As we enter a new year it is often a time for new starts, new beginnings. As part of this an estimated 32% of us will set ourselves New Year’s Resolutions.
The top 4 New Year’s Resolutions focus on health and appearance – to lose weight, to get fitter, to eat more healthily and to take more care of my appearance.
Of course we should applaud these attempts to improve our health. Recent figures released by Public Health England suggest that 80% of those aged 40-60 are overweight, drink too much or get too little exercise – obviously the impact of this on our health has an impact on our over stretched NHS.
However the motivation for many is appearance and confidence rather than the health benefits. So perhaps they suggest that we are too focussed on the superficial and on what others think of us? And perhaps they should give us cause for concern? An estimated 66% of people fail to keep their resolution for even 1 month – the effect of making and then breaking one of these resolutions actually could actually have a detrimental impact on our self-esteem.
Experts argue that you are more likely to succeed in your resolution if you focus on one thing at a time. They also suggest you are more likely to success if you tell someone your resolution and if you change your behaviour with others.
So we have a suggestion – why don’t we all commit on Twitter to a shared New Year’s Resolution to do a little thing every day for someone else and to ‘be the reason someone smiles today’.
Surely those resolutions are achievable? No grand gestures, no expensive gym membership, no beating yourself up that you are not Instagram perfect by the end of year – just one small thing every day that touches someone else. It could be as simple as saying hello to someone, asking someone how they are, making a colleague a cup of tea when they look like they might need one, letting a car out in front of you on a busy road…one small thing that makes someone smile or makes their lives easier just for that moment.
Do more of what makes you happy – do not beat yourself up by failing to keep your New Year’s Resolution past the end of January – it makes perfect sense that you are more likely to stick to a resolution that is shared and not just for yourself. Make yourself and others think more of you for what you do rather than just what you look like.
Picture yourself on December 31st 2017 – will you feel more successful fitting into that size 10 dress or having made 365 people smile over the year? Let 2017 be the year you make yourself happy by focussing on the little things. Are you in? Please join in at #littlethings2017
Laura Stuart-Neil is Lead for Quality Improvement and Allied Health Professionals at NELFT.
 The Guardian, ‘How long do people keep their New Year resolutions’, 31/12/15
 BBC News, ‘Middle age health crisis warning’, 28/12/16
 Independent, ‘New Year 2016 resolutions: how to keep them’, 01/01/16