As the party poppers fly, the countdown ends and fireworks explode around the world as the clock strikes midnight on December 31, will you be making a new year’s resolution? People who make clear, simple and realistic resolutions are actually 10 times more likely to change than people who don’t. To help you on your way to changing your life for the better, here are eight expert approved resolutions for you to take into the new year.
The resolution: I will have a regular pap smear.
Why it’s important: “Pap smears are vital in the early detection of cervical cancer,” states Dr Eleanor Chew, previously the Chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. “Statistics show that 85 per cent of women who develop cervical cancer have not had a recent pap smear.”
How to do it: If you’re aged 18 and over and have had sex – even just once – you need to book in for a pap smear with your GP every two years. You may need longer than the standard consult time, so check with the receptionist when you make a booking.
The exercise physiologist
The resolution: I am going to set an exercise routine – and commit to it.
Why it’s important: “People have the best intentions to start or maintain an exercise routine, however as their enthusiasm starts to fade, so does their exercise,” says exercise physiologist Zac Jefcoate. “The key to balance and results is getting back to basics, making a fundamental plan and sticking to this.”
How to do it: “You need to be honest with yourself in terms of how much exercise you can manage, when you can exercise and the associated costs,” says Jefcoate. This helps you avoid biting off more than you can chew time-wise, fitness-wise and financially, as overdoing it can lead to you calling it quits.
The hair dresser
The resolution: I am going to ensure my hair colour stays fresh and vibrant.
Why it’s important: “Confidence comes from the head down,” says Jack Morton, TONI&GUY Educational Director of Victoria and AHFA Creative Colourist of the Year. Morton also explains that colouring is not just about covering greys. “Colour also promotes glossy, shiny, moisturised hair and can enhance the look of your natural colour,” he says.
How to do it: This is an easy resolution to maintain. “Simply rebook your colouring appointment for six- to eight-weeks’ time after each appointment. And definitely leave colouring to the professionals!” says Morton.
The beauty guru
The resolution: I am going to have regular facials.
Why it’s important: “Skin is your largest organ, so taking care of the outside of your body is therefore just as important as taking care of the inside,” says endota spa’s skincare expert, Cara Doncovio. “If you don’t take the necessary preventative measures or the time to detoxify and treat the skin on a regular basis, you can expect to experience congestion and a build-up in the skin which are the most common causes of blemishes and breakouts.”
How to do it: “Treat your facial treatment just like you would a dentist or doctor’s appointment and schedule them in your diary regularly,” says Doncovio. She suggests buying a series of facial treatments as this can reduce the cost of each session, and ensures you’re not just going to have a one-off facial.
The resolution: I am going to set a plan for eating my favourite food.
Why it’s important: “It’s insane to think that you’ll never eat chocolate, or your favourite treat ever again, but often that’s what women resolve to do,” says accredited practising dietitian, Lisa Renn. “It’s important to eat the things you enjoy, but do so in a healthy and controlled manner. If you ban treats totally you’ll rebel, overeat and end up feeling guilty. Instead, you want to start the new year with a new behaviour – not a new diet.”
How to do it: Select three days a week that you’ll have your chocolate treat, then set the time of day you’ll have it, and the amount – two or three squares is ideal, and lastly sit down and savour it mindfully. To avoid the temptation of eating more than your allocation, or eating your three days’ portions in one go, Renn says it’s best to buy individually wrapped portions. Plan it, don’t ban it!
The fashion stylist
The resolution: I am going to embrace the body shape I have – not the body I want.
Why it’s important: “Every woman is unique and beautiful and we spend way too much time focusing on what we don’t like about ourselves rather than what we do like. Let’s turn this around in the new year,” says personal fashion stylist Caitlin Stewart.
How to do it: “Remind yourself each day about what you love about your body and what clothing items make you feel good and accentuate these things,” says Stewart. She also finds that positive affirmations can help, as can wearing a touch of lipstick, and wearing colours and accessories that lift your mood. “If we feel good, we present well and perform better in both our personal and professional lives,” states Stewart.
The Personal Trainer
The resolution: I am going to set a goal – and write it down.
Why it’s important: “The act of writing down a goal and mapping out exactly what is required of you to achieve it is not only important, but highly motivating and empowering,” explains personal trainer Genevieve Brock. “Goal setting is paramount in changing behavioural and mindset patterns and by making this resolution, you’re giving yourself the tools to change your life.”
How to do it: Select a precise goal with a fixed timeframe and write this down, as well as listing the things you need to do each day in order to achieve the goal. “Refer to this as often as possible,” says Brock. “Creating small, consistent daily habits is the key to success.”
The resolution: I’m planning to have a balanced life with adequate sleep, rest, exercise, healthy eating and self-care.
Why it’s important: “I would love all women to make this resolution because it is something simple, doable, sustainable and relates to both their physical and mental wellbeing,” says psychologist Meredith Fuller. She says this resolution is so important because it actually underscores everything else in our lives, such as relationships, work and other goals. “Self-care needs to be ongoing and provide a good foundation for your life,” Fuller says.
How to do it: “You need to be specific about what you are going to do, you need to have a clear start date and then you need to take action,” explains Fuller. For example, “I pledge to go to bed 30 minutes earlier starting this Monday,” or “I am going to block out two hours each week to do a grocery shop, starting this Saturday.” The best way to make this happen is to write it down somewhere visual such as on your phone note app, in your calendar or diary, or on the fridge.