The end of the year is typically welcomed with gluttony, sleep-ins, expensive holidays and far too much wine.
If the silly season has left you feeling worse for wear, it can be tempting to see the New Year as a fresh start for your health, finances and general wellbeing.
However, while New Year’s resolutions are a human tradition, two out of three Australians fail to keep them.
Rather than kicking the year off with unrealistic expectations and disappointment, adopt these realistic resolutions from the experts.
Peter Horsfield, financial advisor
1. Start. It’s action that will make you successful. If all you do is daydream or worry about making a decision there is a great chance you will never achieve your goals. Now’s the time to start saving for that holiday, open that term deposit or invest that money.
2. Make your goals personal. You are going to receive the most personal and financial satisfaction if your financial goals are all about what’s important to you.
3. Reward yourself. Run your personal finances like a business. When you have worked hard and achieved a result above your targets, you expect a bonus. So when you do the same in your own personal financial goals, give yourself a small reward.
4. Focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t. For example, you can control your regular savings and expenses but you can’t control the share or property markets. Regular savings, reinvesting returns for compounding and seeking out low administration cost investments are all within your control. Stop chasing that next hot investment, highest return or asset class.
5. Hold yourself accountable. Identify the gap between current reality and your goals and document a game plan that you will have to put into action. Ask someone you trust to monitor your progress.
Meredith Fuller, career psychologist
6. Dress the part. Aim to have a wardrobe that is one role up from what you do, so each day you wear something of quality like a well-cut jacket, suit or formal briefcase. On top of that, get into the habit of laying your clothes out the night before.
7. Schedule 15 minutes per day to personally review your progress in regards to big plans and smaller daily tasks.
8. Start taking deep breaths before any meetings with your superiors to ensure you appear calm and in control.
9. Endeavour to give at least one person some positive feedback every day.
10. Ask a colleague if you can do anything to improve your work at least once a week. Similarly, regularly ask colleagues whether there is anything you can do to help them out or make their job easier.
Sarah Leung, dietitian and nutritionist
11. Look beyond fad diets. Focus on the nutrients and the nourishment of your food rather than the kilojoules and stop beating yourself up if you eat something indulgent.
12. Be more organised. Make your meals from scratch (they don’t have to be Masterchef-level stuff), visit the market on the weekend to buy ingredients and prepare for your meals ahead of time.
13. Double or triple the amount of vegetables in your main meal. Only around 8.2 per cent of Aussies meet the daily fruit and vegetable intake requirements. Aim for at least two to three cups of vegetables in each meal.
14. Eat enough during main meals. If you eat too little or have a quick lunch you often get an energy slump or sugar craving later on. Make sure your meals contain adequate vegetables, protein, healthy fats and oils and unrefined carbs.
15. Clean your pantry. A lot of people go through the cupboards when they’re bored and consume a lot of refined flours, biscuits and sugary processed food. Restock the pantry with fresh fruit, homemade healthy snacks, wholegrains and high-fibre crackers.
Susan Papazian, fitness coach
16. Walk around the block every day. Get into the habit of moving every day because it has a roll-on effect.
17. Practise breathing. Each morning, do breathing and stretching exercises. It may seem simple, but oxygen helps to burn fat.
18. Multitask. Focus on short bursts of exercise in your downtime. Squat while you’re cooking, do push-ups off the kitchen bench and when you’re watching television use every commercial break to do some squats or crunches.
19. Fix your posture. Sitting up straight and stretching your back regularly will lengthen your spine and encourage more core strength. Your posture has a significant impact on your physical and mental wellbeing so eradicating the hunch will have immediate benefits.
20. Get your heart rate up daily. Getting all huffy puffy, even if only for a couple of minutes, will aid your cardiovascular fitness.
Peter Jankowski, relationship counsellor
21. Turn the television off. You might be physically together with your loved ones while watching TV, but you’re not emotionally together. Instead, have a coffee, go for a walk, head outside or have a chat.
22. Don’t talk about work. When you discuss your job, it’s usually negative venting. Instead, focus on more positive conversations about upcoming holidays and favourite memories, share photos or Skype with friends overseas.
23. Stop using SMS to say ‘I love you’. Take the time to make a phone call instead. Your voice is like a hand which reaches out to your loved one. It’s more personal.
24. Say something nice once a day. Whether you compliment their clothes or simply say ‘it’s nice to see you’, people appreciate praise.
25. Think before you speak.