Christmas done and dusted and tinsel safely stowed for another year? It’s time to make good on those New Year’s resolutions. Whether you’ve decided to stop smoking, lose a few pounds and hit the gym, or cut down on your favourite tipple, studies show that willpower is all about the brain. If you’ve always thought you were weak-willed while those around you were made of stronger stuff, think again. Willpower, it seems, is a somewhat limited resource and many experts believe that trying to give up too many things at once or when under stress, is more or less impossible. You have to be in the right frame of mind, and where willpower is concerned, that would be the prefrontal cortex just behind your forehead. This is the area of the brain responsible for keeping us focused, handling short-term memory and solving abstract problems. And if it’s busy doing all of these things at once, showing restraint can sometimes prove difficult.
Make 2022 your healthiest and happiest year yet with these five easy, and more importantly, sustainable switches:
1. One thing at a time
You are much more likely to succeed in your goals if you allow your brain to concentrate on one change at a time; embarking upon a new diet, coupled with daily sessions down the gym (having previously never set foot in one) is unrealistic.
Certain nutrients can also help to boost concentration and support brain health. Brainvit from HealthAid provides vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants to help maintain good blood flow to and from the brain to help with cognitive function and performance.
2.Everything in moderation
If you want to lose a few pounds, do so sensibly. There is no magic weight loss pill. Eat healthily and eat regularly. Your brain uses more energy when it’s being asked to exert willpower, and the hungrier you are the harder it is to resist cravings.
3. Look after your adrenals!
Stress places extra strain on your main anti-stress organs, the adrenal glands. The B-complex vitamins offer excellent adrenal support. We’re rather fond of our own Jan de Vries B Complex One A Day tablets.
4. Commit to an exercise regime, but keep it real.
Moderate, regular exercise is key to a healthy lifestyle; it speeds up the rate at which your body breaks down fat and it’s great for your mental health.
5. If you are feeling a little low
St. John’s Wort or Hypericum can help with feelings of sluggishness, low mood and mild anxiety. Scientists believe it works by prolonging the action of serotonin and by increasing levels of melatonin. Hyperiforce tablets can help but Hypericum can take up to six weeks for best results, and it can interact with other medications and affect the way they work, so isn’t suitable for everyone. Check with your GP first if on prescribed medicines.
Final take-home? Don’t be too hard on yourself. Every journey begins with a first step - well done for wanting to make a positive change in the first place.