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How to set New Year's Resolutions for a healthy 2021

This time of year is associated with New Year’s Resolutions and setting goals for the coming months. Having goals can be really helpful for some people, however, others may find it has a negative impact as they can add to feelings of stress and pressure.

If you feel you’d like to set some goals here are a few practical things to think about:

Set yourself up for success:

Think about setting small, realistic and achievable goals initially, rather than immediately going for a great big one. Achieving your smaller goals can provide just as much satisfaction. You’re also likely to get a much better feeling of flying past your small goals, than struggling to just meet a bigger, tougher goal.

Take the pressure off:

The last thing any of us need in 2021 is extra pressure - we had enough of that last year! Instead of setting a brand new goal, are there are positive changes that you started in 2020 that you could continue in 2021? Could you make a goal of continuing these in 2021?

Be patient with yourself:

2020 has been a tough year, so try not to rush to tick off your goals or achieve too much too soon. Allow yourself the time to work on your goals and form new habits. We are still living in challenging times so don’t get too frustrated if new habits take a bit longer than you’d like. As humans we are often attracted to a quick fix, but that delayed gratification will be worth it.

Here’s a few suggestions for goals that may give you some inspiration. Remember that the goals you set should be personal to you and finding the right ones can take some time, so don’t feel you need to have these written down by the 1st of January.

  • Plan out 3 days of meals at a time

  • Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day

  • Eat at least one meal a day without any distractions (e.g. no phone or TV)

  • Choose wholemeal pasta, brown rice, or wholegrain breads instead of white

  • Drink a glass of water on waking up in the morning

  • Take a daily vitamin D supplement with a meal

  • Practice mindful eating once a day for a minute

  • Switch to decaf coffee after 2pm

  • Try out 2 new recipes each month

  • Go for a 10-minute walk at every lunchtime

  • Avoid screen time an hour before going to bed

  • Swap milk or white chocolate for 70% (or above) dark chocolate

Dr Laura Wyness is an award winning Registered Nutritionist specialising in evidence-based nutrition writing, workplace wellness and online nutrition consultations. Contact Laura for any enquiries:

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