A brand New Year and with it for many will come reflection on the previous year and hopes for a happier and healthier year ahead.  Health and Wellbeing goals are often and understandably at the top of the agenda of many New Year’s resolutions; quitting smoking, getting fit, weight loss and improving ‘work life balance’ being some of the top changes that people hope to make.  So why is it so difficult to succeed in making changes?

Despite our best efforts a quarter of resolutions will be abandoned by the end of the first week of the New Year.  There are 4 main reasons cited for this when it comes to change; expectation of the amount of change that will take place, the speed of that change, the ease of change and effect this change will have on other aspects of one’s life.  A good example of this is weight loss, people often expect too much, too quickly and underestimate the effort and long lasting modifications needed to sustain changes.

So here are our 8 ways to make long lasting changes in 2018:

1. Start small and be realistic:  Resolutions need to be small, measurable and achievable, simply promising to ‘Getting Healthy’ isn’t specific enough and the goal posts are easily changed.  Consider breaking the goal down into smaller monthly goals which are reviewed and expanded on every few weeks.

2. Focus on Process, Not Results:  Resolutions like “losing weight” and “getting organised” focus on a result, with no identification of the process for how to get there.  Instead, for example focus on going for daily walks or eating healthy salads for lunch.  These strategies will probably end in the same amount of weight loss but you will enjoy the journey a lot more.

“The purpose of a resolution should be the process — the infinite present moments in which transformation will occur — rather than waiting for the single instance of its attainment” Sarah Rudell Beach (2016).


3. Be positive:  Highlighting your goals in a positive way can help you stick to them.  For example if you want to reduce your alcohol consumption at home, replace it with something positive like a Meditation class. Stop thinking about what you are missing, but rather what you are gaining.

4. Seek help and advice:  Talking through your goals with family and friends can help motivate and keep you on track.  However if this is not enough then consider talking to a professional who can help you set realistic goals and help keep changes on course.

5. Be open to different options and opportunities:  Being too rigid in your resolutions can mean that opportunities can be missed.  Rather than not succeeding with the same strategy as last year, try something different which challenges you.  For example try a Yoga class to help you relax and revive for weekend family time or a hypnotherapy session to help you stop smoking.

6. Buddy Up:  If trying something new sounds daunting then team up with a friend or partner working towards similar goals.  Or join a class and enjoy the benefits of being in a group of like-minded people with similar goals.

7. Track progress and Reward yourself:  One of the most accepted notions in psychology is the principle that behaviour eventually extinguishes itself if not followed by reward (Polivy and Herman 2002).  Keeping record of changes and achievements will help you keep on track and reward yourself regularly with something that doesn’t contradict your resolution for example a relaxing reflexology session or massage.

8. Be kind to yourself:  If things do not go to plan be self-compassionate and  recognise that being imperfect, failing and experiencing difficulties in life is inevitable.

“When we fall short, we can gently and non-judgmentally bring our awareness back to our intention. That’s really the purpose of setting resolutions — bringing a kind awareness to our behavior, recognizing when we’ve wandered, and beginning again. And again…”  (Sarah Rudell Beach 2016).

Here at Rowan House we can provide you with the environment, expertise, classes and therapies needed to help make successful changes.  Join us for our New Years event on Saturday 6th January where you can try many of our services that can help you make long lasting changes in 2018.

For more information on this event follow this link: