New YEAR – New YOU 2020

Okay, it might not be January 1st, but don’t let that put you off having a great goal for this year. They say the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago… the second-best time is right now. Starting a few days late, or doing a month-long challenge in February rather than January (it’s shorter, too!) is no less of an achievement. In the SR4U office we are looking to get fit, cut down on our alcohol consumption and manage our money more effectively. Does this ring any bells? Here are a few ideas of what to pick as your 2020 resolutions and how to stick to them!

Did you know?

It’s estimated that only one in three/four adults in the UK make New Year’s resolutions, and that only 50% of those manage to keep them. Interestingly, this is quite a low number compared to America, where around half of adults make resolutions. Losing motivation and giving up on good intentions are a common outcome, and most resolutions are ditched by February. However, if you have a goal you want to achieve this year, you’re far more likely to succeed if you officially call it a resolution (and write it down!) than by randomly aiming at it.

Exercise is Key!

New Years resolutions are generally health based – whether that’s giving up smoking or alcohol, losing weight, doing more exercise or sticking to a diet. If fitness is on your agenda for this year, you might be interested to know about the free swimming sessions at the Plymouth Life Centre. Not only can you swim for free at certain times, but there are also discounted climbing sessions for students, too. Check out the link for more details.

If heading to the gym is more your style, there are always membership offers at this time of year to draw you in. SR4U is partnering up with some top local gyms to offer you great deals. Watch our social media posts in the new year as we will be collaborating with Pure Gym to offer some exciting opportunities!

Dry Gin or Dry Jan?

Fitness challenges don’t just have to be about exercise. You can improve your health by looking at your diet and changing unhealthy habits. If you could do with a few weeks off the bottle after Christmas extravagances, #DryJan could be a resolution for you (and don’t worry if, actually, you did have a drink or two during the first week of the month. Better to get something out of the challenge than nothing at all). Dry January is about resetting your relationship with alcohol. Giving up alcohol isn’t just for those with drinking problems – even if you just drink occasionally, there are benefits from giving up alcohol for a few weeks. Data published in 2018 by the Royal Free Hospital (published in the British Medical Journal), found that a month off alcohol lowers blood pressure, reduces diabetes risk, lowers cholesterol, and also reduces levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood. During Dry January last year, 88% of participants managed to save money, 71% slept better and 58% lost weight.

It’s all about the Money! Money! Money!

Giving up alcohol isn’t the only way to save money. After Christmas and New Year, a lot of us can feel broke and need to pay more attention to our funds. This is particularly true for students whose loans are paid in in January and can be tempted to overspend when money comes in. If you want to sort out your finances, look at the student page on Money Saving Expert for guidance on how to better organise your finances.

If you like a challenge and having set goals, how about the 2020 1p Saving Challenge? This is based on the £1 challenge, where each week you put away an amount that increases on the week before – £1 the first week, £2 the second… up to £52 in the last week of the year. Though easy to begin with, it gets really hard by the end of the year! If you managed it, you’d have over £1,000 in savings by the end of the year. Skint Dad blog recommends doing it with a starting goal of 1p instead. It might seem like this is pointless and won’t add up to anything, but following his method, you can gather more than £650 by the end of the year. Check out his website for templates and information.

The Skies are your Limit!

New Years resolutions don’t have to be about fitness or money – people can give up (or take up) all kinds of things. Instead of trying to cut down on chocolate or go running more often, how about vowing to learn a new language (Duolingo is great – free and fun!) and practice once a week? Or how about deciding to give more back to the community and find a volunteering opportunity, even if it’s just a few times a year? Giving up disposable coffee cups and recycling more can be great for the environment even if it’s just a small, easy change. Challenge yourself with something that really matters this year.

Don’t just ‘say it’ – ‘do it’

  • Tell people about it. Be accountable to friends and family who can check up on how you’re doing. Most importantly – write it down!
  • Set a reasonable goal. If something is too difficult to achieve, you’re unlikely to succeed. Also, set a goal that’s clear and firm. Just saying ‘lose weight in 2020’ isn’t as good a goal as ‘lose a stone in 2020’. ‘Drink less alcohol’ is harder to measure than ‘drink two units a week only’.
  • Don’t give up entirely if you have a setback or relapse. Smoking one cigarette shouldn’t make you throw away three months of hard work – brush it off, and keep going. If you’ve given up sweet snacks and give in to one biscuit, don’t think ‘well I might as well eat the whole box, now’. Everyone has setbacks. It doesn’t mean you have to give up.
  • Break down your goal, if you can. If your resolution is ‘run a half marathon by the end of the year’, first set mini goals like ‘run a 5k by April’ and ‘run a 10k by July’. Break it into manageable and achievable goals.