Get yourself back on track in 2013

NEW year, new you: the words bring inspiration to many.

After struggling through the holiday season of sweets and treats, the new year provides an ideal opportunity to get back into a healthy routine. Resolutions go into effect: pantries get cleaned out, running shoes appear by the front door again and bottles of water replace glasses of wine.

"In a perfect world, we'd all have survived the silly season while keeping up with our fitness regimes and minding what we consumed," Exercise and Sports Science Australia's (ESSA) executive officer, Anita Hobson-Powell said.

"In actuality, however, many of us grant ourselves permission to 'fall off the wagon' for a few weeks in December.

"The beauty of January is that we can wipe the slate clean, get back into motion and renew our journey to good health. So our message is: never fear - it's a new year."

Here are top tips for getting your wellbeing back on track after too much holiday cheer:

1. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off.

Remember that every day is a new chance to start again. "Don't beat yourself up over kilos gained during the holidays," Ms Hobson-Powell said. After all, guilt doesn't burn calories: exercising does.

2. Don't aim for perfect.

Skip those grandiose declarations that may not be achievable, such as, "I'll go to the gym every single day." Why set yourself up to potentially fail? It is far more fun to make realistic goals, and then celebrate successes.

3. It takes two.

Make only two resolutions. Keep them simple: "I will walk for 30 minutes a day, five days a week"; or, "I will switch from full-cream coffees to skinny milk." Then, commit to doing your best at fulfilling those two concise goals.

4. Reward yourself.

No, not with desserts, but with a fun reminder that you're back on track. Buy yourself a new fitness outfit - at post-Christmas sales prices - to boost your confidence as you work out. Or, sign up for a pleasurable activity you've always wanted to try, such as stand-up paddleboard lessons.

5. Friends are more fun.

"Surely you're not the only one ready to kick-start the new year with healthy resolutions," Ms Hobson-Powell said.

Find a friend who is as committed as you, and book some morning walks, set a tennis date, or pop on your togs and grab a swim together.

6. Appreciate Australia.

Antipodeans are luckiest of all when it comes to the new year. Given it's the height of warm weather, it's a great time to indulge in outdoor sports, from bodysurfing in the summer swells to hinterland hikes in the cool of a rainforest. No excuses about having to don winter layers and brave the snow, like our northern hemisphere friends.

7. Bond with your family.

January is the perfect opportunity for quality time with the kids. With schools out and many families enjoying a bit of a break, it is a great chance to get the whole gang moving. Visit a theme park (think of all the walking you'll do), or engage in a rousing game of beach cricket.

8. Plan ahead.

Do some good for the "future you", starting now. New research shows the processes that cause the body to decline with age can be influenced positively through healthy eating and exercise. The trick is, you have to keep at it, even if you just make a small effort each day.

If you need help getting started, find your local accredited exercise physiologist by visiting www.essa.org.au.

Medicare may also be able to assist in funding treatment sessions if you suffer from a chronic health condition.

But before you do any of this please seek a GP for referral.

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