It's happened again. You've spent an entire year determined to exercise every single morning before going to work, to start that hobby you used to be good at as a teenager, or to get eight hours of sleep a night instead of five. You're not alone. We've all been there.

Every month you’ve said to yourself: ‘this is the month I turn myself into perfection’ and every month you’ve not quite managed it. And now? Another year has gone by, you’re in the same shape as you were 12 months ago, just as tired if not more and still not an expert in that hobby you were going to start up again. But hey… another year, another chance, right?

Have you ever wondered if your resolutions are a little extreme or just downright unachievable? Goals are good, don’t get us wrong, but if they’re too extreme they’re only going to have a negative impact. It’s high time we learnt to set goals that don’t set us up for failure, so we’ve put together some ideas by taking the top ten New Year’s resolutions and making them much more achievable.

1. Exercise more

How to make it achievable
Anything involving exercise is a great New Year’s resolution. There is no natural medicine better than the endorphins that are activated when your body gets moving. But convincing yourself you’re going to get up at 6am in the winter to go the gym or run six miles within three weeks is not the way to go about it.

Think more along the lines of: "Three times a week I’m going to go for a run and hopefully by the end of the six weeks I’ll be able to run three miles in a row", or "On workdays I’m going to get off the bus earlier so I have a 15-minute walk to work".

2. Lose weight

How to make it achievable
At one point or another in your lifetime you’ve likely been on a diet with the hope of losing weight. But how many times have you ‘eaten healthily’ for a week and then binged on junk food for the next? Losing weight is a sensitive subject that is personal to everyone.

We all have wobbly bits we might not like but the thing to remember is just that – we all have them. And we’re not talking about the social media influencers who rely heavily on good genes and Photoshop and Instagram filters; we’re talking about the everyday person juggling their job with kids, stress, socialising and a lack of time for relaxation.

When it comes to losing weight don’t be unkind to yourself and certainly don’t let your New Year’s resolution be "I’m never going to eat cheese or drink wine ever again". There are sensible and healthy ways to diet out there should you be looking to achieve better health through weight loss. One example is Cheats & Eats, a lifestyle programme designed to let you diet without the restrictions. A new year diet plan should be tailored to you and with Cheats & Eats this is entirely possible.

3. Eat more healthily

How to make it achievable
This is another resolution we can really get behind. When it comes to health and wellbeing a nutrient-dense diet is the best armour you can wear.

But telling yourself you’ll eat more healthily, full stop, is not the way forward. When you’ve got an entire family to cook for, you’re running late for work or you haven’t got the funds to buy six avocados as part of your weekly shop, set achievable aims. Tell yourself, "I’m going to cook the correct portion size of carbohydrates for each meal’, or "I’ll allow myself one chocolate bar a week, but the rest of the days I’ll replace it for a healthier snack", or "I’m going to replace the sugar on my cereal for fruit".

We all have days when we haven’t eaten quite enough vegetables and these are the days to consider a multivitamin, too.

4. Take a more active approach to health

How to make it achievable
This resolution is already ahead of the game because it involves doing. To take an active approach to health try making some really simple changes to your lifestyle.

Instead of saying you’ll sign up to the gym next week, go for a walk now; instead of saying you’re going to cut down on sugar, start writing a food diary straight away so you can identify areas for improvement. Using an activity tracker is a sure-fire way to encourage you to take an active approach to health.

5. Learn a new skill or hobby

How to make it achievable
Taking up a hobby is an excellent way to spend time on yourself and commit to something you enjoy. But is it achievable? More often than not people start hobbies and give them up, because in reality they either don’t have the time to commit or they’re not actually enjoying themselves.

If, by the time 5.30pm comes, you're sitting at your desk regretting signing up for Tuesday evening salsa classes, don’t kick yourself that it’s just not for you. Sign up for something you know you really want to do, not something you think would be impressive in conversation.

And starting a new hobby doesn’t have to mean paying a small fortune. If you know you’ll enjoy knitting, if all you want to do is cosy up with a good book or if salsa is right up your street, then go for it. A hobby is something that should make you feel happy.

6. Spend more time on personal wellbeing

How to make it achievable
After the indulgence of the Christmas holidays, everyone has plenty to say about diet. New Year’s resolutions are overwhelmingly focused on aesthetics, weight gain and food without there being enough focus on resolutions for mental health – one of the single most important parts of overall wellbeing.

Spending more time on your personal wellbeing is a great resolution, but us humans work better with specific targets. So how about this? Commit to taking three deep breaths every morning when you wake up, followed by writing down one thing you want to achieve, one thing you’re grateful for and one thing you’re going to do for yourself today.

7. Spend more time with family and friends

How to make it achievable
Spending time with family and friends is not just enjoyable, it’s good for you. But finding time for family that doesn’t include taking the kids to school or hoovering up a mess can be tricky. One thing we all need to do, though, is eat.

This year make one of your resolutions to eat dinner as a family. That way you’re also reducing the temptation to grab a ready-made meal on your way home from work. For home-made cooking inspiration take a look at these recipes.

8. Drink less alcohol

How to make it achievable
Of course, having the odd glass of wine or two is something most of us do, but people often drink over the recommended number of units of alcohol per week. So how can you make this goal more achievable?

Rather than sitting on the sofa empty-handed, try replacing your weekday glass of wine with tonic water and fresh lime and lemon slices. And when you’re out socialising, keep a note of how many glasses you’ve had to stop yourself going overboard. Alcohol Concern has a free app that lets you keep track of what you drink each day and also tells you how much money you've saved.

9. Stop smoking

How to make it achievable
There’s no doubt this is a habit that’s best to kick. More than one in five heart disease deaths are caused directly by smoking. In fact, smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to those who have never smoked.

One study found that even women who are light to moderate smokers are almost twice as likely to die from sudden cardiac death than non-smokers. But quitting smoking is easier said than done. If you think you’re going to struggle cutting out nicotine completely at first, tell yourself this will be a slow process that you’ll begin with nicotine patches.

10. Other

Let’s use this last point to enforce how okay it is for New Year's resolutions to be simple and how important it is for them to be tailored to you. No goal is too small and the more specific the better.

Remember: your goals are for your own benefit and no one else’s.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn't possible, supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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