increase your fluid intake

Aim to drink around eight glasses of fluid per day. Water is vital for good health; after all, 60 per cent of body weight is attributed to water. Water is required for the majority of metabolic reactions in the body. Dehydration can cause fatigue and poor concentration, and can even affect your physical appearance. Reach your hydration target by re-filling a water bottle several times throughout the day, drinking herbal tea, and/or eating juicy fruits such as melon.

7

Eat breakfast every day

Studies have shown that those who eat breakfast tend to be slimmer than those who don’t. There is a huge variety of foods you can start your morning with: toast, porridge, cereals, fruit, eggs, fruit juice, black/green/herbal tea, pancakes, berries, tomatoes, rice cakes, peanut butter, the list goes on! Try to base your breakfast on starches, throw in some fruit, and avoid having a fried, sugary, or meat-heavy breakfast too often.

8

Go wholegrain

People with healthier hearts tend to eat more whole grains.

Whether this is a reflection of a healthy lifestyle as a whole or whether it’s due in particular to whole grain properties is uncertain – but whole grains do contain more nutrients than refined grains due to the inclusion of bran and germ. Whole Grains include insoluble and soluble fiber, phytonutrients, B vitamins and vitamin E.

9

Watch your salt intake

An excessive salt intake can lead to high blood pressure, which in turn can cause further health complications such as blood clots. Most salt is not found in cooking or even at the table; instead, it is hidden in snacks and processed foods such as canned soups and ready meals. Cut down on your intake of these to lower your salt intake.

10

Increase your intake of fibre

Your fibre intake will naturally increase when you start eating more fruit, veg and whole grains, but if you add pulses and legumes as well you are sure to hit the ideal target of 18g of fiber per day. Fibre will help to protect against bowel cancer, diverticulosis and constipation. Just make sure you drink plenty of fluid alongside to keep things moving.

Getting a balanced diet

To improve your diet, what you should aim for is a varied, balanced food intake that is packed full of fruit and veg, is based on whole grains, and incorporates high-quality protein such as lean meat or legumes. Also, ‘good’ fats should be used in place of ‘bad’ fats, and sugary and salty snacks should be kept to a minimum. So, now you know what healthy eating really means after reading our top 10 tips, why not make the year ahead the year you put it into practice?

How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

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The holiday blues are starting to set in, and you can’t get away with finishing the 12 pack of mince pies without getting disapproving looks. It’s time to get your lifestyle and fitness organised for the year ahead, but this is the easiest part.

The tricky part of the bargain comes when you actually have to live up to your aspiring New Year’s resolutions. Enhancing your body’s fitness may sound simple enough but the temptations of junk food, computer games and your favourite TV show are all things that could have you loping back to the couch by mid-February, munching pizza from a greasy box whilst mid-marathoning a new series.

So, how can you stay true to your best intentions? These top tips will help you keep your healthy New Year’s resolutions:

  • Don’t be over-ambitious – Your New Year’s resolutions may aspire to improve the condition of your body but that doesn’t mean things are going to change overnight. If you’re an absolute fitness beginner looking to lose a few excess pounds, then trying to run a marathon from scratch is likely to prove a bridge too far. Instead, keep things in perspective by aiming for small steps forward rather than big, stuttering strides. Building a better body requires time and hard work so take things fairly easy when starting out, otherwise you might be tempted to cancel that new gym membership and return to the bad old days when the closest thing you ever got to exercise was watching sports on TV.
  • Set yourself fitness goals – If you’re serious about conquering your New Year’s resolutions, it’s essential you give yourself goals to measure your steady progress. Setting goals and deadlines will give your fitness plan a proper structure and keep you on the right track towards further advancement.
  • Get support from friends and family – Sticking to your fitness goals is hard enough at the best of times but doing it all on your own is going to prove an uphill struggle. In light of this, try and get your friends and family onboard to support your training, by offering you encouragement and positive criticism throughout your exercise. With strong emotional backing to support you, the effort of training will soon become much less of a chore.
  • Create a manifesto – We’re not talking Karl Marx here, but drawing up a manifesto that outlines your training plans and goals could really help you stay focused on those healthy New Year’s resolutions. By writing down your promises and pinning them to the wall, you’ll have no excuses not to live up to your original pledges. Time to get scribbling.
  • Reward yourself for completing goals – Just because you’re trying to live up to some healthy New Year’s resolutions doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid enjoying the odd tasty treat. When you’ve completed a fitness goal, why not reward yourself with that slice of chocolate cake you’ve been putting off for weeks? By promising yourself regular (but not too regular!) rewards, you’ll soon feel more motivated to stay on course for better fitness. Moderation is key to maintaining a good physique.

Trying to keep your health-conscious New Year’s resolutions doesn’t have to be so difficult. In fact, by taking a few easy steps, motivating yourself to stay on track can actually be a positive and worthwhile experience in itself, bringing you closer to your family and friends whilst instilling a newfound sense of self-worth. It may be a struggle in the early days, but persevere and you’ll get the healthy body you crave eventually!

Healthy Ways To Celebrate New Year's Eve

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1

Host a pampering party

To help get your healthy intentions off to a great start, try hosting a party with a difference. Rather than the usual drinks and a buffet, get all your close friends round for a spot of pampering. Hire a mobile beauty or massage therapist to provide treatments for you and your guests, or stock up on face masks and manicure kits for a bit of home pampering. For refreshments, provide healthy snacks such as vegetable crudités and dips, and serve your guests healthy smoothies and mocktails.

2

Watch the sunrise

If you don’t fancy starting the New Year cooped up indoors, grab a friend, family member or your partner and head out for an early morning walk to watch the sunrise. Not only will you get some early morning exercise, but starting a New Year watching the sunrise with someone special is much more inspiring and conducive for a healthy new beginning than waking up midday with a hangover!

3

Go skiing

Want to get away from it all, stay fit and have a great New Year’s Eve? Then you can’t do much better than heading to a ski resort. Lots of ski resorts host parties for New Year’s Eve complete with a buffet dinner and fireworks to ensure your night is one to remember. Furthermore, skiing is a great activity for burning calories and getting in shape, meaning that you can hit the buffet later without any feelings of guilt.

4

Make some healthy cocktails

If you can’t resist seeing the New Year in with a drink in hand, you can still do it in the healthiest way possible by drinking in moderation and making your own healthy cocktails using fresh fruits and juices. Not only will making your own fruit cocktails ensure you are at least getting some nutrients and antioxidants with your alcohol, but the process of making your cocktails (rather than simply ordering at the bar) will help to slow down your drinking.

5

Go dancing

Most of us love a dance, and the good news is that celebrating the New Year with a boogie on the dance floor could help you burn off hundreds of calories.

While hitting the dance floor in a club or bar is as good an option as any, if nights on the town aren’t your thing there are plenty of good alternatives. If you fancy a relaxed night in, you could get your friends round for a dance session on the Xbox. Or, for something a little more formal, book tickets for a New Year’s Eve ball. Alternatively, get in on one of the year’s hottest trends by hosting or attending a New Year Zumba party.

6

Play some family board games

Research findings published in the journal Plos Medicine have indicated that having strong ties to family and friends can help you live longer, so why not boost your health this New Year’s Eve with a bit of family bonding? OK, board games may be a little bit cheesy, but they can also be a whole lot of fun and a great way to get the whole family involved. Try not to get too competitive though – we want everyone still on speaking terms once the clock strikes midnight!

7

Go for a midnight run

For all you keen runners out there, why not start the New Year indulging your passion and getting those healthy resolutions off to a flying start? For anyone celebrating in New York you could join in the annual midnight run through Central Park, or there are similar organised events in various worldwide locations. Alternatively, you could organise your own run at midnight with some friends or running club members.

8

Movies and popcorn

Do all these ideas sound too much like hard work? Well, the good news is you can boost your health right from the comfort of your couch. While watching television might not be quite as good for you as hitting the streets for a run, there are still health benefits to be had. Watching a comedy show or movie has been found to be beneficial for your heart, immune system and mental well being, while snacking on popcorn will give your body a boost of antioxidants, nutrients and fibre.

10 Unusual New Year's Resolutions

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1

Get your photo taken in five interesting places

If you’ve got the travel bug and want to see a bit more of the world, why not make it a New Year’s resolution to visit five interesting places you’ve always wanted to see? Even better, make a visual record of the year by making sure you get a photo of yourself taken in each place. Good photo opportunities include inside an igloo in Lapland, on the Great Wall of China, inside a volcanic crater or floating in the Dead Sea, but use your imagination to think of your own – the world’s your oyster after all.

2

Learn a decent party trick

You know that party trick you’ve got, the one that always comes out after a couple of drinks? Think about it; is it really so impressive in the cold light of day? If the answer is no, it’s about time you learned a new trick; one that will really impress. Mastering a new skill – no matter how pointless – can increase your self-esteem, as well as earning you some serious social kudos next time you reveal it in public. For a physical challenge, why not work on your flexibility for a spot of contortion, or give yourself a mental challenge and learn how to recite the alphabet backwards in less than 10 seconds.

3

Break a record

Want to give your confidence a boost and work towards a new challenge? Then make this the year that you break a record! You could aim at breaking a personal fitness record or, if you want to aim a little higher, set your sights on a world one. With lots of diverse (and bizarre) records there for the taking, this may not be as difficult as you think. Perhaps you could burn off some calories with the world’s longest kiss, the longest time spent bouncing on a bouncy castle or the fastest one mile run completed wearing swim fins… Yes, these are all real world record titles if you fancy your chances!

4

Make a new friend a month

Fact: friends are great for your health, and the more you have of them the better. So, why not make it a New Year’s resolution to start collecting them? To expand your social circle, try to make one new friend a month by making a conscious effort to attend more social events, chat to strangers and get introductions to friends of friends. Making friends with people with different personalities and interests from you can be particularly beneficial in helping you to broaden your horizons, explore different sides of your personality and find new ways to get the most out of life.

5

Develop a good relationship with your body

Many traditional New Year’s resolutions centre around improving our bodies in some way, whether by taking up a diet or joining a gym. Next year, make it your resolution to start to love the body you’ve got instead. While this doesn’t mean you can’t make changes to your diet and fitness regime if your health requires it, it does mean starting to love who you are in the process. Work on improving your body confidence by focusing on the things you do like rather than those you don’t, and learn to dress according to your body shape, showing off your favourite features.

6

Learn something you never learned as a child

You may run your own company, pay your own bills and parallel-park like a pro, but do you know how to do a handstand or ride a bike? For this New Year’s resolution it’s time to nurture your inner child and learn that thing that you never learned to do. Whether it’s the number of days in each month, how to spell ‘necessary’ correctly, how to ride a bike or swim, we all have something we never learned as a child that everyone else seems to know. Set this to rights and have some fun at the same time by redressing this gap in your knowledge. Your younger self would be proud!

7

Try a new food each week

Rather than cutting out foods from your diet as with so many New Year’s resolutions, opt to add more foods into your diet next year instead (bonus points if they’re green!). Many of us don’t eat a varied enough diet, so ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs – as well as enhancing your enjoyment of food – by making a resolution to try a new food each week. Try hitting the fruit and veg aisle first to sample some exotic fruit and vegetables you may have yet to try, such as dragon fruit, lychees, romanescu and plantain.

8

Make the usual unusual

It’s easy to get into a rut where we do the same things day in, day out, with our days passing us by as a routine-filled blur. Next year, spice up your routine by vowing to do one small thing differently each day or week. Wear something you wouldn’t normally wear, run a different route, or order a different coffee perhaps. Also, don’t fall into the trap of postponing your happiness by saving everything special “for best”. Instead, brighten up a routine day every so often by donning your diamond earrings, swapping faded comfy knickers for your favourite silk underwear, or eating those fancy chocolates washed down with a glass of champagne!

9

Sort out a financial worry

To help get your year off to a good start, try getting your finances in order by making a resolution to sort out one area of financial worry. Perhaps you spend a fortune on petrol or maybe it is your food bills that are blowing your budget? Try to think of some alternatives to the main causes of financial stress, such as cycling to work instead of driving, growing your own vegetables or making your own beauty products. Not only will coming up with alternative solutions help you save some money, you may find that you enjoy them and that they boost your health too.

10

Do something nice for others every day

Many of our resolutions (these included) are inwardly focused, concentrating on ways to become thinner, healthier, wealthier people. However, while there is nothing wrong with improving yourself, it’s worth remembering there’s a whole world out there too. Next year, why not make a resolution to focus outwards instead and help make the world a better place. Plan to do one nice thing a day for someone else; whether it’s something small like giving a compliment, or something potentially life-saving like donating blood or sponsoring a child in need. By knowing you are making a difference, you will also indirectly boost your own happiness and sense of achievement.

Healthy New Year's Resolution Ideas

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New Year’s resolution ideas for fitness beginners

OK, so you’re an absolute fitness beginner who has little or no idea about the pleasures and pains of healthy, active living. However, if you feel it’s time to get off your behind and improve the state of your mind and body, it might be prudent to adopt some of the following healthy and active New Year’s resolution tips to enjoy a healthier lifestyle:

  • Eat more fruit and vegetable portions every day – This is a simple yet highly effective New Year’s resolution that could really boost your day-to-day health. Try to eat the recommended portions of fruit and vegetables each day to keep your body energised with nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
  • Join a gym or health club – If you really want to fight the flab, joining a gym or health club could be ideal for burning fat and improving your body shape. With a variety of membership types available to suit all your needs, joining a gym has never been easier!
  • Cut down on your daily salt intake – High salt consumption can lead to a variety of health problems, including raised blood pressure and heart disease. As a result, there really is no need to make every meal taste like the Dead Sea.
  • Try a new sports activity – If you want to boost your fitness levels but feel the gym isn’t right for you, a new sports activity could provide a fun yet fit alternative. With clubs offering everything from karate classes through to skydiving tutorials, it could be time to get sporty and enjoy a healthier future!
  • Curb your drinking habits – As all those festive hangovers may have hinted, heavy alcohol consumption can entail serious health consequences, with long-term implications including weight gain, depression, chronic sickness, and an empty wallet! Whilst the odd social drink is perfectly acceptable, it might be time to reassess things if you frequently binge drink. So curb your alcohol intake today and you may just save more than a little money in the process.
  • Broaden your knowledge – Whilst it’s important to maintain your physical fitness, it’s equally vital to exercise your mind if you want to enjoy a healthy and happy life. If you feel you don’t always maximise your brain power, why not take part in evening classes (or even further education) to broaden your knowledge and offer a work-out to those sleeping brain cells?
  • Spend more time with your family – Another way of boosting your mental wellbeing is to enjoy more family-friendly activities. Whether playing a board game, day tripping or cooking with the kids, a supportive family environment will make you appreciate the simple pleasures in life more readily. So think twice before saying yes to that overtime and enjoy some quality family fun instead!

New Year’s resolution ideas for fitness lovers

You may be a long-term health and fitness convert, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to rest on your laurels just yet! Even if you have the body of a supermodel or the stamina of a stallion, it could be well worth adopting some of the following New Year’s resolution tips if you really want to lead a fresh and varied lifestyle:

  • Try an extreme sport – If you’re getting tired of the same old sporting activities, why not try something a little different by signing up for an extreme sport? Whether skydiving, white water rafting or even attempting a desert marathon, extreme sports will make your life feel exciting and adventurous, whilst taking your fitness to another level.
  • Vary your stretches – It’s amazing how many fitness fanatics jump straight into their exercise without even warming up properly. However, stretching for a sports or gym workout is essential in preventing serious injury, so try out a variety of stretches in future, to prepare all your muscles for physical exertion.
  • Use your fitness knowledge to support others – You may be a prime example of a healthy athlete but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support others who might not enjoy the same fitness benefits. Why not use your fitness knowledge to advise your friends and family members who are just starting out in the world of healthy living? They’ll certainly feel better for it, and so will you!
  • Enjoy regular spa therapies – What better way to relax your body after a tough day in the gym than a soothing spa session or massage? Treating your body after exercise is essential if you want to prevent injuries and feel fresh the morning after. So don’t skimp on your down-time, make spa therapy a regular habit this year!
  • Find more time for relaxation – Fitness fanatics are all the same; they work so hard and exercise so long that sometimes they meet themselves coming back! However, if you really want to live a long and healthy life, make sure you don’t overdo it. Trying to squeeze as much out of each day is one thing but missing your sleep just so you can spend an extra hour at the gym is just plain silly. Resting from exercise is vital if you want to avoid illness so make sure you get some!

Whether you’re a complete fitness beginner or seasoned health lover, coming up with a list of active New Year’s resolutions needn’t be so tough. Rather than being a chore, these resolutions should inspire you by opening your mind to new experiences. So this new year, revitalise your mind and body with some lifestyle changes large and small. It could be the dawning of a new you!

New Year's Resolutions You Should Never Make

An image of New Year's Resolutions You Should Never Make

The ‘New year, new me’ mentality only works if you actually do it. We’ve all seen the people at the festive parties bragging about the many goals they’ll be committing to, and how they’ll be a totally new person. Most of the time, the idea wears off and they divert back to their old ways. So this is our guide to avoiding the cliche resolutions you definitely shouldn’t try.

1

Quit your job

Surely drunkenly calling your boss up on New Year’s Eve and leaving an abusive voicemail about where they can stick their job is one of the worst New Year’s resolutions you can ever act on? Quitting your job over the festive period is bad news if you don’t have a new job to go to come January. Firstly, it’s bad because after Christmas your savings account is probably looking rather unhealthy. Plus, after the Christmas period lots of people look for new jobs, meaning that the competition for that position you want is going to be tougher than ever.

2

Join a band

Just because the likes of Nirvana started their epic career in a garage, it doesn’t mean you’re going to follow a similar path. Bum notes, cat scratch twangs and excessive feedback are a few things that’ll dominate your playing. Sure, if you’re already an accomplished player, then why not join others in a similar boat. Just don’t go there if the extent of your experience is primary school recorder.

3

Find someone to marry

As you might have guessed, you can’t find a wife or a husband in a catalogue. It’s not an easy business, but if you’ve had your parents nagging you to settle down all Christmas or you’ve been paraded in front of what feels like a hundred happy couples at numerous festive parties, then your desire to find someone to marry might be higher than normal. Yet, love strikes when you don’t expect it. So don’t try to plan to find “the one”; give it time and you’ll find someone when you least expect it.

4

Lose X amount of weight

So, your stomach now jiggles and you seem to have sprouted another chin, but promising yourself that this is the year you lose X amount of weight and get a body that could rival a personal trainer’s is not the answer. Big goals are unrealistic and have to be one of the worst New Year’s resolutions to make. Plus, after all of the indulging you’ve been enjoying, sticking to a healthy diet is harder than ever. Set smaller weight loss goals, like eating out less and going swimming more. You’ll achieve more, we promise.

5

Join a gym straight away

Joining a gym straight away doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to stick to it. Studies have found that 60 per cent of gym memberships go unused and that by mid-February gym attendance has subsided back to the pre-Christmas levels. Instead of joining a gym without a clue as to what you’re supposed to be doing, why not sign up to a gym class or buy a pair of running shoes? These goals will be far easier to stick to and you’ll see more benefits compared to joining the gym.

6

Travel

So you’ve booked a one-way ticket to some far-flung exotic destination. Great; so what about your house, your pets, your job, your partner, your debts? The list goes on and on. Although traveling is great, booking a flight as part of your New Year’s resolution is a bad idea. This is not a decision to be taken lightly. Plus, think about why you want to get away? Is it because you’ve just seen your ex with your best friend at a Christmas party or because you hate the monotony of your life? If it is, remember that traveling won’t sort out these issues and they’ll still be there when you come back.