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NY-ResolutionI am going to lose 20kg. I am going to exercise 3 times every week. I am going to phone my mother more often. I am going to drink a bit less. These, and hundreds more, are the kind of resolutions we make as the new year dawns. And by sometime in January they have usually been broken, or forgotten, or both. We’ve all done it, year after year. Most of us still do it…..

Well, now that the year is actually underway (back at work, tired again, stress returning, etc etc.) perhaps THIS is the time to revisit those well-meant resolutions. It’s not like they were bad ideas or we decided on better plans is it? It’s more likely that we got sucked into the hurly-burly of working life and lost sight of our promises to ourselves. Or we didn’t find the time for them. Or we found it hard to give up certain treats & comforts so early in our busy working year. Or we failed once and then just gave up. There are many obstacles and it’s easy to get tripped up by “life” isn’t it?

We think ANY day is a good day to start a new healthy habit and ANY day is a good day for positive change. We know it’s not easy of course, so how to make resolutions stick? There are no guarantees here but maybe this might help you: set your targets lower. Try aiming to just lose that FIRST two kilos, or go to gym THIS week, or NOT smoke today. Behaviourists are finding that when we set smaller, more immediate, more reach-able targets for ourselves, we improve our chances of success. It’s about being realistic. It is sometimes called “baby steps”. Success brings success and in this way we can develop a habit of setting targets for ourselves, ALL the time (every day, every week, etc.) and over time, we make lasting and positive changes. This approach really does work, especially if you can make it a habit.

Today is a GREAT day for positive change. Why don’t you write down just one goal for today or for this week. A small and realistic goal. Write it down and place it somewhere you’ll see it every day. Achieve the goal and then reset / repeat…

About the Author:

Colin was a medical practitioner (GP) from 1988 to 2000. Since then he has worked in the wellness field, designing, developing and delivering various products and services. Out of clinical practice for many years now he no longer practices medicine formally but retains a keen interest in helping people become more-well versions of themselves. He acts as a wellness coach and not as a medical practitioner today. Colin's approach and philosophy is based on empowerment: the notion that people only need a little help to make choices they usually already want to anyway - it's about respect and support rather than instruction or correction. Colin lives at the Vaal Dam with his wife Cathy. He spends time walking mountains, cycling, motorbike riding, kayaking, sailing and always looking for better & better balance.


  1. Anthea Samuels January 22, 2019 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Guess New Years resolution doesnt come with a starting date hey. 2019 will be the new year after 2018 till 23h59 on December 2019 then it becomes the old year. So, i guess thats says alot about setting resolutions for the new year. Mine is still a work in progress. Its now by the thinking process…still enough time to action out that thoughts. So my 20kg loss will not be one kilogram at a time but one thought at a time and you know what they say….Its the thought that counts 🙂

  2. Sandy Lotz January 22, 2019 at 9:10 am - Reply

    For you to successfully implement a new health/fitness goal, you need to ensure that your reason why is fully articulated, unpacked & committed to. You need to remind yourself regularly of your ‘why’, especially in those times when you are leaning towards ‘falling off the bus’. An example that helps is putting the WHY up on your fridge 🙂

  3. ESTE STANDER January 22, 2019 at 9:16 am - Reply

    You really don’t have to set big goals for yourself. By only doing a bit of homework on your eating habbit (you can download the app on your cellphone ‘Fatsecret” and start tracking what you eat and acitivity and it will give you an good indication on your lifestyle. It is an awesome tool to use to stick within your daily calories. It is an South African based app which provide all the ingredience/products we know. You don’t have to have a exercise routine…daily walks during lunch time and evenings – that is the best medicine for that ‘bellyfat’. Try this and you will be surprised how good you start to feel. Also take in lots of water it will keep you hidrated. Try not to walk on your own where you don’t feel safe. Enjoy!

  4. Yolisa January 22, 2019 at 9:45 am - Reply

    My thoughts on new years resolutions:)

    Firstly, I never have them, because if it doesn’t go as planned….I fail.. It starts becoming a promise to myself that is meant to be broken…forbidden fruit.

    Secondly, I try and start my year with specific goals in mind. I try not to be unrealistic and set out of reach goals. For me its all about being true to what you want and look at how best to achieve them.

  5. Athena Reynard January 22, 2019 at 10:03 am - Reply

    I completely agree with the above comment.
    I also do not have new years resolutions, I have goals.

    I write my goals big on a piece of paper (I feel by wring them out, it makes them real) and paste it inside my cupboard door. That way I see them every day.

    I list 2 goals I feel are most important and as you complete or maintain your goal, you can add another or increase the challenge. Give yourself a progress date (weigh-in) and take it from there.

  6. Nicholas Mack January 22, 2019 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Ever hear the saying, “be careful what you ask for, because you might just get it?”
    The First thing I did when I got back to work (2 Jan) was look at the new years resolutions I wrote down in my 2018 Journal.
    To my Surprise, I did not achieve any of them. thought to myself “How Pathetic”…
    But Then I thought of the things I did achieve In 2018 – went to Greece, quit an 18yr smoking habit, am happy with my weight and fitness level… Long story short, I am more happy with the 2018 resolutions I achieved, but did not ask for, than the ones I did ask for but didn’t achieve. So if I got what I asked for, I may not have been this satisfied / happy as I am now. So for 2019 I’m NOT going to commit to any NY resolutions – because failing them makes you feel Pathetic – but instead, focus on achieving small successes each an everyday and making it a Habit. Thank you for this article, the last paragraph is definitely helpful.

  7. Aziza January 22, 2019 at 10:51 am - Reply

    100% agree with the baby steps approach, but i believe that having a buddy join you keeps you more motivated to keep at it than going it alone.

    My hubby and I are both trying to get healthier and lose some weight, and so we keep each other motivated to do the exercise after work and stop each other from buying luxuries in the shops so we can eat better. 🙂

    Baby steps with a buddy is my advice for avoiding a failed resolution.

  8. Lucretia Roberts January 22, 2019 at 11:12 am - Reply

    The main goal should be wanting to be more healthy and fit. This way it takes the focus off of losing the 20kg and that way you won’t be disappointed should you not reach that goal however in the end you’ll still be fit and healthy.

  9. Carmelita Collins January 22, 2019 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Nothing worth having comes easy..hard work and dedication to the task at hand pays off step at a time, and never be too hard on is to be lived and to the full

  10. Jenay Williams January 22, 2019 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    I guess it’s a trap we all fall into, making resolutions but not always stick to it. Well the best self-advice for me is to keep on trying. Last year one off my personal goals was to seriously lose weight and live more healthy. With so many weddings, parties and the will power that does not always work with the goals, it was not an easy achievement. However I realised that standing up after each failure is really the important part to sticking to your resolutions. I did not lose much weight in 2018 but I do feel better and lighter lol. And guess what I am trying again this year as each bit helps.

  11. Stephen Stigling January 23, 2019 at 5:54 am - Reply

    I’ve come to learn over time that the new years resolutions we set is not just some nice thought we put in our minds hoping we will be able to follow through and attain’s more than’s something we value, it has substance in our being whether emotionally, physically and or psychologically… whether that be to lose weight, make contact more often with our kin, and or commit more to prayer, these goals are rooted in some depth of substance and should be elevated from within the subconscious to the conscious mind. In other words they are no longer subconscious thoughts but real goals for which we must make ourselves accountable. They are worth the labour of pain or effort in that it is about building us as a person of power in mind, body and soul.

    Whilst failing could have the effect of having surrendered some personal power to our objective or goals and make us feel less in being (some people remain unaffected though), think about the adverse effect as well…not trying is the silent malignancy that eats away at our confidence or weakens the strength of our bonds. Even the slightest nuance in a change toward achieving our goals, would inject a Viagra of confidence within our psyche to continue the race toward achieving the maximum in our objective. When the birth signs of that previously illusive six pack finally starts to show it’s lines or your bond with the family so strengthens just by the calls you make to stay in contact, you will have not only overcome and achieve, but anchored a confidence within your being that cannot be erased…it will ripple positively into other aspects of your life.

    I have started my daily 3.5km walk, train with some weights, do some erratic exercise routine and made more time to prayer in the first 3 weeks of this year, whilst I am still in the early stages of my commitment, I already feel the positive effect it has on my psyche….

  12. bhina bhugwan January 23, 2019 at 7:19 am - Reply

    I do not call them new years resolution, I call it a bhina bucket list. I keep this list and every year I try and achieve 2 things on the list. This year I have decided to go back to school as both my childen are now done. I have enrolled for an undergrad degree and am enjoying learing. second I have always wanted to be deligent in practicing meditation, I have downloaded an app called Calm and it is amazing, it has various types of meditations for focus, anxioty, calming mind and it is non religious based it just deals with daily life in a possitive way. Third I have wanted to visit Turkey and have booked my tickets.Lastly I wanted to always eat mindfully and am on the 8/16 intermitted eating diet and for the first time in my life I am enjoying a “diet” as it does not restrict what I eat only the time I eat in is restricted.

    Have a wonderful 2019 🙂

  13. Lurlin Murray January 23, 2019 at 9:44 am - Reply

    New years resolutions, are good to set goals, but most of them , the motivation gets lost in February / March
    in 2018, I had no new years resolutions but I did accomplish 2 personal goals and still working on them
    I am still busy doing part time patessiere diploma, baking and cooking is one of my hobbies, I have been actively gardening and spending more time on prioritizing and doing what needs to be done first.
    Sometimes you tend to not celebrate the small victories or each milestone you accomplish.
    We need to be more appreciative of everything that we have accomplished thus far and celebrate the small stuff

  14. Jackie Smal January 23, 2019 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Instead of setting painful goals, I am going to change my approach and do things differently. I have 3 daughters, age 3,5 and 8. It is very difficult to have time for myself and to create time for them. So for 2019 I would like to be more creative and do things in a manner where I could achieve more than one goal. For example instead of spending hours in the gym, I am planning to have more walks with them or to have dance evenings at home. With the walking and dancing activities we do not only exercise, but we will also have fun.

    The reality is that the pace of life is extremely fast and we need to be more creative to have a balanced life which results in a healthy body and mind.

  15. Hanlie January 23, 2019 at 11:48 am - Reply

    I don’t believe in new years resolutions. I think (my perception) is that everyone don’t keep their new year’s resolution. I decided to do 1 thing this year for myself. I am taking a lunch break every day. Reason: I never take lunch breaks ever – and I am more tired and irritated because there was no break in my working day.
    My 1st day back at work, I took my lunch break and read a book for 45 minutes. When I started working after my lunch break my brain was not tired and I felt fresh and good to go. I have been doing that so far everyday. I am not so tired when I get home in the afternoons as I used to be last year.
    I am planning to keep to this because I think this will make be a better me (less irritated) a better wife and mother and Sanlam employee.

  16. Andiswa Shitlhangu January 23, 2019 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    My new years resolutions don’t always go as planned. But this year I started off well, last year I almost had accidents twice then I gave up on driving in town. this year told myself that m gonna face my driving fears or else I will end up not driving. m still shaking as I drive but eventually as I get over my fears I will be driving well again. Well the other resolutions will just come as the year is going.

  17. Libby Davids January 24, 2019 at 10:11 am - Reply

    I so agree with Dr Burns
    Resolutions are visions, dreams, goals… all to better your life.
    And if you don’t accomplish, dust yourself off and try again.
    Actioning your resolutions, makes you feel better overall, even for that day or two that you will try.
    1 step at the time.
    We are human beings, the one thing that will excite you this month, will bore you maybe next month, but please go on, even if you don’t feel like it. That is living.

  18. Pheliswa January 24, 2019 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    I plan to cook more and buy less takeouts

  19. Kgomotso Mkhabela January 24, 2019 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    For me its a continuation of goals that I did not manage to achieve the previous year. I am scared to make resolutions because I am afraid to put myself under pressure. I make a list of the things I want to achieve in the new year and tick the boxes as and when achieved, if not its carried over to the next year and added with additional goals.

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