Fitness: If you're struggling with resolutions here are a few to make life easier over the rest of 2014
By Laura Williams
Tired of making unrealistic promises only to find that the juicer's gathering dust and the Creme Egg ads are making you salivate?
It's time for a re-think. I've taken the top traditional New Year's resolutions and turned them into do-able, effective versions for you:
■ Get out of your exercise routine rut
Instead of setting a generic target like exercising more, commit to making a specific change.
Whether your current routine consists solely of walking for the bus or long distance running, pledge to add one new activity - a circuits class or a weekly living room session of body weight exercises - to kick start your fitness routine.
■ Create a specific calorie deficit each week
Don't pledge to lose a stone. It might sound bold and exciting initially but when the takeaway's calling after a hard day, it will seem impossibly tough.
Having a strategy in place, however, to lose a pound a week via a specific plan of eating less and moving more will be easier to stick to and, by moving the figures around, you can still factor-in the odd takeaway.
Do the maths and you'll gain more control.
■ Keep kitchens and desk drawers temptation free
Pledging to give up something you love for an indefinite period of time invariably ends up with said substance making its way into your tum within, erm, about seven days.
However, making those things less accessible on a long term basis will help you reduce your intake.
Banishing bottles of Rioja from the house or oversized tubs of flapjack from your desk drawer might mean the difference between failure and success - a trip to the pub or vending machine is harder work than opening a cupboard door.
■ Work to improve your core strength
A six-pack is a big ask of your willpower. It involves ditching nearly every naughty food and alcohol habit and embracing mantras like "eat, train, sleep" which aren't compatible with a sane life (unless you're a narcissistic fitness freak).
Turning the dial down on big food portions, taking up regular cardio to help shift belly fat and then working on your deep abdominals and lower back muscles will still help to transform a post-Christmas belly into one that you'll be proud to bare on the beach by summer.
■ Take a couple of days off the sauce a week
Unless you're looking for a fashionable way to drop a load of calories under the guise of health for a few days, OTT New Year detoxes aren't necessary - your liver and kidneys have that covered.
But a few alcohol-free days a week not only gives your liver a rest, it also lessens your body's tolerance to alcohol - good news all round.
■ Balance your TV time with sweat minutes
Earn those couch potato sessions. Saturday matches will seem so much better if you made it to the gym in the morning.
There's nothing wrong with an afternoon on the sofa but when your daily steps don't even clock up to 1,000, it's time to act.
■ Sign up for a 10k race, not a marathon
Running a marathon is an amazing achievement but signing up for one is not something to be taken lightly unless you're a seasoned runner.
Instead, a 10k is still an impressive distance and a much wiser choice before you commit to its scarier big brother.
■ Get out in the fresh air every single day
It's all very well promising to manage stress levels after two weeks off but when you're back in the thick of it, there's often very little you can do to handle a hectic family life and large workload.
Taking a break from the office or living room and heading outdoors may sound too simple to be effective but studies have found direct exposure to nature can really help.
Go to laurawilliamsonline.co.uk for more fitness advice.