Susannah Taylor: Why I’m ditching the resolutions

Sweeping New Year resolutions rarely work – that whole ‘New Year, new you’ chat is far too unrealistic. But what if you can’t even stick to the small things? What if you’ve tried many times to exercise three times a week or quit sugar in your tea and you fail every time? Here are some tips to make this year the one where change sticks…

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Set intentions not resolutions

Personal trainer Michael Brigo ( says the reason resolutions don’t work is because they inspire negative thoughts. It’s like saying to yourself: ‘I’m lazy/I can’t stick to a regime’, which sets you up with a negative mindset. Michael says we should be setting ourselves intentions instead: ‘These motivate us to live better.’

So how should we create a wellness intention? First, we should discover the reason we want to change. A resolution, for example, would be: ‘I need to give up smoking’. An intention would be: ‘What do I want to change? How will I feel when I achieve it?’ Michael recommends writing down the answers and how you aim to achieve your goal – DIY (do it yourself), DIWY (do it with you, eg, with someone else), or DIFY (someone does it for you). This, he says, will help us work towards lasting change.

Check your wellbeing ‘bank account’

Personal trainer Matt Roberts suggests taking advantage of the wellness tech on offer. ‘Understanding your sleep, heart rate, blood glucose levels, stress hormones and more will allow you to take control of how you make positive change,’ he says. Like avoiding looking at your bank account – ‘It might be scary,’ says Matt, ‘but unless you look you can’t fix the problem.’ Matt recommends two apps: SuperSapiens is a blood glucose monitor which ensures you are fuelling your body correctly, while Whoop monitors sleep, workload, stress as well as nutrition, training and recovery.

Think yourself healthier

Athletes harness the power of visualisation all the time, imagining themselves winning a race or scoring a goal. Personally, I believe if we can see something in our mind’s eye we are far more able to achieve it. Before a big presentation, for example, I will imagine myself delivering a fearless speech. Research shows that our brains find it hard to decipher between what’s imagined or reality, so if we visualise success we are firing up more positive neural pathways which in turn create positive behaviour in ourselves.

To apply this to wellbeing, frequently imagine yourself achieving your goals, whether that’s feeling fit or conquering a challenge. Imagine precisely how it would make you feel, physically and mentally.

Play the long game

Avoid falling for quick fixes. Rhian Stephenson, nutritionist and founder of new wellbeing membership portal, suggests setting yourself a six-month goal instead. ‘Great habits around health and nutrition take time and consistency,’ she says.

Never say ‘I can’t’

Rhian believes we need to be conscious of the inner language we use. For example, ‘I don’t want this’ is far more empowering than saying ‘I can’t have this’ as it suggests you are in control, not your circumstances. Rhian also suggests we remind ourselves why we are making certain food decisions. Instead of telling yourself you’re not allowed that chocolate croissant, tell yourself it’s because you know it causes your mood and energy to crash.’

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Paradise in a bar

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