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Why do New Year’s resolutions always sound like hard work? Drink more water, hit your goal weight, save more money… How often have you set ambitious “New Year, New You” goals only to have fallen off the wagon by February? We’re definitely guilty. And we’re not alone.

New data from nutrition and food tracking app MyFitnessPal shows that while 70% of Aussies plan to set New Year’s resolutions this year, only one in ten will maintain them for the full year. So why even bother, right?

Instead, experts are now advising us to lose the “Go Big or Go Home” mentality, with psychologist, nutritionist and fitness expert Leanne Hall even calling the concept “outdated”.

“While the start of a new year is a great opportunity to rethink our health and wellbeing, setting resolutions that are too ‘big’ and unsustainable can have the opposite effect, making us feel like we’ve failed if we don’t maintain them,” she advises.

Resetting Your Health (And Sticking To It)

The best way to improve the health of our overall lifestyle, adds Hall, is to swap our big sweeping resolutions for microsteps. By choosing science-backed mini-improvements that are “too small to fail”, we’re more likely to succeed and create lasting life changes. 

 “Humans are habitual creatures, so by creating smaller healthy habits in our day-to-day routines, we’re much more likely to achieve our big goals,” says Hall.

 Author and fitness coach, Luke Hines agrees, adding that consistency is “key” when it comes to nutrition and fitness.

 “Rather than unrealistic resolutions, we should focus on setting goals that are easier to maintain. [This] will add up over time to help you reach your health goals,” he says.

Expert Tips That’ll Change Your Life

So, if you’re looking at making this year a healthier year, Hall has some advice for you. These four tips will help you stay on track with your goals today, and in the future. 

1. Focus On Mini Goals 

“Setting yourself a huge target is often unrealistic. Instead, focus on creating new smaller daily habits. For example, rather than ‘losing weight’, try being more specific and including more sustainable changes such as ‘adding more leafy greens’ or ‘adding more regular exercise into my day’. Focus on something positive you can add to your lifestyle, rather than remove.” 

2. Do A Lifestyle Habit Audit

“Everyone’s goals and lifestyle are different; the only way you can make positive long-term changes is by understanding your current nutrition and exercise habits. By logging and tracking these habits over time, you can then see more clearly the steps you need to take to make a change. Then you can choose your microstep.” 

3. Start Progress Tracking 

“When asked how to stick to healthy habits, Aussies said setting clear and achievable goals were the most important factor, followed by general repetition and visible progress tracking. Positive reinforcement works. Tracking apps are an easy way to monitor and reward progress, especially the small wins, which can help maintain motivation.” 

 4. Play The Long Game 

“It’s important to challenge yourself but by making small changes that add up over time, you’re much more likely to stick to them. Think small, but sustainable.”

In short, the reason we prefer a reset is you can’t “fail” a reset! If you get off track, remember your “why” for setting yourself that goal in the first place. For example, ‘I want to practise daily meditation because it will help me to cope with stress’

Thinking about the positive influence a goal can have on our lives reminds us exactly why we set it. Ditch the self-imposed pressure and those classic “all-or-nothing” New Year’s resolutions today and aim for mini lifestyle improvements that don’t feel like hard work. Over time, those small changes can have a big impact.

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