The New Year Resolutions NOT To Make (and two to do)


Every year we decide that the incoming year will be the one when we will get fit/lose weight/find love/drink less/find a new job/learn Japanese. Losing weight and exercising top the polls of all New Year resolution lists but is New Year the right time to make a resolution to change your habits and embark on a new you?  The weather is horrible, the days are short and giving up chocolate and embarking on a punishing exercise schedule will only add to the misery.  If you’re menopausal you can time the misery by about 100. Also, surveys show that over half of all resolutions are given up by January 31st.

If New Year isn’t a good time to start a change of lifestyle then when is? For me, September, traditionally the start of the new school year, feels like a time of new beginnings. As a perpetual student always looking for the next course I always get excited at start of a new school year. For others, a birthday, especially a big birthday, propels them towards a change of direction.

Regardless of when you decide to work towards a new you here are three  resolutions NOT to make and two to make if you are determined that the new Year will be the year the real you emerges.

Don’t go on a diet, not on New Year’s day. Not ever.  They don’t work on a long term basis. A diet that restricts calorie intake will shed the pounds initially but the weight shed is from glycogen, lean tissue and water, not fat!. Once your body catches on to what’s happening it starts to balance your energy output with your energy input and the weight loss plateaus. Following a plateau, you will need to eat even less to carry on losing weight. The best way to lose weight is to make long term changes to your diet and lifestyle. Five years ago, I lost a stone and a half which dropped my dress size from a 12 to an 8. I’ve kept the weight off with no effort but I’ll discuss this in a later post. New Year is not the time!

If you are determined to lose weight in the coming year start by making some healthy changes to your diet. Eat more fruit and veg and try swapping biscuits and sweets for Nakd bars. These are a delicious alternative to chocolate and are made from nuts, dates and raisins with a dash of flavouring.  They are part of your five a day and contain nothing artificial and no added sugar. They are available from the ‘free from’ aisle in most supermarkets and from Amazon. I have also swapped milk chocolate for dark chocolate with an 85% cocoa content (per 100g), which is healthier as long as you have a couple of squares not a full block! Instead of following the latest fad diet in a magazine check out The Eatwell Guide on the NHS website.  The Eatwell Guide – NHS (

Don’t deprive yourself of something you really like unless it is harming your health. If you need to quit smoking or gambling your lunch money away then try to stop now. Don’t wait until the beginning of the year or the next big birthday.  However, if  someone is handing out the mince pies/Milk Tray/cream cakes then have one (or half the box if it’s Milk Tray and you’re me). If you deprive yourself of something you really like, you will just end up craving it and then having more of it.

Don’t take up a punishing exercise regime, it’s not sustainable. Joining a gym in January is a miserable business.  They’re packed to the ginnels with people starting their New Year’s resolutions. Of course, in 2021 Covid restrictions might mean that your local gym is closed anyway.  If you really want to get into the exercise habit try walking (see the post-dated 6th December Walking Through the Menopause) or joining an on-line class. If you are determined that 20121 is the year the Jane Fonda leggings get their first outing since the eighties then in my experience the best time to join the gym is in March when people have generally stopped punishing themselves for the excesses of Christmas and the gyms are touting  special offers to lure people in. If you’re exercising at home try to make sure your exercise includes  FABS (flexibility, aerobic, balance and strength). In the coming weeks I’ll be posting some exercise routines especially for menopausal and post-menopausal women.  In the meantime, check out the  Get fit for free – NHS ( for exercise guidelines and suggestions.

 Two resolutions to make

Don’t buy any new clothes.  It’s good for the planet and your finances.  If you can resist the January sales it’s quite an easy one to start and keep. Last  year I managed it with one exception – I was invited to an Indian wedding and needed to buy an appropriate outfit so I had a tiny splurge.   If you have the urge to shop try charity shops or second-hand online market places such as  Depop  DepopUp UK’s Shop – Depop  Don’t be put off my the fact that it looks like it’s just for teenagers.  I’ve had some amazing bargains, a Jack Wolfskin jacket for £6, Rebecca Minkoff Brogues with the tags on for £10 and a gorgeous velvet top by Mango for £4.

Buy a weekly planner and fill it in every week with small goals as well as reminders for the week ahead and cross them off when completed.  The resolution is to fill it in every week and try to keep to the small goals.  If you don’t quite manage everything then there’s always the next  day or the week after. For example, you could write ‘walk’ for Sundays and Wednesdays.  You might not manage  a long walk but a walk to the shops counts so you then cross it off as job completed.  I have ‘make smoothie’ on for every other day so that I make one, drink half and have the rest the next day.  I also add reminders to check my blood pressure, do my stretches walk.  If you are thinking of taking up a sporting activity or new hobby then make it a goal to look into it first for example add ‘check out Tae Kwando lessons’ to the planner. Having looked it up you can cross it off and for the next week add ‘think about Tae Kwando’ lessons. This will keep it in your mind and you are more likely to make a start at some point.  I had ‘think about Belly Dancing classes’ on my planner for five weeks before I finally booked classes. Five months later I was on stage belly dancing (not because I was good at it – it was showcase of the classes taught at the dance theatre but hey, it was a stage and I danced!).  If you are going to make resolutions and set goals then a planner is going to get you started.


white and pink floral card





Carole Ludlow

I was terrified of going through the menopause and whilst I glided through relatively unscathed, I didn't entirely escape its attempts to knock me down I firmly believe there is a positive side the menopause and to being an older woman in the 21st century. In my fifties I trained as a fitness instructor, which I did as a side hustle to my regular job of a college librarian. I also took up belly dancing and danced on stage in a city theatre and created my own fitness classes with hula hoops. Last year at the age of 61 I ditched the library job and now buy and sell vintage jewellery, run fitness classes and work part time from home in a customer services role. It ain't over till its over.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.