sickness serif;”>Rebecca Lambe investigates how to stick to your new year’s resolutions.

discount serif;”>The start of a new year is, for many people, the perfect time to make a lifestyle change. The old year is left behind and the clean slate that a new one promises inspires people to make positive changes to their lives. Whether you want to quit smoking or shed the pounds that piled on over Christmas, it is no doubt a challenge and one that can become increasingly difficult as the holidays end and classes resume.

If you’ve made it your new year’s resolution to give up smoking, then you’ve taken a step in the right direction. Making the decision to quit is a daunting first step. There are many ways to go about it, so it’s important to find out what will work best for you. Many people chose a ‘cold turkey’ approach to quitting, relying solely on willpower to get through the cravings, but there are more options out there. Nicotine Replacement Therapy can make quitting more bearable as it reduces the physical symptoms of withdrawal. NRT can come in the form of gum, patches or inhalers. Depending on the level of your nicotine addiction, your doctor or pharmacist can recommend what will work best for you.

It is quite common to relapse when trying to quit smoking so it’s important to remember the reasons why you quit. It can be helpful to write these down and read them every day or whenever you feel like having a cigarette. Remember that there is no such thing as one cigarette – that’s where the addiction began in the first place. When you are hit by a craving it is important to stay away from anyone who is smoking and find a way to distract yourself. Take things one day at a time. If you do relapse and smoke, it’s not the end of the world. Many ex-smokers try to quit several times before they succeed, so instead of giving up, take a deep breath (not of a cigarette) and review your reasons for quitting. Learn from the mistake and try again. There is a lot of help out there. Take a look at websites such as and get help if you need it. You don’t have to do it alone.

Another popular new year’s resolution is to lose weight and do more exercise. Whether you want to drop the pounds that you picked up over the holidays or make a more radical change to your diet and fitness level, it is important to set realistic goals. It’s vital to remain healthy, so don’t try to lose a lot of weight too quickly and try to build up your fitness level over time not overnight. Set short term goals. Instead of focusing on losing 20lbs, focus on the small milestones like the first 5lbs. Reduce the number of calories you eat and increase the level of exercise you do daily. It seems simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

There is a lot of support out there for people trying to lose weight and get fit. Your doctor can help you to set realistic goals and there are many groups out there that can help, such as Weight Watchers. UCD have exercise programmes in place like Bootcamp and Get in Gear that can be useful regardless of your fitness level. Planning ahead is a great way to keep momentum going. Make a healthy meal plan in advance and take your schedule into account so that you won’t make poor dietary decisions because you’re short on time. Plan on regular exercise and make it part of your daily routine. Make sure to drink lots of water and stay hydrated, especially as you increase exercise. If you slip up it doesn’t mean that all your work is wasted. Re-evaluate your goals and make sure they’re realistic. Don’t be discouraged and don’t let one mistake undo all your progress.