Five new year’s resolutions worth making in 2024

As the new year rolls in, so too do the unrealistic New Year’s resolutions we promise we are going to keep, whether it be losing an unrealistic amount of weight, completely cutting out a food group or committing to hitting the gym every single day of the year. While nearly 40% of people make New Year’s resolutions each year, the reality is less than 10% of people stick to them all year long, and by February, approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions are forgotten. In this month’s blog, our expert ORS dietitian Nicole Saliba explores five New Year’s resolutions worth committing to in 2024 and what tools or strategies can help you be successful in achieving them.

What are the key ingredients to being successful in keeping resolutions?

Research suggests that people who tend to be more successful in maintaining resolutions;

  • •  Avoid tempting situations e.g. being around smokers if you’re trying to quit. Not filling the cupboard with junk food if you’re trying to eat less of it.
  • •  Use rewards for their positive behaviour change e.g. buying yourself a new pair of trainers if you consistently run twice a week.
  • •  Have self-efficacy, meaning the belief in one’s ability to stick to the resolution and get the job done. Increasing your self-efficacy often involves thinking about and planning how you are going to achieve your resolution and whether it is realistic or not.
  • •  Know how to get back on track and recommit themselves if they ‘slipped up’ instead of perceiving it as a failure


What are some worthwhile New Year’s resolutions to make?

Quit dieting

Want to know the easiest way to gain weight and become overweight? Go on a diet! It sounds outrageous but rather than losing weight, most people who frequently diet end up gaining weight in the long term. Losing weight and keeping it off requires a long-term commitment to change your lifestyle, eating and exercise habits. Working with an Accredited Practising Dietitian is a great tool to achieve this.


Prioritise good quality sleep

Did you know that getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining brain health and good mental health, reducing the risk of heart disease, type two diabetes, stroke and neurodegenerative disease (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease), supporting the immune system and recovering from daily stressors? A lack of sleep or sleep deprivation is associated with obesity due to a whole range of reasons including changes in eating, appetite, activity and hormone levels. It is recommended that adults get on average between 7-9hrs of sleep per night which is what most Aussie adults report sleeping on average however, almost 50% of all adults report at least 2 sleep related problems such a insomnia, poor sleep quality and obstructive sleep apnoea. Maintaining a regular sleep routine, eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine, minimising screen time and taking steps to manage stress are strategies which can help.

Eat more plants (and less meat and ultra-processed foods)

A plant-based diet consists of food that predominantly (not exclusively) comes from plants such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. A 2023 study which included more than two million people found that compared to lower adherence to a plant-based diet, higher adherence to a plant-based diet was associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (~18%), death (~16%), heart disease (~10%) and cancer (9%).


Australians are doing pretty poorly when it comes to consuming plants.

  • •  Less than 30% of the grain products we eat such as bread and cereals are wholegrain i.e. we are eating the low-fibre, processed, white stuff
  • •  Only 24% of Australian adults report eating legumes, including beans, peas, lentils and soy foods regularly
  • •  Less than 5% of Adults are meeting the recommendations for fruit and vegetables
  • •  The study revealed just 2% of Australians ate the recommended 30g of nuts a day


Eating more of a plant-based diet is easy with these simple tips.

  • •  Make sure you get two pieces of fruit in per day
  • •  Aiming for 50% of your main meals to be salad or vegetable-based
  • •  Swapping out meat or chicken for tofu or legumes in a meal 3x.wk e.g. lentil Bolognese or a tofu stir-fry
  • •  Including canned chickpeas, lentils or beans in meals 3x/wk
  • •  Aiming for three different coloured vegetables at main meals
  • •  Snacking on nuts between meals


Make your mental health a priority

Your mental health and physical health are not mutually exclusive. The foundation of good physical health is good mental health. We know that high levels of stress, anxiety and depression are often associated with weight concerns, an increased risk of chronic health conditions such as type two diabetes, a reduced life expectancy, sleep concerns, higher levels of inflammation, fatigue, gastrointestinal complaints and a lower immune system. Nearly 1 in 2 Australians aged between 16-85 years have experienced a mental disorder at some time in their life.

You can take steps to take care of your mental health by:

  • •  Getting in regular exercise
  • •  Eat a healthy diet rich in plant foods and avoid an unhealthy diet low in fibre and high in ultra-processed foods
  • •  Making sleep a priority
  • •  Scheduling in time to relax
  • •  Practicing gratitude
  • •  Staying socially connected
  • •  Reaching out for help when necessary such as seeing a psychologist or counsellor

Move your body more

As a society, we tend to put too much emphasis on how exercise changes the way our bodies look or how much we weigh. However, the most impressive health benefits that come from exercise are not weight-related. Yes, exercise can help with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight but it can also help protect against chronic lifestyle diseases such as type two diabetes, grow and maintain strong bones, build muscle and slow down or prevent the age-related muscle loss we experience, boost brain development, improve coordination and balance, improve confidence, build social skills and reduce cognitive decline as we age.

Approximately 75% of adults aged 18–64 are not meeting the current physical activity guidelines.
You can move more by:

  • •  Tracking your steps per day and setting a goal
  • •  Parking your car further away when you park at a destination or at work
  • •  Meeting a friend for a walk and coffee instead of breakfast
  • •  Signing up to a hobby, sport or local gym
  • •  Booking in with an exercise physiologist if you don’t know where to start or have any chronic health conditions or injuries


Our team of dietitians are here to help you make realistic goals in 2024, as well as support you in achieving them. Call 02 4311 3623 to make an appointment.



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