Every year, we are incredulous at just how quickly Christmas comes round. Suddenly it’s upon us – and then just as quickly it’s all over and we’re left taking down the decorations, looking ahead into the cold, bitter face of January and wondering: what now? How will I better myself this year? Should I start something? Stop something? Where do I begin?
According to Statistic Brain, the top 5 New Year’s resolutions are to:
- Lose weight
- Get organised
- Spend less and save more
- Enjoy life to the fullest
- Get fit and healthy
While the top 5 may vary slightly from year to year, there are always common themes. Other popular resolutions include giving up smoking or drinking, spending more time with family and reading more. But sadly, according to a 2015 ComRes poll, only 1 in 8 of us will successfully keep to our resolutions. It’s clear that we need a little help.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of 5 products you can get your hands on that could help you to reach your New Year goals more easily.
- 1 Exercise more – Get a fitness tracker
- 2 Eat more healthily – Use recipe books
- 3 Stop smoking – Switch to e-cigarettes
- 4 Read more – Buy an e-reader
- 5 Save money – Open a savings account
Exercise more – Get a fitness tracker
A fitness tracker is the ideal gadget for those who need a little extra motivation to get in shape. Because you have the ability to monitor your progress and results each day, it can help give you that little push you need to get off the couch and take action, whether it’s adding more steps or putting in the hours at the gym. Many come with an associated app that adds a nice social aspect to your efforts, should you want it.
There are fitness trackers out there to suit every niche, and some even measure sleep patterns in addition to activity. We’ve previously reviewed what we think are the best fitness trackers of 2016. Whether you’re a cyclist, a swimmer or you simply want an incentive to take the stairs, a good fitness tracker can help set you down the right path to success.
Of all the fitness trackers that we reviewed in 2016, our favourite was the Fitbit Blaze, which incorporates a heart rate monitor, activity tracker, sleep tracker and smartwatch all in one. It has connected GPS that can run off your phone, giving it vastly superior signal to many other fitness trackers – which in turn improves the accuracy of the data it gathers. This stylish fitness tracker wins our approval by being super fast and easy to use, as well as allowing you to control your phone (and music choices) from your wrist.Check Best Price
Eat more healthily – Use recipe books
Eating well can sometimes feel like a chore. No matter how you dress it up, salad will never taste as good as cheese on toast. This makes any healthy eating plan hard to stick to full time – unless you can keep it fresh and interesting and avoid the feeling of deprivation that leads many a well-intentioned dieter to fall off the wagon (and into a pool of chocolate sauce).
Eating well doesn’t mean resigning yourself to bland, flavourless dishes – and indeed it shouldn’t. You just need to spice things up a bit. Luckily, there were several excellent cookbooks published in 2016 that are written specifically for people who want to improve their eating habits, without the need for lengthy cooking processes or off-the-wall ingredients.
Joe Wicks is an online nutrition and fitness expert. His best-selling Lean in 15 offers a selection of filling, nutritious meals that can all be made in 15 minutes or less. In addition to recipes, it also features HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout guides to help you get fit alongside eating well.Check Best Price
In her much-awaited second book, Ella provides recipes that are easy to make and designed to make eating well a natural and sustainable part of your life. She offers her top 10 rules for healthy eating, as well as lists and tips that will help you to become more organised with food. Hailed as one of her best collections yet, this book is packed with colourful salads, delicious breakfasts and filling family dinners.Check Best Price
Jamie Oliver is one of the UK’s most celebrated chefs, and for good reason. One of the most appealing things about his recipes is that they are simple and accessible for the average person. With a growing focus on improving the health of our country, his book Everyday Super Food shows you how to make nutritionally balanced recipes with genuinely tasty ingredients, including breakfasts, lunches and dinners.Check Best Price
Stop smoking – Switch to e-cigarettes
In an ideal world, stopping smoking would be easy. Or perhaps if we’re going for ideal, it wouldn’t exist at all – or it wouldn’t be bad for you. But sadly, stacks of evidence prove just how damaging this habit is for our health, and according to ash.org, 1 in 5 of us are addicted.
Going cold turkey works for some when trying to give up, but it’s not for everyone. This particular habit is a very hard one to break, and for some, e-cigarettes provide a helpful solution. Estimated to be 95% less harmful than tobacco, smoking e-cigarettes – also known as vaping – can help to ease the transition away from normal cigarettes, which are full of tar and other damaging substances. They allow you to control and gradually reduce the amount of nicotine you absorb, so you don’t experience the same intense cravings as quitting suddenly. E-cigarette liquids are cheaper than cigarettes and come in lots of different flavours, from standard tobacco to sweet tastes like cherry or cola.
For good reason, e-cigarettes are rapidly gaining in popularity and are widely available. There are even dedicated vaping shops popping up on UK high streets. For those new to vaping, we love the Innokin Endura Starter Kit. It’s compact, easy to use and comes in steel, black or blue. The T22 tank holds 4ml of e-cigarette liquid, which will last for approximately one day of vaping.Check Best Price
Read more – Buy an e-reader
More and more readers are joining the digital book revolution. With a Kindle or other e-book reader, you have access to thousands of books – all on one device. E-readers are fairly lightweight and have a screen size of between 5-10 inches. And once you have one, e-books are often cheaper than their physical counterparts, since they are just digital downloads. Here are some of the best e-readers on the market right now.
- 6” display
- No screen glare
- Thin and light
- 6.8” display
- Brightness controls
- Social reading with My Reading Life
- 6” display
- Reads like real paper
- Battery lasts weeks
The benefit of an e-reader over a tablet is that the screen is optimised for reading – type is crisper and won’t be washed out in bright daylight. However, if you’re looking for a device with more versatility, you might want to consider a tablet over an e-reader. Here are some popular reading tablet choices:
- 7” display
- 8 GB storage capacity
- Up to 7 hours of battery
Check Best Price
Like many things, reading is a habit. With an e-reader, it’s easy to read any book on the go, and they’re much lighter to carry around than most physical books. The benefits of reading are numerous – it keeps your brain active, reduces stress, broadens your knowledge, improves your memory and expands your vocabulary. So what better way to kick off the New Year than with a good book?
Save money – Open a savings account
Saving money is one of the top resolutions that people make in the New Year. Life has its twists and turns, and it can be a blessed relief to have savings to fall back on when times are hard. Opening a savings account is a responsible decision – it allows you to claw back some control over your finances and gain some financial independence. It’s also cheaper than borrowing, if you’re saving for something special. Of course, it’s always best to pay off any existing debts first.
If you’re thinking of opening a savings account this year, here are some things to consider:
- There are different types of savings account. Factors such as whether you are a UK taxpayer, whether you want access and how long you’re willing to lock the money away for will affect which type of account is the best fit for you
- Savings interest isn’t what it used to be – but it is now tax-free if you earn under 17,000 per year. Every cloud…
- If you’re happy to switch to a new bank account, you may be able to boost your savings rates
- If you have a mortgage, enquire about whether it would make financial sense to overpay it, rather than saving
Before you start saving, speak to a professional financial advisor to find the best savings option for you. As an overview, here are three different savings accounts that could make good investments this year.
Monthly interest: 1.5% AER
To save using this account, you must open a current account with Santander. It costs £5 per month, which is taken automatically. This current account pays you cashback on your household bills and interest on your balance, provided you pay at least £500 into your account each month and have a minimum of two Direct Debits. With this account, you can access your funds whenever you like.
Monthly interest: 1.0% AER
This internet savings account is managed entirely online. It allows you to earn interest on your savings tax-free (up to a certain amount) and you can open one with as little as £1. With this account, you always have access to your funds and there is never any need to visit the bank. Simply set up a regular standing order – or make one-off deposits – and see your savings add up.
Monthly interest: Between 1.41-1.6% AER
These fixed term deposit accounts are designed to help you reach your long-term savings goals and obtain maximum interest by keeping your money locked away for between 12-30 months. The longer the term, the higher the interest rates. Since you can’t access your savings whenever you want, you know you won’t spend it before you’ve reached your goal.
Whatever you choose to pursue as your New Year’s resolution this year, make sure it’s something realistic that you can truly commit to. Keep it simple and approach the task in achievable steps, with goals and a timeframe in mind. Studies suggest that specific goals are much more likely to be achieved than vague ones, e.g. ‘eat 2 portions of vegetables every day’ as opposed to simply ‘eat healthily’. Good luck, and Happy New Year!
What are your New Year’s resolutions this year? Share them with us in the comments.