When the World Health Organisation was established in 1948, its constitution defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” When you think about your health, do you think in such broad terms?

This definition would lead us to see good health as including: exercising, eating well, abstaining from (or at least being moderate in) vices, receiving stimulation for the brain and intellect, having healthy relationships with a network of family and friends, enjoying the work that we do to earn a living… basically the phrase ‘good health’ can cover every aspect of our lives.

After the almost traditional indulgences at the end of December, New Year has become a time to reflect on our life . Is it as we would wish? What changes would we like to make in the next 12 months? New Year’s resolutions often centre on either addressing inadequate physical fitness (losing weight, getting off the sofa, eating less) or giving up bad habits (smoking, drinking, too much tv) or both. Although if we want to succeed, we must remember to think positive and not think of our resolutions as only being about giving something up or being punitive in some way. We should see them as leading us to a more enjoyable (and healthier) lifestyle. Otherwise why should we bother?

So, here are a few things to think about when making your resolutions:

  • Exercise: our bodies need it, whether it is running, going to the gym, yoga, or just walking instead of taking the car. If you’re not doing any, then do some. If you are, then ask yourself honestly: is it enough and is it the right sort of exercise for the life you want?
  • Diet: five-a-day, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants… the amount of dietary advice can be overwhelming and between the internet, magazines and tv diet programmes there is a lot of contradictory information available. Why not visit your GP for some advice?
  • Work: do you enjoy how you earn your living? If not, how could you enjoy it more?
  • Work-life balance: How is yours? Do you work more hours than you are paid for? If so, then be sure that you are doing so for a valid reason and not that it is just a bad habit you’ve slipped into.
  • Finance: how was your fiscal management in 2009? Did you save or did you overspend? Would 2010 be a good year to work on your attitude to money?
  • Family: do you spend the right amount of time with them?
  • Friends: is there anyone with whom you regret having lost touch?
  • Hobbies: what do you do purely because you enjoy it? If nothing, then consider what you would like to take up and then how you might free up the time to do it.
  • Most of all, remember to set positive, realistic, achievable goals, whatever they are. The best New Year’s resolutions are the ones at which you can succeed, because success (of any description) is the best January present you can give yourself.